When you get your boarding pass, regardless of when or where, check the name.

Septuagenarian comedienne Joan Rivers got stuck in Costa Rica, blaming the Continental gate agent in Costa Rica for being “an idiot, a moron,” for not letting her on the plane. In an interview with Larry King (another septuagenarian!) on CNN, Rivers implied that the name on her passport (“Rosenberg, aka Rivers”) caused her problems. And CNN ran tickers asking “Joan Rivers: A Security Threat?” Oy. But as the interview proceeds, it’s clear that the dual name on the passport was never a problem.

Rather, she had someone else’s boarding pass. Instead of “Joan,” it was “Joseph.” And when the vigilant gate agent compared the boarding pass to the passport, there was a problem.

Granted, Rivers (or Rosenberg) has a point that there were other points along the way when this could have been caught. At the check-in counter. Or at security. But if I dare use a phrase that’s gotten others into trouble of late, “the system worked.” The gate agent was there to do a final check, and she caught it. She was right to raise a flag, especially given the hypersensitive security environment we’re in.

Should Rivers have been stranded in Costa Rica? Probably not. I’m sure there is some way the airline could have handled this in a way that didn’t create a ruckus, and that verified that Joan, not Joseph, should have been traveling. But I am not privy to the details of her ticket PNR.

The bottom line, and the lesson here: Check the name on your boarding pass. Mistakes happen. And you don’t want to be caught at the gate, trying to fix it. Check the documents as soon as you receive them, and verify things immediately.

Here’s the whole insufferable interview, if you feel like torturing yourself. Masochistic? Well, alright: Around 2:19 is where she is asked about the name on the boarding pass.

pixel What Joan Rivers can teach us about boarding passes
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4 Responses to “What Joan Rivers can teach us about boarding passes”

  1. brian Says:

    Thanks for summarizing this and finding the clip. I was under the impression that the agent had an issue with the two different last names, but really was the first name Joseph that got her in trouble.

    Absolutely check your tickets!

  2. Derek Says:

    Had the same happen to me last year. The Delta Ticket Counter have me the ticket for another guy with the same last name, but different first names.

    Got through TSA security, but when I boarded, the gate computer showed me already on board!. It was then we realized what happened.

    I guess TSA isn’t too picky on first names.

  3. FlyGirlNT Says:

    The issue here is not about whether Joan has an alias in her passport or not but the fact that her ticket was (incorrectly) booked as Joseph Rosenberg & therefore that was the name that appeared on her boarding pass. For her to carry on to Larry King that “Russia, China, Nepal etc never had a problem” – well those countries wouldn’t have a problem unless of course the ticket she travelled on then was in the name “Joseph Rosenberg” also.

    If Joan was offloaded from the flight, did they also offload all her luggage? I can’t believe she would only travel with carry on luggage. Goes to show that no matter how many personal assistants, managers, agents in your entourage it’s still up to the individual to check that there airline ticket matches their passport. There’s no “Joseph” in her passport.

  4. Costa Rica Says:

    So Joan Rivers has the wrong ticket, then blames the agent because she had the wrong ticket, then goes on TV and complains about it. Wow.

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