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

by Miguel R. Quinones


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.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


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NB March 23, 2016 - 7:43 pm

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.

a9504477 March 24, 2016 - 4:52 am

No they don’t. On the other hand Air China does.

M December 26, 2017 - 4:31 pm

hello! I’m trying to book with AirChina and I managed to insert my id number instead of the passport (which I’ll be able to get in January, thanks to the bureaucracy of my funny Country).. I managed to get to the payment, but I’d like to make sure I won’t have issues with the check-in later.. I’ve written to the customer care and I’ll call as soon as the office open, but I’m also trying to get some info in case they don’t reply on time for me to get the last affordable ticket.. could anyone please help? Thanks 🙂

brteacher March 23, 2016 - 8:02 pm

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.

A April 4, 2018 - 10:40 am

This is is incorrect information! American Airlines requires a passport information.


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