Married women may be denied boarding to go on holiday if their Covid vaccine certificate is in their maiden name, differing from their passport, The Telegraph can reveal.
Some airlines, including easyJet and Tui, have told passengers the name on their proof of vaccination should match their other travel documents.
Tui, which also owns travel operator First Choice, has warned customers they “could be denied boarding” if the names do not match.
Women who are fully vaccinated but have their passport in their marital name and their NHS records, and therefore their vaccine certificate, in their maiden name – or vice versa – could also be denied entry from certain holiday destinations.
Greece and Iceland both specify on their entry requirements that the names must match on both documents.
“All certificates must include the critical information (i.e. number of doses and their respective dates)… the person’s full name must match the name on the passport or any other recognized travel document,” the Greek government website states.
Further confusion has arisen after some airlines, including British Airways and Ryanair, told passengers if the names did not match, carrying their marriage certificate as proof they were the same person was sufficient.
Travel countries on the red, green and amber list
Sacha Scott, from London, said she was “pulling her hair out” trying to figure out if she would be permitted to travel to Crete, Greece, in September.
Her vaccine certificate is in her marital name, while her passport is in her maiden name. Her passport still has five years left before it expires, and she would need to pay £177 to fast track a new one in time for her trip.
“It’s quite worrying, the amount of women like me that … didn’t even think of that. I didn’t think of it because I’ve never had a problem,” she told The Telegraph. “I don’t think the Government thought it would be a problem, either.”
Her travel operator, Tui, told her the two documents had to match “otherwise you might be denied boarding”.
“The second time I asked again… they said it’s government policy,” she said.
“I said: ‘But there is no government policy at the minute’, there is nothing anywhere about it.”
NHS England confirmed patients could change their name on their NHS record by contacting their GP and presenting their marriage certificate.
But Mrs Scott claims when she contacted her GP to try to change her records back to her maiden name to match her passport, they refused.
“[The receptionist] kept putting me on hold and said it physically won’t let her do it,” she said.
Bring marriage certificate ‘as proof’
A spokesman for Tui told The Telegraph: “If a customer has recently married and their name differs from their passport, we would recommend they take a copy of their marriage certificate with them as customers could be denied boarding if their documentation does not match.”
EasyJet said it was following the guidelines of the “relevant authorities”, adding: “Additional documents currently required for travel, such as a negative test or vaccination certificate, should be in the same name as their travel documentation such as passport or ID card.”
Thomas Cook said it was yet to encounter the issue, but recommended customers carry documentation to prove their ID if their documents do not match.
British Airways said a marriage certificate would be sufficient as proof of ID, saying on Twitter: “We just need to make sure it’s the same person when we check the documents.”
Ryanair also suggested to travellers on social media to bring their marriage certificate “in case it’s requested”.
The Department of Health and Social Care did not respond to requests for comment.
Case study: Will and Bev Beck, from Worcester Park, south-west London
Will and Bev Beck with their two daughters
The Beck family are due to fly to Malta on August 14 for a sunny break after almost 18 months of Covid restrictions.
The Mediterranean island is currently on the travel green list and accepting fully vaccinated Britons.
However, Mr and Mrs Beck and their two daughters, aged five and three, are concerned they will not be allowed into the country because Mrs Beck’s vaccine certificate and passport are in different names. Some countries and airlines have told passengers the two names must match or they may be denied boarding.
Mrs Beck’s passport is in her maiden name as it has four years left until it expires, while her Covid vaccination certificate and NHS record is in her married name.
Mr Beck, a travel agent, has contacted Visit Malta, the Maltese department of information and even the High Commission of Malta in London to find out if his wife will be allowed into the country.
“There is nothing I can find on any website. I emailed the High Commission of Malta in London, who told me it falls beyond their remit. They pointed me in the direction of the Maltese airport police, who haven’t replied. Nor have Visit Malta or the Maltese department of information,” he told The Telegraph.
“I am an experienced travel agent, and I can’t get a straight answer. What hope for everyone else?”
He called the country’s approach to reopening “shambolic” as others, including Greece and Iceland, at least specify the two documents must match.
“This would not get around the problem we have, but at least it is there in black and white,” he said.
“We are due to fly on 14 August. And with the Passport Office saying up to 10 weeks for a new passport, we cannot take the risk of applying for a new passport. And with four years left on the current one, why should we need to?”
British Airways, whom the family are flying with, have since confirmed to them on social media that bringing their marriage certificate “will be fine” as confirmation. But they are yet to receive any response from the Maltese authorities.
Visit Malta was contacted for comment.