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Alaska Fails to Understand Multiple Names/Name Changes. Flyer cautionary tale

Alaska Fails to Understand Multiple Names/Name Changes. Flyer cautionary tale

Old Feb 20, 21, 3:45 pm
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Alaska Fails to Understand Multiple Names/Name Changes. Flyer cautionary tale

Here's a story for you, but first is anyone else here an immigrant to the US? Does anyone else here have multiple last names?

Every time we fly Alaska Air internationally we have this problem. It never happens with any other airline. My partner's last name on his foriegn passport does not match his US green card or global entry card. He has multiple last names on his passport (mom's maiden name + dad's name). Every time when checking in and/or at the boarding gate, Alaska Air wants to change his name to match his Brazilian passport. Even when presenting his green card and global entry card, they insist on changing it to match his passport. This in turns screws up his global entry and TSA precheck. Of course this is never an issue when flying Alaska domestically as they don't recheck passports/IDs at the gate. Unfortunately changing his Brazilian US passport to match his US documents is not currently an option.

We have flown together several times on swiss, qatar and American internationally without this issue, and a slew of other airlines internationally, always without a problem. As other airlines see his residency card and global entry card that match his ticketed name and understand how the world works. Meanwhile, Alaska always demands the ticket name matches his passport and not his Green card/global entry.

I am obviously flustered right now, but I am also very much over Alaska staff not understanding CBP, internationally recognized documents, and multiple last names. These headaches and fights are leading me to highly consider taking my business elsewhere.

Today, after changing his name on his ticket at the gate they told us, either board the plane or fly tomorrow. Because the plane is leaving with or without you. What type of CS is this?

Alaska airlines is joining Oneworld. How are they going to deal with the influx of interline tickets. Passengers from Asia who sometimes have 5 or 6 names. I recall when I lived in China, multiple names were common. It's as if Alaska Airlines doesn't understand the world or anything that isn't Seattle White, how documents work, especially for resident non citizens.

Last edited by DoubleWidesFly; Feb 21, 21 at 1:07 pm
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Old Feb 20, 21, 5:12 pm
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I get your frustration but can understand it from AS perspective as well. In today's ultra-careful world (post 9/11, etc.) having two last names just seems like a recipe for problems. I'm surprised AS is the only place this is ever an issue.

As for, "Seattle White" does everything in this world have to have a racial component? Can't a mistake or policy just happen organically.... ever?
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Old Feb 20, 21, 5:33 pm
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Originally Posted by mtofell View Post
having two last names just seems like a recipe for problems. I'm surprised AS is the only place this is ever an issue.
Hundreds of millions of people have two last names. It is a recipe for reprogramming computer systems.
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Old Feb 20, 21, 5:52 pm
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Originally Posted by DoubleWidesFly View Post
Alaska airlines is joining Oneworld. How are they going to deal with the influx of interline tickets. Passengers from Asia who sometimes have 5 or 6 names. I lived in China, multiple names were common. It's as if Alaska Airlines doesn't understand the world or anything that isn't Seattle White.
AS deals with plenty of interline tickets already. But your problem isn't "multiple last names". Your problem is "name listed on US green card or global entry card doesn't match name listed on passport, and AS insists on having the passport name be listed in the passenger record, which screws up Global Entry and CBP because it doesn't match green card or GE". Not to say that's not a problem with AS, but how common is "my documentation I use for various IDs isn't consistent in how my name is spelled"?

Personally if AA, DL, etc. are fine for traveling and this is causing you grief I'd walk away.

Last edited by eponymous_coward; Feb 21, 21 at 10:16 am
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Old Feb 20, 21, 5:53 pm
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
Hundreds of millions of people have two last names. It is a recipe for reprogramming computer systems.
I can't imagine where you dug of that statistic. Thousands (millions?) of years ago when there became too many people to reasonably keep track of, someone came up with the fantastic idea of names. Aside from people, we name things like vehicle brands, streets, buildings and just about everything else in the world that there are more than a few of. What if every person, street, building and city had two names? Or three, or four? The whole system just falls apart. Don't get me wrong, we're all free to have one, two, or seven names. My point is people just shouldn't be surprised when things go sideways.
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Old Feb 20, 21, 5:57 pm
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Originally Posted by mtofell View Post
I can't imagine where you dug of that statistic. Thousands (millions?) of years ago when there became too many people to reasonably keep track of, someone came up with the fantastic idea of names. Aside from people, we name things like vehicle brands, streets, buildings and just about everything else in the world that there are more than a few of. What if every person, street, building and city had two names? Or three, or four? The whole system just falls apart. Don't get me wrong, we're all free to have one, two, or seven names. My point is people just shouldn't be surprised when things go sideways.
Two last names is relatively common even in the US. If you're Puerto Rican, you're using two last names.

https://libguides.nypl.org/puertoricogenealogy/names
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Old Feb 20, 21, 5:57 pm
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
Hundreds of millions of people have two last names. It is a recipe for reprogramming computer systems.
Is the issue with having two last names, or having inconsistently-used last names? Most computer systems can handle "Van Doren", "Herrera Mejia", and "De La Rosa" just fine. But if the OP's partner is booking tickets with a different last name than on the passport, or only part of what shows as "last name", I can definitely see an agent believing that the name they report on manifests needs to match the passport.

