Can you purchase flights without a passport

I'm planning to fly into London and out of Amsterdam. I have a valid U.S. passport. Two people in my party are still waiting for their passports to arrive. One is considered a minor (17 years old). I plan on using Delta/KLM. Can I purchase tickets for these flights now and give the passport information to the airlines after their passports arrive?

Many thanks.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8253 posts

Yes, you can add the passport information later.

Posted by Diane
Ottawa
1171 posts

Mike, just one word of caution: make sure that the name that will be put on the ticket will exactly match the name in which the passport will be issued. If you (and they) are absolutely sure of the exact names, then no problem at all in getting the tickets now.

Posted by Jenn
Rick Steves' Europe
227 posts

The answer to your question is Yes. You can buy your tickets now before your group gets their passports. Most airlines do not even ask for your passport number when you purchase a flight. I believe another poster reminded you to make sure that the names on the passports match the names on your tickets. No nicknames and the names do need to match exactly. If you see a good deal for your flight go ahead and buy.

Posted by Sharon
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
1029 posts

Very interesting. I've always scheduled our own flights (and we always had updated passports n hand), but last year (for the first time) I used a travel agent because what we were trying to accomplish was quite complex and we were taking our two granddaughters with us. The travel agent would not schedule flights for us until their passports arrived.

Posted by Mike
Clawson, MI, USA
195 posts

Thanks for the replies folks. I've been pestering my sister to get my niece's passport for months. I hope she doesn't kick me too hard when I let her know I could have just booked the flight. I called Delta on break and they told me the same thing about booking. Wish I had known this earlier. So on to the next task. Booking two hotel rooms in London during peak season. I thought Tokyo was expensive but it seems like a bargain compared to London. Ouch!!!

Posted by Kristen
Chicago
527 posts

Mike, it sounds like you have a big-ish group. Have you looked into renting an apartment? That is a nice option for a travelling family.

Posted by selkie
181 posts

We were looking for modern and cheap by London standards (ie. under $200 USD a night for a double room for weekdays in May) and ended up booking the Holiday Inn Express-Swiss Cottage for our upcoming UK trip leg. Seems well-liked, gets good reviews, right next to a tube station, and walking distance to both a Waitrose and Marks & Spenser for when you don't want a big fussy restaurant meal. Ended up being cheaper than the Premier options, though one or two stations further out.

Posted by Mike
Clawson, MI, USA
195 posts

Hi folks. Yes, I'm considering renting an apartment. The college dorm rooms may work too. I'm bringing my nieces with me and the price of hotels in London have given me sticker shock. I was planning on putting the girls in their own (twin beds) room and me in a single or double. 3 days from 7/2 to 7/5. Trying to stay under $700 total for both rooms. I can go as high as $800 but that will make me cry. Lol. Any recommendations will be kindly accepted.

Thanks, Mike.

Posted by Diane
Ottawa
1171 posts

Sharon, the travel agent probably didn't trust that you would grasp the importance or had the full knowledge for providing the EXACT names of the granddaughters. Imagine the dread when the passports arrive and a name doesn't match, rendering the ticket worthless? That's an expensive mistake, which ultimately isn't the TA's fault, but would likely be made to be.

Back to the OP. Have you tried Airbnb for an apartment for your dates? Two of our longer stays in London were in apartments, the latest in December.

I got a good deal at the President Hotel on Russel Square one time and at the National across the way another time. Not my favorite hotels, with crappy breakfasts buffets, but they had promo rates under 100£ and I like the area.
Try Agoda.com, as well as Booking.com.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
4598 posts

If the minor is not a child of the travelers, check what paperwork you may need. Sometimes you may be asked to show proof that you are legally authorized by the parents to take the minor out of the country. It doesn't always happen, but better to be prepared than have your departure from the U.S. screwed up.

Posted by Rosemary
Lakewood, CO
152 posts

Mike - In London try Lancaster Hall. All their rooms are with twin beds and are 90 pounds a night. We have stayed there quite a few times and think it is very nice. They have a good breakfast and it is convenient to Paddington and Lancaster Gate tube stops. It is just north of Hyde Park. We will be staying there again next June when we take our two grandsons to London. Have a great trip.

Posted by Sharon
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
1029 posts

Diane, I'll bet you're right about why the travel agent would not schedule for us until our granddaughters' passports arrived. I did have the exact names that were submitted for the passports, but oh well. Now I know, and it worked out for us - we got the flights we wanted.

Posted by Sharon
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
1029 posts

One other thing - I see others have given some good ideas on where to stay and places that our cheaper than Premier Inns. We stayed at the Premier Inn Earls Court last June with our 2 granddaughters - we got two twin rooms next to each other and stayed there 3 nights. The cost was 100 pounds a night per room.