How Can Someone Buy A Plane Ticket For Someone Else As A Gift?

How can someone buy a plane ticket for someone else as a gift? You will need a certain information about a person before you can purchase a ticket in their name. "Buying someone a plane ticket is always...

"Buying someone a plane ticket is always a generous surprise," says Patricia Blanche, owner of La Cañada Flintridge Travel in La Cañada, California. "It's also one of those things that takes a lot of planning and - to say the least - understanding the personality and interests of the recipient well enough to know that this is something he or she really wants to have. And, of course, if your surprise is to send them out of the country, it helps to know beforehand that they have a valid passport to make that trip!"

"What we do here in our agency," she explains, "is have gift certificates for everything - Christmas, Valentine's Day, birthdays, anniversaries. We draw up the gift certificate for anywhere you'd like to send this person but when you pay for the ticket, it has to be issued in the name of the recipient. Every single thing now has to match whatever is on the passport. Incidentally, in 2006, you are going to have to have a valid passport for almost everywhere out of the country including Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean."

She also takes this opportunity to add that whenever she has clients going out of the country, she has a photocopy of their passport on file in the office. "That way, if they lose their passport while they're traveling or if it's stolen and they're in a panic, we can fax it to them. The embassy of that country will take it, research everything and make arrangements to replace it."

Returning to the initial question, she explains that La Cañada Flintridge Travel does a lot of gift certificates for charitable organizations and fundraisers. "How it works is that the individual comes in to redeem the certificate and their name is put on it at that time. We then call the person who wanted the certificate issued and let them know what the cost of that ticket is going to be. Graduations are another scenario where, for instance, the parents or grandparents have promised a trip to New York or Washington or even out of the country."

"Twenty years ago," Blanche explains, "you used to be able to buy a ticket yourself and simply hand it over to someone else as a present. Not anymore! Another big change is that you used to be able to get on an aircraft as 'Joe Blow' and say, 'Well, it's actually Joseph and my real name isn't Blow, it's actually Blower' and no one really cared. Today, everything has to be exact! That goes for nicknames, too. If your passport or driver's license identifies you as 'Elizabeth' but - because everyone calls you Kathy - you had your ticket issued to 'Kathy', they're not going to let you on. I was doing a ticket the other day for a party going to Beijing. I had the name that the individual went by but, here in California, people often have stage names or pseudonyms if they're authors and I think they honestly forget they have a second identity. Well, the surname this person gave me wasn't even remotely close to the surname on the rest of the travel documents!"

This issue also comes up a lot, she shares, when people want to give airline tickets as a honeymoon present. "The Catch-22 here is that a bride can't apply for a passport under her married name until she is actually married. If the ticket is inadvertently issued under the new name but her passport still reflects her maiden name, there's going to be a problem. Further, you can't change your name on your ticket once it has already been issued."

© High Speed Ventures 2011