Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

Highlighted

Why oh why can't airlines deal with people's real names?

mmckaibab
New Arrival

I'm wondering why Southwest's (and other airlines') programmers are either so stupid or so lazy that they can't fix their systems to deal with the reality that some people have characters in their names other than simple alphabetic characters?!? EVERY other organization I deal with, from the IRS to Social Security to my state's MVD to all my banks and employers and whatnot, understand that people have names that are not simply letters. It seems ONLY the US airline industry is incapable of dealing with real names. Why?!? Why are airlines mired in the 1950s when it comes to names?

5 REPLIES 5

Re: Why oh why can't airlines deal with people's real names?

Lindsey
New Arrival

You bring up a fair point, @mmckaibab . I have a friend with an apostrophe in her name, and it's a constant pain point when she books tickets. I feel for her. 

Re: Why oh why can't airlines deal with people's real names?

jksobonya
Active Member

This doesn't make a lot of sense. Names are made up of letters -- not characters, not numbers -- letters. The only exception to this might be a hyphen. What are some other examples of names that are not made up of letters? 

 

--Jessica

Re: Why oh why can't airlines deal with people's real names?

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

Perhaps you should consider opening up your knowledge of people's names and customary naming conventions around the world.

 

The message immediately above your post provides a specific example beyond what you mention. Even with limitation to the English alphabet (and English translations), in addition to hyphens and apostrophes (simple ones that unfortunately often create issues), special characters can include accented letters such as é, ñ, ö, etc.

 

Here's a great reference for creating good code that accommodates diverse name input options: Personal names around the world

Re: Why oh why can't airlines deal with people's real names?

jksobonya
Active Member

^Yes of course - letters with special characters are still letters, after all! But they certainly offer another level of complexity. I would hope that Southwest would be able to handle umlauts and the like in a person's name or address.  If not, then that would be a limitation -- but then again, Southwest is primarily a US-based airline, and only recently introduced (some) international travel, so I can potentially understand other language quirks not being supported 100% for now. 


There are many software programs, not just in the airline world, that have trouble with 'special' characters in certain words/phrases/names. It's certainly not a Southwest-only limitation. 

 

--Jessica

Re: Why oh why can't airlines deal with people's real names?

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

As the OP mentions, it's definitely not a Southwest only problem.