Q. My girlfriend and I are moving to Seattle at the end of next month and having her sister and brother-in-law fly out to Minneapolis and meet us and help with the drive out there. We are keeping our eyes out for cheap tickets for them and will probably purchase the first ones we see. There is a possibility that I would move earlier and then fly back to drive with my girlfriend. When it gets to that point and we've already purchased the tickets for her sister and brother-in-law is it possible to change the name on the ticket to me?
A. Most airlines don't allow name changes once a ticket is purchased. In fact, we've heard stories from folks who have been unable to use purchased tickets because they used their every day nickname, forgetting that the name didn't match the one on their passport. We'd contact the airline you're thinking of flying with to see if they allow name changes (chances are they won't, and if they do, we imagine it'll be expensive).
If possible, we suggest booking your tickets on Southwest. That way, should you have to switch a ticket over from the inlaws, the ticket can be rebanked, reissued, or changed to a different date, and all without a fee. Whatever sum originally paid is yours to apply to a different ticket (even in another passenger's name) for up to a year.