From the time we book a flight until the moment we get off the plane, we're crossing our fingers that we won't get hit with a hidden fee for something stupid like booking by phone or accidentally overpacking and having an ever-so-slightly overweight bag. Because nobody likes the feeling that comes when you realize your decision to bring that extra pairs of shoes just set you back $50. But however ridiculous and bothersome the fees we've dealt before are, they're nothing compared to one recently charged to a Thai Airways passenger. According to Travel + Leisure, this traveler's long last name got him saddled with a $94 fee. That's right, folks, a long last name fee.
Okay, so in actuality, the Thai Airways passenger wasn't charged simply for having too many letters in his name — that would be just plain cruel. But he was charged a fee because the name on his ticket had to be altered before he could board the plane. Name change fees, though annoying, actually aren't totally uncommon. But the error in his name wasn't the passenger's fault.
Travel + Leisure reports that when the man attempted to input his info on the Thai Airways website, his last name did not fit in the given field. Thus, part of the name was cut off on his ticket, which meant the name on the ticket didn't match the name on his passport. Because of this, the airline charged the passenger 3,000 baht, or around $94, to change the name on his ticket to reflect the one on his passport.
As frustrating as the situation sounds (and it sounds very frustrating!), in the end, Thai Airways issued an apology and gave the long-named man, who remains anonymous, a refund for the name change fee. The airline has also released an official statement saying that it will upgrade its internet booking system to provide clear instructions for people whose names contain more characters than will fit in the current name field. The Bangkok Post reports that Thai Airways also suggests that users who have issues inputing their full names should call the airline by phone in the meantime. We just hope those poor customers don't get charged, like, an unexpected phone call fee or something.
We have reached out to Thai Airways for comment and will update this story as we learn more.