Is It Illegal To Buy Someone Else’S Plane Ticket?

Buying airline tickets for others is common practice. You may purchase tickets for family, friends, employees, or even strangers. But is it legal to buy or sell airline tickets that belong to someone else? The short answer is it depends.

In this comprehensive guide, we will examine if and when it becomes illegal to buy or sell another person’s airline ticket. We will look at airline policies, forms of ID, and relevant laws that determine the legality of ticket transfers.

Airline Policies on Ticket Transfers

When it comes to purchasing someone else’s plane ticket, it is essential to understand the airline policies regarding ticket transfers. Violating these policies could lead to serious consequences such as the ticket being canceled or additional fees being imposed.

Therefore, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific rules and regulations of the airline you plan to fly with.

Contract of Carriage Restrictions

Most airlines have a set of rules known as the “contract of carriage,” which outlines the terms and conditions of travel. These restrictions often include provisions regarding ticket transfers. While some airlines allow ticket transfers, others strictly prohibit them.

It is important to carefully review the contract of carriage to determine if the airline in question allows for ticket transfers.

For example, JetBlue Airways explicitly states in their contract of carriage that tickets are non-transferable:

“Tickets are not transferable, and any name change is strictly prohibited. Any attempt to transfer a ticket, or any ticket issued or sold for unlawful or fraudulent purposes, is null and void, and the passenger holding such a ticket may be denied boarding, and any remaining value of the ticket may be forfeited.

Name Change Policies

Some airlines offer the option to change the name on a ticket for a fee, allowing for a transfer of ownership. However, this policy varies among airlines and may be subject to certain restrictions. For instance, some airlines may only permit name changes within a specific timeframe before the scheduled departure, while others may require proof of a valid reason for the name change.

For instance, British Airways allows name changes but imposes a fee and requires documentary evidence for the change:

“Names on tickets can be changed for a fee, and you may be required to provide supporting documentation for the change. The name on the ticket must match the passenger’s identification documents at the time of travel.”

Risks of Policy Violations

Attempting to buy someone else’s plane ticket without adhering to the airline’s policies can have severe consequences. Airlines have sophisticated systems to detect fraudulent activities, including the unauthorized transfer of tickets.

If an airline discovers such violations, they may cancel the ticket without refund, deny boarding, or even take legal action against the parties involved.

It is essential to note that violations of airline policies can also have legal implications. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, “knowingly providing false information to obtain transportation on an aircraft is a violation of federal law.”

Identification Needed for Airport Check-in and Security

When traveling by air, it is essential to have proper identification for airport check-in and security purposes. This helps ensure the safety and security of all passengers and crew members. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has specific requirements in place to verify the identity of individuals before they board a flight.

TSA Identification Requirements

The TSA requires all passengers aged 18 and older to provide a valid government-issued photo identification at the airport security checkpoint. Acceptable forms of identification include a driver’s license, passport, or military ID.

It’s important to note that some states have implemented the Real ID Act, which sets stricter requirements for identification.

Real ID Compliance

The Real ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 to establish minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. It aims to enhance the security and identification process at airports and federal facilities.

To comply with the Real ID Act, state-issued identification cards must meet specific requirements, such as incorporating security features and verifying the applicant’s identity more rigorously.

If your state is compliant with the Real ID Act, you can use your driver’s license or identification card to board a domestic flight. However, if your state is not yet compliant, you may need to provide an alternative form of identification, such as a passport, to pass through airport security.

Safety and Security Concerns

The strict identification requirements at airports are in place to ensure the safety and security of all passengers. By verifying the identity of travelers, authorities can better screen individuals and identify any potential threats or risks.

This helps maintain a safer environment for everyone on board.

Additionally, proper identification helps prevent fraudulent activities, such as identity theft or ticket scalping. It ensures that the person traveling is indeed the rightful owner of the ticket and reduces the risk of unauthorized individuals gaining access to secure areas of the airport.

For more information on TSA identification requirements and Real ID compliance, you can visit the official TSA website at www.tsa.gov or the Department of Homeland Security website at www.dhs.gov.

