Holy mistake, Batman! Adam Armstrong became Adam West to avoid a Ryanair change fee. (Photo: Adam West/Facebook)
What do you do when an airline wants to charge you $337 after you discover that the wrong name was accidentally listed on your plane ticket? Why, legally change your name, of course!
That’s what 19-year-old British citizen Adam Armstrong did when he realized that his girlfriend’s father had booked a Ryanair plane ticket for him under his Facebook moniker — Adam West — instead of his real name. (Yes Adam West, as in the Batman character.)
“Her stepdad got my name from Facebook, but I had put it as Adam West as a joke, because he was the actor who played Batman on TV,” he told the British newspaper, The Sun.
Armstrong appealed to Ryanair, but the budget airline wouldn’t budge: it wanted to levy £220 ($337) in fees to fix the mistake. This is actually double the normal name-change fee of £110 because Armstrong shared the booking with his girlfriend, so both tickets would need to be amended. Ryanair is known for its strict and hefty fees, including £45 ($69) to check-in at the airport and up to £75 ($115) to check a suitcase.
The savvy teenager discovered that it would actually be cheaper to legally change his name (free!) and get a new passport for £103 ($158). And so he did it, legally changing his name to his Facebook pseudonym.
Ryanair is known for its fees. (Photo: Phillippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images)
Armstrong (now West) told an Irish radio show, Today FM why he took such an extreme route: "I’m not giving Ryanair a penny.“
In response, Ryanair issued a statement to explain why the airline is so strict about change fees: "A name change fee is charged in order to discourage and prevent unauthorized online travel agents from ‘screenscraping’ Ryanair’s cheapest fares and reselling them on to unwitting consumers at hugely inflated costs.”
The new Adam West and his girlfriend India. (Photo: Adam West/Facebook)
Rules vary on other airlines; some won’t allow it, some charge fees, others are not as strict. When I needed to change my name on a ticket last month because my married name was accidentally listed and my passport is in my maiden name, United Airlines made the fix with no charge.
Last year, a Canadian citizen named Jordan Axani made international headlines when he decided to search for someone named Elizabeth Gallagher to accompany him on an around-the-world trip, rather than deal with the hassle of trying to change his ex-girlfriend’s name on a plane ticket.
But for Adam West, when he heads to Ibiza on vacation next week, he will be a new person, thanks to Ryanair.
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