Do you always have an onward air ticket when entering a new country?

I do like Adventurous Kate… United Airlines and Jetblue also have this 24-hr refund policy, and you can cancel right on the web site. Easy peasy.

I’ve never had an onward ticket - had a couple of interesting discussions with airlines in the past, but it’s never stopped me from boarding.

One particularly fun experience was leaving Fukuoka, Japan en route to Bangkok. The check-in agent asked where I lived (I had numerous Japanese and Vietnamese visas in my passport, as well as stamps from a bunch of different countries) which was a bit awkward, given I had all of my worldly possessions in tow.

Ended up explaining that I lived in Vietnam and pointed to a single-entry visa that expired after my return, claiming that I’d get a bus from Thailand to Vietnam. They were happy with that and let me board.

If you aren’t a good negotiator I’d recommend getting a refundable ticket just in case though.

I agree with @synaptic that if you fit the profile of a “wealthy westerner,” you do not really need to have a return ticket.

I never have an onward flight. I was asked for one going from HK to Bali at the gate right before my plane was going to board, and just said that I would be happy to pull up my bank statement to prove that I have funds in my bank account to buy an onward ticket. They didn’t even hesitate to accept that. Some people think this is a risky move but I don’t. I think I may have been asked again a few times, but always say the same thing. I don’t even remember because it’s such a non-issue. Calm confidence and a western passport are the keys here. (I have an American passport.)

Some airlines even have it in their own policy that if you have the cash for your entire intended stay plus money to buy an onward ticket, they will accept proof of that in place of the actual onward ticket. The gate agents may not know this.

@namehra, TripIt is a great suggestion

With US airline agencies, tickets have to be refundable for 24 hours cause of a US law.

A good approach is to book a ticket before checking in and canceling it soon after you’re checked in or at the destination.

With Orbitz, you can do all of that online.

I’ve compiled 6 onward proof workarounds on my German travel blog.

Sometimes they ask and sometimes they don’t, most of the times that I’m asked to show an onward ticket I fly with Airasia, they are a little bit more tricky with this rule. I showed them my ticket and they even checked it online to verify if it’s fake or not. However I always have an onward ticket when I fly international, I don’t plan, I just book a random cheap ticket for the date that my visa expires, eventually if I want to go to the country I’ll use the ticket, otherwise I’ll just forget it, it’s cheap though. Normally I book tickets directly from the airlines but last week I bought one through Expedia and noticed that the ticket can be refunded within 24 hours, so I’ve been thinking of booking a random ticket a few hours before I checkin and claim for a refund a few hours later, it should work.

I am almost all the time asked about my return tickets.
Just answering, yes I got my onward ticket to country XY works. Have a printed plan or a plan on your phone about any leaving flight within the next month ready, in case they want to see it.
If they claim that you did not actually book that flight: Just act like you had no clue…
You got to book a flight then before they let you check in. I had that problem only once: Shanghai to Manilla / Philippine Airlines.

Flew yesterday with AirAsia, I checked in with the AirAsia mobile app and proceeded straight to customs, showed the e-boarding pass in my phone to them and nobody asked anything.

Entering the Philippines especially on a one way ticket is always a problem! I had two buy a full priced ticket when they asked to see proof of onward travel and then go to the trouble of getting a refund once I arrived in the Philippines. I now use to buy an onward ticket for $5. You can’t use the ticket (it’s a deposit you pay only) but it’s cheaper and less hassle than the alternatives and works without any problem.

Are you sure you have used it before @JamieBond? The domain was registered on June 21, 2015, only 2 days ago? I guest you just built it today?


I found this site yesterday and it’s amazing, I tested with them and it worked I booked a test ticket from Thailand to Vietnam and they sent me a Vietnam Airlines ticket from Bangkok to Ho Chi Ming city, the code was valid when I checked with VNA’s website. I love it :smile:


meh. it’s easy to just do it yourself. why pay someone else? i guess if money less of an issue than time.

United States, Canada, UK, Australia: Yes.
Everywhere else: Itinerary works fine in 90% of the cases. is a good solution though - +1 for that :slight_smile:

I like because it’s only a $10 risk. If you forget to return a ticket (e.g., through Expedia), or you get caught/delayed somewhere without an internet connection and pass the 24-hour deadline, you’re on the hook for the whole fare.


I just used to “rent” a return ticket from Guatemala and it worked just fine. I flew Spirit Airlines from Denver, connected in Ft. Lauderdale, and then on to Guatemala City. The really promising thing was that the rented ticket they gave me was also from Spirit Airlines and just I provided them with the confirmation number and date of the flight, the agent punched it into her computer, and she handed me my boarding pass without asking any other questions.

I will say this, looks (and feels) a little janky, but I was willing to take the risk because it’s only $5, they use PayPal so it’s pretty secure, and you can get a flight from anywhere. Right now, with, they only book certain destinations (200 per day) and you can only “rent” whatever they have available for that day. They do not book tickets in Central/South America. It is a much more legit operation, but got the job done for me in Central America. I will use them again.

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I used both. photoshops tickets, books real tickets. Onwardflights is cheaper for a reason.

Very interesting to hear of this site. I have traveled to over 70 countries and usually do not bother with onward tickets. I have only been asked by immigration to show an onward ticket 1x (Thailand) but have been asked by airlines numerous times (United, Copa, etc.). Luckily the few times I have been asked I had an onward ticket.

A trick I use is to buy a cheap bus ticket where possible. Oftentimes these are refundable and I buy the shortest one I can find (so let’s say I am flying into Bangkok, I would find a bus ticket to a neighboring country). The onward ticket you need to show doesn’t need to be air… just needs to show that you are leaving the country. this puts less money at risk and again, I’ve found I’m reimbursed about 85% of the inexpensive bus fare upon reimbursement. But this onwardflight site is another option although since it photoshops actual tickets… it’s more concerning to me than a real bus ticket.

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Ditto what @grum said. Chances are you may not be asked for proof of onward travel but it’s better to be prepared. If you don’t have it and need it, it can be a pain.

it’s hard to forget when you book it then seconds later cancel it. but to each their own.

I used to print an onward ticket for thailand. But, no one even asked to see it :slight_smile:

Yes, but if they start checking to see if the flight is legit, then yeah, that’s a problem.