This is pretty much a rant, so you can just pass over it if you want. 🙂
When you purchase an airline ticket (or redeem for an award), you have to put down your name as it appears on your government ID, your birthdate, and your gender. With those three bits of information, unless you have a twin and you both have the same exact name, it is easy to differentiate individuals. So, since airline systems require that information, why can their own systems not process that a family may have a SR and JR (or, in my case, a III and a IV), especially when I put down the suffix as well?
Traveling with the same name (sr, jr, iii, iv, and v)
This happened before when traveling with my father (the JR). The airline would not allow us to be on the same reservation because we had the same name. They said that we needed to insert some other character in one of our names to allow the system to book it (because I wanted to keep the reservation so my dad didn’t lose his preferred seat and other perks of traveling with me due to my elite status). They wanted to write my name as – Char1es (inserting a 1 for a “l”). This is even though we have different middle names, suffixes, and birth dates!
Now, we come to Turkish Airlines. So far, I had not had a problem with United and my son and I traveling together. But, we have a United award ticket that has us traveling on Turkish Airlines. When I was checking the reservation, everything was fine. When I went to check-in, it showed only 4 of us instead of the 5. The one missing was my son. I called their service center (which, in my several calls to them over the last year or so, is really lacking in good customer service) and was told it was United’s problem. I told them that everything is fine with United – it is their own system that dropped my son from the check-in process. He checked and came back and said he thinks it is because we have the same name and we shouldn’t be traveling together like that. ?!?! What in the world? I cannot travel with my son because we have the same name? We have different birth dates and different suffixes (not to mention different frequent flyer numbers), so why can’t the system do a better job of understanding who is who? I have not had this problem with United or US Airways – just Turkish and Delta.
So, his solution was to just check all of us in and check my son in at the airport. Sorry, but I do not trust the system to not mess that up since they cannot separate us in the first place, so we will all wait to check in until tomorrow at the airport. Just makes an inconvenience since we have to arrive there earlier than we would need to otherwise. Hopefully, everything works out ok!
Anyone else have to deal with this? Can anyone that knows these airline systems explain why this happens and the secure flight data has nothing to do with making the distinction?