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Last updated: 11 July, 2010 - Published 11:26 GMT
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Name 'too long' for air ticket

Turkish Airlines
Student says Turkish Airlines has rejected the holiday company's statement
A Sri Lankan student in UK says she is considering legal action against a holiday company after her reservation was cancelled saying her name was too long.

Sri Lankan student Jennifer Abeygoonewardana told BBC Sinhala service that she booked a holiday to Cyprus a few weeks ago –together with a friend –through

But she received an email and a call from the company after few days saying there was an issue related to her booking.

“They told me my surname was too long and forced me to cancel the booking. I was astonished; I have travelled to many countries before and this is the first time this happened to me,” Ms. Abeygoonewardana told BBC Sandeshaya.

'Human rights violation'

The student says the company's decision is a violation of her human rights.

 ebookers was unable to process Miss Abeygoonewardana's booking as her name does not fit within the maximum 25 characters stipulated by Turkish Airlines for the 'name' field
Statement by ebookers

A spokesperson for told the BBC that the company apologises "for being unable to assist" her and "for any inconvenience caused.”

"ebookers was unable to process Miss Abeygoonewardana's booking as her name does not fit within the maximum 25 characters stipulated by Turkish Airlines for the 'name' field," the online company said in an email statement.

"We can confirm that each airline has a maximum number of characters it allows to be inputted into the ‘name’ field and this varies from carrier to carrier. These are passed onto the Global Distribution System used by travel agents," it added.

But Ms. Abeygoonewardana says she was told by the Turkish Airline that the decision was taken by the ebookers, not by the airline.

The company has made a full refund but the student says she wanted to visit Cyprus as scheduled, not her money back.

A selection of your comments:

Ebookers are clearly wrong here and they are breaking the IATA rules. They could have send a hand written note (scanned or fax) to Turkish Air Lines. I am aware of a software company which has updated all their fields connected to a name field because they have an employee with a long surname. Ebookers don't have an excuse here.
Ajith Dharmakeerthi, London, UK

If longer surname is involved,He or She cannot go on a holiday. Is that what you mean? Simple way of violating human rights.
D. P. Liyanage, Colombo, Sri Lanka

My wifes name is Kurulusarasiya Donertra Nimalie Mc Cane - Whitney Anglo Sri Lankan family......where would we stand on this matter??????
Lyndon Whitney, Barnsley, England

In 1996 Guiness listed I7 letter Featherstonehaugh as the longest English Surname. Abeygoonewardana has only 15 letters. California Governor has a 14 letter surname Schwarzenegger and he travels without any harassment.
Ananda Samararatne, Los Angeles, USA

Sometimes we need to be more practical as well. Having long names with all the wasagama etc cause immense problems, especially in immigration etc. It is always better to stick to your first, second and surname. But here it seems to be genuine problem. If you do not mention your full name correctly (what you got in your passport or ID) you may not be able to identify yourself at the airport.
Janak Abayakon, Muscat, Oman

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