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.