My name causes an issue with any booking! (names end with MR and MRS)

  • My name is Amr Eladawy. Whenever I get a ticket through an agent and they put my first name as Amr, it lands as A only in the Airlines system. That happened with many airlines and different agents. That is pretty much annoying, specially during the online check-in.

    When I make a direct booking from the airlines website, the ticket is issued as ELADAWY/AMRMR.

    It seems that there is a smart rule that considers the suffix MR as Mister and drops it.

    Is this the correct behavior? What should I do to have my name printed correctly on my bookings.

    1. In one of my bookings, the first and last name were swapped by mistake. However, AMR in the last name was not a problem at all.It seems that this rule is applied only on the first name.
    2. The airlines will swear that they received the name as A and the agent will swear that the name was sent as Amr.
    3. The problem maybe in the GDS used to integrate the agent's system with the airlines's.
    4. I sent an email to the GDS about this issue and they simply ignored me.

    Now, moving forward. Amr is a very popular Arabic name. It's also a very old one and has been used for thousands of years. How to properly report this to the GDS providers and get this issue fixed?

    I have tried contacting one GDS responsible for the latest booking I had, but they ignored me.

    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.

    @WGroleau I go with Amro, which is an alternative way of writing the name and matches the Arabic script, but this is not my name in the passport and I think humans should not change their name to suite the machines.

    When the comments have been moved, post your additional comments in the chat room. We can only move them once and most of the time there are duplicates as people do not check the chatroom. All comments posted from now on are likely to be deleted.

    My friend's last name is Test: he says airline tickets are silently deleted about 25% of the time. Awful!

    The root word for Amr is Amar = immortal.

  • Airlines were early pioneers in communication technologies, and have been very slow to modernize. For example, today, airline IT systems still communicate extensively using TTY: Type-A for synchronous communication, and Type-B for asynchronous communications.

    There is a standard for TTY, which nobody follows, a de-facto standard by SITA, which is mostly followed, and many parties have quirks in their implementation, either not being able to parse some fields/special indicators, or emitting incorrect ones; everything you'd expect from a 100 years old format which grew organically as new needs and ideas arose.

    This is a pervasive theme in Airline IT, with multiple epochs of technology being used side by side as companies migrate very slowly.


    The airlines will swear that they received the name as A and the agent will swear that the name was sent as Amr.

    They are both right, quite likely, and the issue lies between the Travel Agency and the GDS.

    GDS -- such as Amadeus and Sabre -- generally offer multiple interfaces into their systems, from old ones kept for compatibility reasons to more modern ones. More modern interfaces will accept structured messages which leave no room for ambiguity; the old ones however... are full of quirks.

    In general, Travel Agencies are loathe to modernize their IT: it requires re-training the agents, and buying new software, which costs quite a bit of money with little to no benefits to them.

    In the case of a Travel Agency connected to Amadeus, for example, this means that they are likely using ATE: the Amadeus Terminal Emulator, which as the name implies emulates the terminals of old.

    Check the Quick Reference Guide, p. 33 on how to create a PNR:

    NM1SMITH/JOHN MR
    
    • NM: "Name" command.
    • 1: 1 passenger with the following surname.
    • SMITH: surname.
    • JOHN: first name.
    • MR: title.

    Using a space, the parsing is unambiguous, however not all agents put a space, thus if instead the agent types:

    NM1ELADAWY/AMR
    

    Then the command will be parsed as (NM, 1, ELADAWY, A, MR) to be "helpful".


    The Good

    As mentioned, internally a GDS will use structured records. If you solve the data entry issue, and your first name is properly recorded into the system, then you should not have to worry about further issues.

    The Bad

    You'll need to double-check the agents' work. Just because they type AMR does not mean that the system will interpret it as AMR, as we've seen.

    They can fix the issue by explicitly specifying the title: NM1ELADAWY/AMR MR.

    The Ugly

    Agents may not be entering your name in the system immediately, for a variety of reasons. If they do not, you cannot double-check that they did it properly. You may have to insist that they do it immediately.

    Online Travel Agencies

    OTAs generally have more modern, automatized, systems. As such they are more likely to rely on the more modern interfaces of a GDS.

    Using an OTA may be a simpler way for you to ensure your name is properly entered in the system.

    Good luck

    This is a fantastic answer as it explains how this problem could occur. Has the OP tried booking with online travel agencies or directly with the airline? If the problem doesn't occur there, it could backup this explanation.

    Insisting on specifying the title would probably be another trick to obtain: `NM1ELADAWY/AMR MR`

    @AnkurBanerjee I tried from airlines portal and it worked because it seems their portal adds MR to my name. I received the booking confirmation as ELADAWY/AMRMR

    ah yes, the good old days of trying to parse EDI messages received over serial lines. Remember them well, and the resistance to XML and later JSON that still exists in many quarters because of the added volume of data being transmitted to support the formating.

    @jwenting: At least EDI is structured and generally unambiguous, with good tooling it works well, and Amadeus has good tooling for it. TTY and terminal command line have hand-written ad-hoc parsers, often extended organically as bugs are reported, they're much worse to maintain :(

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM