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Thursday, October 6, 2022

Our dream holiday is at risk from passport issues | Consumer affairs

We are writing to you out of sheer desperation. My husband and I booked flights to Seychelles via Opodo for a holiday in July to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

When we made the booking my passport was in my maiden name and we were under the impression that passport details had to be input at the same time.

However, my passport expires in August and Seychelles requires one that is valid for at least six months so I applied for a new one in my married name.

In April, we contacted Opodo about this and I was advised to email a copy of my new passport and marriage certificate. However, a month later I received an email telling us that the airlines – British Airways (BA) and Qatar Airways – did not allow this type of change.

We contacted BA directly and were advised to email copies of my old and new passport as well as the marriage certificate. But when I followed it up I was told to contact Opodo.

BA said our flights were being operated by Qatar Airways so we should try that airline. But Qatar Airways told us that, because we booked through Opodo, rather than directly with the airline, it couldn’t do anything.

We went back to Opodo and it suggested cancelling the flights and requesting a refund of £1,698. However, the cancellation fee would be £1,212. We are now at an absolute loss at what to do. We cannot afford to buy a new ticket.

LP, Bristol

You have been passed from pillar to post on this and it took another fortnight of chasing from me to sort this out, but in the end Opodo came through.

It says amending names on flight tickets requires a specific process which needs to be authorised by the carrier that owns the ticket. An Opodo spokesperson says: “The name change in this instance was a multifaceted request as the booking includes codeshare flights, which means that some British Airways marketed flights in the itinerary are actually operated by its partner Qatar Airways.”

It adds: “We are pleased that after our intervention, British Airways has finally allowed a new ticket to be issued with the customer’s updated name. While the airline requires the payment of a fee [£100] for this change, we will cover this cost as a goodwill gesture.”

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