Do you Need to Have a Valid Passport In-hand to Purchase an International Air Ticket?


The other day a client informed me that she would have to wait a few more days to complete the purchase of an international air travel reservation in connection to a trip PMM Travel Consulting was helping her plan. She did not provide an explanation. I don’t usually inquire further when a client says something like that, but I was extremely curious about the reason for the delay since we had found a great fare that would surely go up soon. Therefore, I proceeded to ask her if there was any particular reason why she wanted to wait. Thank God I asked!

She proceeded to inform me that her husband’s passport had expired and that they had already submitted a renewal application, but that the new passport had yet to be delivered. This was far from the first person I had interacted with who believed that you need to have a valid passport in-hand in order to purchase an international air travel reservation. The assumption is that you will have to enter your passport information in order to complete such a purchase.

Nonetheless, the only major airline I can think of that actually requires you to enter your passport information before completing an air travel reservation is Singapore Airlines. And even if you are purchasing a reservation with them, you can enter a dummy passport number and expiration date and then update the information before your travels.

Bottom Line

You do NOT need to have a valid passport in-hand in order to complete the purchase of an international air travel reservation. Even if an airline requires you to add your passport information to complete such a purchase, you can make up a number and then update the reservation with the real details.


  1. I’m pretty sure most of the major low cost cariers – Easyjet, Ryanair, Eurowings etc. – and several OTAs require passport info at booking. Whether you can subsequently change it, I don’t know and I would be wary of trying.

  2. I booked a RT flight from GUA for a friend there, and Delta required the passport number for booking. I don’t know if that was because of some Guatemalan government regulation, or if this is just a more common phenomenon on flights originating outside the US.

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