A Taradale grandfather is outraged that the cost to change the name on a plane ticket cost more than if he had bought a new one.

David Norman wanted to take his grandson on his first plane trip to Auckland as a school holiday treat.

When the Napier Port worker discovered a scheduling conflict, he asked his wife Dawn to go to Jetstar and change the name on the ticket.

Mr Norman said that previously changing a name was simple: "You would change the name of the accompanying parent on the passenger list and away you go. Not any more: to change the booking is $180 - oh, the joys of technology."

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The cheapest April fare for Jetstar's Napier-Auckland route was $39.

"It's like they give you a cheap fare in the first instance and if there are any hiccups they make a good recovery that way," Mr Norman said.

Mrs Norman said she believed it was Jetstar's modus operandi to help offset its cheap airfares.

"I was expecting to pay maybe $50 but I was told they would have to split the tickets because I was accompanying a child, then she had to issue two new tickets."

She was already committed to the trip and "had to go".

A Jetstar spokeswoman said name changes on tickets wasn't as straightforward as many might think.

"Ultimately our protocol is around passenger safety - we need to know exactly who is on a flight at all times."

Children added "further complications" to the name-change process.

"A child being accompanied by a parent must have the correct name on the ticket, as that child is the responsibility of that person while in the air."

An Air New Zealand spokesman said the company had a strict no-name-change policy.

"If it was a character change, for example Sam to Samuel, we would charge $50 but we don't do name changes. He (Mr Norman) would have had to buy a new ticket."