Last Updated on July 19, 2023 by Stacey Levesque
How important is knowing exact Passport Information when booking your trip?
Knowing your exact passport information is crucial when booking your trip. Passport information is required for various aspects of travel, including booking flights, securing visas, online check-in, passing through immigration and customs.
It can happen that you are in charge of booking your family vacation but you don’t have access to everyone’s passport information. You think you know their names…but do you really? Sometimes Dick is actually Richard and Ann is short for Marianne. You have always known them by the short forms so you don’t question it.
If someone has just gotten married or just recently divorced, this can affect the name they are using for booking compared to what is on their passport. Do they have middle names on their passport?
The citizenship of the passport holder is also very important. You may not also know that Uncle Colin actually has a British passport instead of a Canadian passport. This can affect the documentation they need to travel and can result in denied boarding depending on where they are travelling to.
Another problematic booking situation is when children are not travelling with both birth parents, possibly in custody or divorce situations. You may not have access to the child’s passport to ensure names will match the booking details. And there is usually a consent form that needs to be submitted at the border to verify that the child/children are allowed to be leaving the country with both parents’ permission.
In many cases, when time and price are of the essence (as prices can change very quickly), you may decide to take your chances and “guess” at your travelling companions’ names and details. This can be a very big problem, if they guess incorrectly, which customers may not realize.
If you contact us within 24 hours, preferably the same day, we can usually change the booking for free if possible (and depends on supplier rules). If it is after 24 hours the travel supplier will charge a fee and we will charge a service fee. Contacting the supplier usually takes hours and we have to amend all of our internal files to reflect the new change. It can be a very time-consuming process.
We cannot stress enough how important it is to have your booking information match your reservation. It can save hours of stress and complications at the airport if everything matches.
The validity of your passport can be very important for certain destinations. Some countries only require a valid passport when you enter and leave, but a lot of countries also require that your passport be valid for 1, 3 or 6 months past your date of travel. Another reason you should have your passport in hand when you are booking a trip.
When you are booking a trip for yourself or companions, it is strongly advised to have a picture, or actual passport for all travellers, in hand. This will save a lot of guessing and confusion when you are booking.
Don’t assume it will be a simple process to apply for your first passport. Renewals are much easier.
Applying for your first passport requires much more documentation. You may need to submit birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce certificates, etc. You may need to apply for replacement birth certificates from your province or country of birth if you do not have them. This can be a lengthy process.
Why does name matching matter so much? (Big Picture)
- Canada and foreign governments receive airline passenger manifests (names and dates of birth) electronically at timed intervals (not just on flight day)
- Canada and foreign governments monitor flight bookings and names for international terrorism. People whose names are on the “do not travel list” (a name shared by a known terrorist or person of interest) can get a redress or traveller ID number to avoid confusion with a wanted person.
- Automated check-in systems scan passports and match them against passenger names. When no match, can be denied boarding or escalated to human intervention at the check-in counter. Lineups, counter staff competency, and system capabilities are now a factor to fix the problem at the check-in counter.
- Passport scanning at customs/arrival at your destination also relies on an identical match of the airline manifest
- Travel suppliers restrict name changes to prevent speculation (ticket scalping) and a resale market in travel. This is why they are particular that name changes are treated as cancellations. They have been better at “name corrections” but rules exist on how many letters can change, which letters change (first letters of last names a problem) and what is a material name change and what is a correction.
- Don’t wait until you want to book travel.
- Find your passports now. Record your last name, first and middle names, and expiry date
- Take pictures of your current passports and save them in multiple places (computer, cloud, phone, email). Delete expired pictures everywhere and replace them with new ones.
- If your passport is expiring within the next year, make a calendar reminder to start the renewal 7 months prior to the expiry
- Store your passports in a safe place – a locked cabinet, a safe, or a closet or drawer where all important paperwork is kept. Keep this area free of unnecessary junk and irrelevant and expired items. Less is more.
- Store expired passports (as keepsakes) separately from your active passports – put them in a photo album, and put a big sticker EXPIRED on the outside. You never want to grab an expired passport
- The first time you speak about travelling with someone that is not in your household, bring up their passport. Ask them to go get it, take a picture, and send it to you, especially if you are the one charged for making the arrangements. This will affect the destination you choose and avoid a lot of problems
Booking with tripcentral.ca
- tripcentral.ca posts the entry requirements for Canadians. We cannot post every country or place of birth and other restrictions that are not typical. We do have access to this information and if you are travelling with a citizen of another country or a non-resident of Canada, this is the first thing you need to do.
- We subscribe to a system that notifies us of entry requirement changes globally. When we get this notification, our team updates our public entry requirements in EN & FR for typical Canadians. Typical entry requirements assume being born in Canada or a Western democracy not on a “do not travel” list of common destinations, being a Canadian citizen, free of a criminal record. We do not routinely ask our customers if they have criminal records. Someone with a criminal record should raise this as it affects their ability to enter other countries or leave their province of residence.
- When we write entry requirements, we try to simplify and “get to the point”, but we link the official government entry requirement page of the country – not a third-party site that is not “the horse’s mouth”. The official government pages have much more detail for non-typical entrants, visa requirements for longer stays and purposes other than short-stay tourism.
- If there is a material change to entry requirements, we query all bookings for that country and notify our customers by email and by phone. Having contact information for ALL PASSENGERS TRAVELLING is important. We will contact everyone.
- We print entry requirements at the time of booking on our invoices, but this was the entry requirement at the time of booking. Our website has the current entry requirements on all offer and booking pages, and we reiterate the current typical entry requirements in an email 7 days prior to departure along with any other special entry requirements (proof of vaccinations etc).
- We back our agents with strong systems and a team. Otherwise, you are dependent on a single human travel agent or on your own. Humans make mistakes, no matter how good and diligent they are. Our strong systems back our excellent humans, and the team helps watch the world of changes and simplify the wording. Our website shows it before booking, on the invoice, and contacting customers by phone is important over just email that can be lost in junk or missed by the recipient. This is how we are different than other travel agencies and airlines.
- If you don’t want to fill in the online form, just forward our agent your passport pictures when you first enquire (to avoid mistyping a name). If you are planning travel for others not in your household, ask for the passport picture early and forward it to our agent when you first enquire. It may affect the destination we recommend & book.
- When we know the citizenship, names and expiry dates, the research & booking, tickets, check-in and arrival experience is smooth and hassle-free.