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Onward Flight Ticket

Being asked to produce evidence of an onward flight ticket at your airport check-in counter is one of the finest ways to spoil your trip before it's really begun. . .

The Journey

Your bags are packed, you're all excited. You've checked and checked again to make sure your passport is where it should be. You have money, your SAS survival guide and the HP sauce.

Everything is set...

You're on your way to the airport, but a little bit stressed, you need to be on that plane...

You spoke to some cows earlier and got some sound advice. The airport's approaching, you get there safe and sound and are ready to be herded like cattle.

You find the appropriate queue and join it. Not the best start to a holiday but at least it's moving, albeit not fast enough.

Finally, it's your turn:

The Conversation

'Yes ma'am, no ma'am, two bags full ma'am'.

She looks at your single ticket into deepest darkest Transalbodia.

'How long will you be staying in Transalbodia sir/madam/3rd gender?'... She asks.

'A few weeks probably' you mumble.

She asks, 'Do you have an onward flight ticket out of Transalbodia sir/madam/3rd gender?'...

'Er, no'...You answer, a little bit offended at her nosiness.

'I'm afraid you can't board your plane without an onward flight ticket out of Transalbodia sir'... She politely informs you.

'Hmm, well, that's a bit of an unexpected spanner in the works of my jolly'

She gives you a strange look and offers up for sale a flight ticket that will indeed get you out of Transalbodia.

Unfortunately, she isn't a representative of Skyscanner and neither is she wearing a Kayak pin badge. Her flights are pricey. 'But they're fully refundable' she assures you.

So what now?

Read On
You're trapped, your choices are disappearing along with your seat on that plane. You've done your time in the queue and your flight departure is fast approaching. Are you going to head off and find some wi-fi, mess about registering for a password, then try to buy a flight on-line?... After that get back in the queue and start the whole process again? You might do that if you have time. If you don't you'll probably buy that pricey ticket that the lady is offering up...

Alternatively, you could be better prepared with the onward flight ticket in hand, ready to brandish like an Olympic medal with a beaming smile.

Gone are the days when you can board a plane with a one-way ticket

The above scenario is an all too common occurrence at airports the world over. I've it experienced myself a number of times.

Unfortunately, the laid-back, nonchalant days of independent travel are somewhat in the past.

Flying in on a one-way ticket and wandering around your dream destination aimlessly and carefree, leaving the leaving for when it's time to leave.

Feeling when the wind blows you or seeing where the train takes you is often one of the reasons I travel in the first place...

Deciding when and how to leave once I'm there, maybe I'll move on overland into a bordering country... Ultimate freedom.

Regrettably, this is a luxury of the past

Enforced mostly to reduce the flow of undocumented immigrants entering for employment purposes, air passengers are now regularly required to produce evidence of an onward flight ticket out of the country that they are flying into.

If you are travelling on a return ticket then that will suffice. Or maybe you have a planned itinerary with your connecting flights all booked up in advance. In which case you won't be concerned with such a scenario.

If not, you'll arrive at the airport, all excited, checking in at the counter and then... El whammo, the stumbling block question...

It is highly likely that you will be asked to show evidence of an onward flight ticket out of the country that you are entering.

A few years ago this would only be the case when flying from certain 'developed' countries. However, it is now becoming more common everywhere.

Recently I was asked to provide evidence when flying from Bangkok into Manila.

Onward ticket protocols may sometimes go unenforced, but you really should be prepared to show such evidence. I find flight travel stressful enough without having an extra issue to worry about.

You may be denied boarding your plane if you're unable to provide an onward flight ticket

Or worse, when you land you can be denied entry into the country, forcing you back to your point of departure at your own expense.

Depending on the airport you may have the option of purchasing the required onward flight ticket.  This premium-priced ticket you are informed is fully refundable. Subsequently, when you attempt the refund at a later date, you're charged an admin fee.

Suddenly your 'fully refundable ticket' becomes only partly so when you factor in this cancellation fee which will vary depending on the airline. Personally, I’ve never discovered a cancellation fee of less than $50.

In addition to this, there's the time and cost involved when faced with having to visit the airline office in a sprawling metropolis in order to set the refund in motion. I'm guessing nobody wants to waste their precious travel time doing that.

Most people have a rough idea of some kind of itinerary, so they purchase a flexible, onward flight ticket beforehand

The travel dates for these 'flexible' tickets can be changed but these are premium priced tickets and while there are plenty of ‘flashpackers’ travelling around these days not everyone has a generous budget, so they choose to buy the cheapest ticket out of the country with no intention of boarding that flight.

This ‘throwaway' ticket is purchased purely to satisfy the onward flight ticket requirement. Depending on the destination, the cost of this ticket will vary, some promotion flights can be had for just a few coins, while others will be wanting triple figures. Either way, the airlines will be more than happy to accept all this free money.

Get your onward flight ticket here on Wemooch while giving to a worthy cause

Fill out the 'onward flight ticket' form below, make your payment and help a worthwhile charity.

You will receive an e.mail containing your flight e.ticket as a PDF which can be printed if required. However, I find most airlines are satisfied with a glance at the document on your phone screen.

There is a £15/$20 charge for this service and 10% of this will go to the Hospice UK charitable organisation.

Once you submit the form, you'll then you will be redirected to make payment via Paypal.

You will receive your onward flight document via your provided e.mail address within 24hrs.

Onward Flight Form

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