My husband bought a United Airline ticket online (from the United website) for his son, who lives in another state, to visit with us over Christmas. When my step-son checked in at the airport today, United did not want to accept that ticket unless he could produce his father's credit card. They instead wanted him to buy another ticket, using another credit card (he only has a debit card and does not have enough for a same-day ticket in his account). After a lot of arguing and "I need to talk to your manager" stuff, they finally let him use the original ticket.
United said this was a long-standing policy to prevent fraud. We have bought tickets online for our son/step-son for years and never had any problems. In fact, I bought a separate United ticket online for my mom to travel from PA to CA, and she was not asked to produce my credit card when she checked in for the outgoing flight a few days ago.
Has anyone else encountered issues with buying a plane ticket for someone else? Is this the case for other airlines? Perhaps there are more kids stealing their parents' credit cards to buy an airline ticket and skipping out without their parents knowing? This can be a big issue for the many parents who routinely buy tickets for their kids. And it just seems weird that they start enforcing the rules over the holiday season.