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Is a Passport Number Needed to Book an International Flight – Let’s See!

Is a Passport Number Needed to Book an International Flight – Let’s See!

Lots of people start asking “do you need a passport number to book an international flight?” When they begin planning their next vacation.

Before you start booking tickets, here’s what you need to know about passports and plane tickets.


Do You Need A Passport Number To Book An International Flight?

Most Airlines require you to enter your passport information when booking an international flight. There are still a few airlines that do not require this information up front, but your passport information will still be collected either during check-in or boarding.


Passport Numbers and Booking Flights

The first thing we need to do is talk about the difference between booking, check-in, and boarding.

There’s a lot of people out there that use a booking for all three, however that does create some problems.

Booking is the point of sale for airline tickets. This is when you purchase your flight. Most airlines today will require you to enter your passport information when booking.

This makes things easier for everyone and makes sure that your information matches what’s on the ticket.

However, there are still a few airlines that do not ask for passport information while booking tickets. Is it typically smaller airlines or European airlines.

These airlines will still require you to give your passport information when you come to check-in.


Online and In-person Check-in

Check-in is when you complete the pre-boarding process. This verifies your information as well as your flight information.

This used to be done in person at a desk at the airport but is increasingly done online or at a digital kiosk at the airport.

There’s no getting around having a passport for this section. Your passport will be scanned during check-in to make sure that all of your information is accurate.

If you were able to purchase an airline ticket with a company that doesn’t require passport information for booking, now is the point where your passport will be scanned and checked.

This means that you will still need a passport number to get on your flight.

Speaking of getting on your flight, your passport number is going to be checked another time before you board.


Boarding and Passports

When you board a plane, the airline attendant at the gate is going to check your passport and your ticket.

The policy here changes from airline to airline, but it’s common for the attendant to ask for your passport as well as your ticket when boarding.

Some airlines skip a passport check at this stage if they have already completed it beforehand.

However, it’s good practice to have your passport ready as you begin boarding for your flight.

You don’t want to be the person holding up the line as you fumble through your bags looking for your passport and your tickets.

There’s another thing that we need to take a close look at when considering booking tickets and passports.

Each airline has different policies which make things a little complicated.


Certain Airlines Are Different

Plenty of things about aviation are standardized.

This is for our safety as well as the smooth operation of these aircraft. It would be a logistical nightmare if every single airline had different standards, policies, and regulations for every aspect of flying.

However, requirements about when they take your passport information or a little looser.

It’s still pretty common to find an airline that will let you book an international ticket without giving your passport information upfront.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can fly internationally without a passport. It just means that the airline is willing to take your money for the ticket whether or not you can actually use it.

This has been a big change that has come on the heels of electronic ticketing.


Electronic Ticketing Changed Things

We’re living in the biggest age for global tourism. Never before in human history has so many people visited so many different places in the world.

Europe is still the number one global tourism destination on the planet.

In order to get there, you’re probably going to electronically buy your airline tickets. Even if you purchase your tickets in person, they’re going to go through digital systems run by the airline’s ticketing agent.

The rise of electronic ticketing has made gathering passport information much easier. Passport information can now be collected at the point of sale and verified very quickly.

This is much faster than the olden days when physical copies were taken and could not be readily verified.


When You Get to Customs

The last thing we need to talk about here is customs.

If you somehow made it this far without having to give your passport information to the airline, you’re still going to need to give it to the Customs agent in the country you are traveling to.

I’ve seen plenty of people held up in customs for even the most minor issues.

If you don’t have an up-to-date passport when you reach your destination’s border, you could be sent back on the next flight home.


Frequently Asked Questions About the Passport Number

Passports can be complicated subjects. Things can be even more difficult when you start flying internationally and you need to deal with all of these rules and regulations. Here are some answers to some common passport number questions.


Can I Use an Old Passport When Booking a Flight?

While you will technically be able to book your ticket using an old passport, you will not be able to complete check-in or board the plane with an outdated passport. Even if you did get on the plane, you have a hard time making it through customs with an outdated passport.


Does My Passport Need to Match My Flight Information?

Your passport and your flight information need to match exactly. Make sure to use your full legal name rather than a nickname when filling out your flight information. Also, make sure to update the airline if your information changes after you book your ticket.


What Happens When My Passport Number Updates?

Your passport number will change when you update your passport after it expires. If this happens in between booking a flight and boarding, you need to contact your airline. They can update the information on your ticket using your updated passport.

Flying International With Your Passport Number

So, do you need a passport number to book an international flight? Yes. While there may be some ways to get around this when booking a flight, you won’t make it past check-in without a valid passport.

Hopefully this article has demystified some of the mysteries of using your passport. If you need other tips and tricks for international travel, check out our other articles.