Both my kids have my wife's last name as their 2nd middle name. I'm careful to make sure we/they sign up for everything official (school, DMV, passports) with the full names consistently so there won't be mismatches on various IDs. I know it's not quite the same and can be more challenging with some cultural naming conventions to decide on your single "official" name, but in this day and age it's a lot more important to have matching records and IDs.
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Old Feb 20, 21, 6:17 pm
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Originally Posted by DoubleWidesFly View Post
I lived in China, multiple names were common. It's as if Alaska Airlines doesn't understand the world or anything that isn't Seattle White.
The latter comment was unnecessary.

Most Chinese folks don't have multiple family (last) names.
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Old Feb 20, 21, 6:51 pm
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Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post
Two last names is relatively common even in the US. If you're Puerto Rican, you're using two last names.

https://libguides.nypl.org/puertoricogenealogy/names
I'm taking OP's problem to be different names rather than multiple names.

From OP - "My partner's last name on his foriegn passport does not match his US green card or global entry card."

In my experience as long as the first and last names are consistent on documents AS (and everyone else) is fine with it. Or, another way of putting it is that middle names don't matter. My wife is from another country and basically moved her maiden name to a middle name of sorts. Got a new DL and passport with same first and last names and everything works great.
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Old Feb 20, 21, 8:15 pm
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I lived in China, multiple names were common.
That's not true. Most Chinese people don't have multiple OFFICIAL names.
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Old Feb 21, 21, 8:53 am
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Why be angry at Alaska? They are following the rules so they do not have to fly your butt back home at their expense. I would change the passport or before changing the airline you fly .
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Old Feb 21, 21, 9:31 am
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An additional question is how person got green card and global entry card that don't match passport. The passport is the "master" international ID document - any inconsistencies with that will eventually rear their ugly head - as they have done here. The fault lies completely with not having consistent ID.

I work with a Brazilian (now Canadian permanent resident) and have arranged international business travel, including visas, for him - trying that with inconsistent names would be a nightmare.
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Old Feb 21, 21, 10:02 am
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The OP’s husband should get his documents in order, and she shouldn’t blame AS.
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Old Feb 21, 21, 10:53 am
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Originally Posted by mtofell View Post
I can't imagine where you dug of that statistic. Thousands (millions?) of years ago when there became too many people to reasonably keep track of, someone came up with the fantastic idea of names. Aside from people, we name things like vehicle brands, streets, buildings and just about everything else in the world that there are more than a few of. What if every person, street, building and city had two names? Or three, or four? The whole system just falls apart. Don't get me wrong, we're all free to have one, two, or seven names. My point is people just shouldn't be surprised when things go sideways.
Most of Latin America, save Argentina as the major exception, receives two last names at birth. It isn't a matter of option. It is a matter of what appears on official documents, and that's your name. It isn't a matter of freedom. For daily use, one is typically just, i.e., Jose Sanchez, or perhaps Jose Sanchez P (the first letter of the 2d last name). I've no idea what various countries do when there's only a single known parent.

As an example, and what will avoid the situation in the OP, I had a friend (in the USA), from Argentina in every manner except that the family went to Uruguay for mom to give birth, as to not have a child of Argentine nationality during the military dictatorship. So, this was someone who grew up in Argentina, used one last name his entire life ... well up to the point of moving to the USA, where he had to get used to the double last name, which appeared on everything - the passport, the eventual green card, the airline tickets, the airline FFPs, and so on ... and probably on the US passport, which he now holds.

The traditional US naming conventions, when compounded with the influx of other naming conventions to the US, has created a hodgepodge of methods, probably none of which were designed for exact name matching for passenger travel the way the systems were initially designed. "We" either put hyphens between the two last names, or put one of the two last names as the middle name, or just have two last names without a hyphen. Given the lack of consistency, and the technical requirements for what various institutions must now comply, I find it incumbent on each of us to determine what each institution requires for our custom.
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Old Feb 21, 21, 11:52 am
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Originally Posted by robsaw View Post
An additional question is how person got green card and global entry card that don't match passport. The passport is the "master" international ID document - any inconsistencies with that will eventually rear their ugly head - as they have done here. The fault lies completely with not having consistent ID.

I work with a Brazilian (now Canadian permanent resident) and have arranged international business travel, including visas, for him - trying that with inconsistent names would be a nightmare.
That's what I immediately thought of.

How the hell do you end up with a GE card that's different from your passport? I don't even understand how you get through the entire process that way?
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