Let me start by way of personal anecdote:
A few weeks ago I had to make some rather complicated plane reservations by phone. After working out the flight details, I carefully told the (~middle-aged female) operator that my name was Science Woman while my husband's name was Business Man. I gave her our frequently flier numbers, confirmed the flight times, and hung up.
The next morning, very early, we arrived at the airport and handed the agent at the ticket counter our IDs. The (20-something male) agent looked at our licenses and said, "Did you two just get married?"
I, very innocently and still groggy, replied, "No, we've been married 3 years. Why?"
To which the answer came, "The name on your ticket does not match your ID." (Our plane was scheduled to depart in 30 minutes.) Sure enough, rather than my boarding pass saying Science Woman, it read: Mrs. Business Man (i.e. Science Man)
After some consultation with another agent, and given that it was 4:30 am, and our tickets were booked through a different airline, they decided to let us board, but subjected us to extra security. Thankfully it was a very small airport, and the TSA folks decided to play along. We were wanded, patted down, our bags were inspected, and then we were sent merrily on our way.
After arriving in the Midwest, I called the airline. Where I was informed (by another middle-aged woman) that there was simply nothing they would do for me about the return flights, since part of the ticket had already been used. When I pressed them for advice, all the operator could recommend was to arrive at the airport early.
So on the day of our departure from Big Midwest Airport, we arrived 3 hours early. We printed boarding passes from one of the automachines and headed for TSA, hoping that since we'd been stonewalled by the airline that TSA would be able to help us.
Of course, that was wishful thinking. There was NO WAY TSA was going to let me through security without an ID matching my ticket, and I was order to go fix things with the airline.
Fortunately, we foundered upon the right queue at a ticket counter, and after explaining my situation politely, I had a new set of boarding passes with the correct name. Of course, they gave me no apology for totally subsuming my identity into that of my husbands or for the indignities of being patted down by TSA.
All because, I dare to have my own last name.
Next up: More general thoughts/philosophy on the proper name for a woman.