Reselling Airline Tickets for Profit

Buying and selling tickets for concerts and sporting events is a common practice, but what about reselling airline tickets? Is it legal to buy someone else’s plane ticket and sell it for a profit? Let’s take a closer look at the legality of reselling airline tickets.

Is Reselling Tickets Legal?

The legality of reselling airline tickets varies depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances. In many countries, including the United States, reselling airline tickets is generally legal.

However, there may be restrictions and regulations in place to protect consumers and prevent fraudulent activities.

It’s important to note that reselling tickets at a higher price than the original purchase price, also known as ticket scalping, is often frowned upon and may be illegal in some jurisdictions. This is because it can lead to inflated prices and unfair competition in the ticketing market.

While reselling airline tickets for profit may not be strictly illegal, it is important to understand and comply with the laws and regulations in your specific jurisdiction.

Exceptions for Approved Resellers

There are exceptions to the general rule of reselling airline tickets. Approved resellers, such as travel agencies and ticket brokers, may have agreements with airlines that allow them to buy and sell tickets at a profit.

These resellers often have special contracts and licenses that permit them to operate in the ticket resale market.

If you are considering reselling airline tickets, it may be worth exploring the possibility of becoming an approved reseller. This can help ensure that you are operating within the bounds of the law and have the necessary permissions to engage in ticket resale activities.

Airline Crackdowns on Resellers

In recent years, airlines have become more vigilant in cracking down on ticket reselling activities. They have implemented measures to prevent unauthorized ticket sales and protect consumers from scams and fraud.

Some airlines have strict policies against reselling tickets, and they may cancel tickets that have been resold without authorization. Additionally, they may impose penalties or bans on individuals or agencies involved in unauthorized ticket resale.

If you are considering reselling airline tickets, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific policies and guidelines of the airlines involved. This will help you avoid potential legal issues and ensure that you are operating within the boundaries set by the airlines.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is always recommended to consult with a legal professional to understand the specific laws and regulations regarding reselling airline tickets in your jurisdiction.

Anti-Trafficking and Money Laundering Laws

When it comes to buying someone else’s plane ticket, there are certain legal considerations that need to be taken into account. In an effort to combat human trafficking and money laundering, several laws have been put in place to regulate these activities.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these laws and the implications they have on buying plane tickets for others.

Buying Tickets for Criminals

One of the main concerns when it comes to buying someone else’s plane ticket is the potential involvement in criminal activities. Law enforcement agencies around the world are constantly on the lookout for individuals involved in human trafficking, drug smuggling, and other illegal activities.

Buying plane tickets for someone who is engaged in criminal behavior can potentially make you an unwitting accomplice or facilitator of these activities.

It is important to be cautious when asked to buy a plane ticket for someone else, especially if you are not familiar with their background or intentions. If you suspect any illegal activity, it is best to report it to the appropriate authorities.

Structuring Payments to Avoid Reporting

Another aspect to consider is the structuring of payments to avoid reporting requirements. Money laundering is a serious offense that involves disguising the origins of illegally obtained funds. Some individuals may try to use third parties to buy plane tickets as a way to avoid triggering reporting thresholds set by financial institutions.

Financial institutions are required to report certain transactions to authorities if they exceed a certain threshold. By splitting the payment for a plane ticket into smaller amounts or using multiple individuals to make payments, some may try to avoid detection and escape the scrutiny of law enforcement agencies and financial institutions.

Penalties for Violations

The penalties for violating anti-trafficking and money laundering laws can be severe. Each country has its own set of laws and regulations, but in general, individuals found guilty of involvement in these criminal activities can face fines, imprisonment, or both.

It is important to familiarize yourself with the laws of your country or the country you are operating in to understand the potential consequences of buying someone else’s plane ticket without proper knowledge or due diligence.

For more information on anti-trafficking and money laundering laws, you can visit the websites of organizations such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime or the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.


While it is generally legal to buy a ticket for another passenger you know, buying or reselling tickets for profit or on behalf of suspicious individuals can violate airline policies, TSA regulations, and even criminal laws. Understand all applicable rules to avoid issues when transferring tickets.

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