British Airways do not like Spanish names

Error at British Airways

Or that it seems. I tried to enter my full name (which makes up to the big figure of four words) and the system decided it was too much for it. No more than 29 characters are allowed when specifying the full passengers' names.

It shouldn't be much of a problem if it wasn't by this stupid hysteria surrounding flights and security, and the lack of education of some British people which do not understand that there are places in the world where people have more than one name and one surname. Then you show them a passport with the name in full and they get shocked and do not know where to look at, and what is which thing, even if you're pointing at your surname and saying explicitly: this is my first surname, and this is my second surname. And those two words over there are my name - yes, my name is actually two names.

But they look at you like if you stole your passport or something - even if the photo clearly shows that you are indeed you.

In a way, we could also blame that stupid spanish/catholic tradition (I don't know if it's still in use) which dictated that all names to be used in a christening should appear on the Bible and otherwise they should have a biblic name appended at wherever point suit better (whether it was the first or the second name). So most of my generation (and previous ones) ended up with superfluous names prepended or appended to the name that we really use, and we have to revive the extra name for the paperwork.

At the end, the problem is that these long names are unpractical in most of the times. While most of the forms in Spain can accomodate my full name (although not my sister's, funnily), I still haven't found any place in UK where I haven't had to crop or summarise my name somehow.

I must recognize, though, the creativity of the clerks and functionaries is excellent. Within two years here, I have no less than seven variations of my full name, with solutions like:

  • abbreviating all except the first surname (feels a bit like american high school movies, like J-C, M-S, etc)
  • using only the extra name and the first surname (I don't use to respond to that name so when people gets to me using it I usually ignore them until I find out they are speaking to me)
  • using the extra name and mispelling my first surname (lots of variations on this one)
  • using the extra name and the second surname (makes my mum feel proud)
  • using first name, first surname (more normal)
  • using only the surnames (this makes me feel like being at school again)
But getting back to the point, why didn't they just limit the maximum size of the form input boxes? Or maybe they could have added one of those nasty and annoying "Allowed characters count" messages which do a countdown while you enter the data until all of a sudden turn the field's background colour into a bloody red which makes you feel ashamed and cry painful tears of guilt!

It would have been easier and I wouldn't have had to reenter again much of the info in the dropdowns which as expected, is so much of a pain to fill again when there has been an error, that the programmers decided to not to implement it. I wonder if they are preparing each form manually for a site of such a big size as british airways.