We talked previously about one-way tickets and the problems they may cause, which seemed to cause more confusion than anything else.
Some people have had no problems entering a country. Someone else may have to buy a departure plane ticket or has been sent straight back to the originating country.
Nothing is consistent.
I reached out to travelers all around the world for stories when they were prevented from entering a country…or at least asked more questions than usual about their one-way tickets.
These are their stories…(Cue the Law and Order sound)
I read about people traveling from the UK (London) to Mexico with a plane change in Atlanta. At Atlanta, United States customs sent them back to Europe, forbidding them to travel to Mexico, because they had not decided which Latin American country they would go to from Mexico on their holiday. Hence they had no onward ticket from Mexico. A personoid from Triton, a moon of Neptune, might ask “But isn’t that the Mexican government’s business?” A personoid from Nereid, another moon of Neptune, might ask “Why did they have to go through US customs at all?” When I traveled Detroit-Istanbul via Amsterdam, I did not have to enter/exit the Schengen area in Schipol Airport — that airport is laid out so cleverly that the Schengen passport control area is NOT between the arrival gate from Detroit and the departure gate to Istanbul. The passport control area IS between the arrival gate from Detroit and the departure gate to Helsinki — Helsinki is in FInland and Finland is in the Schengen area. How clever!
So understand that passing through a country can be an issue. But you’re never sure where that can happen. This is exactly what happened to me. I switched from Vietnam Airlines to Thai Airways, which means I had to pass through the regular screening process.
I was in Brazil & had to return to the States for work during the middle of my trip to Salvador. So I purchased a ticket SSA (Salvador, Bahia)- MIA (Miami International)- SSA (Salvador, Bahia) on American Airlines When I went to return to Brazil, the ticket agent in MIA made me show evidence that I had a return ticket back to the US before he would give me the boarding pass to use this return ticket to Brazil. Fortunately, I had this other trip’s itinerary with me since it was on another airline.
This example supports your point about using one way tickets internationally. And even traveling in the US, when I am flying only one way, I’m more likely to be selected for extra screening.
From Traveling G:
I was in Vietnam and had a one-way ticket to Manila on Cebu Pacific, but they wouldn’t let me check-in because I didn’t have an onward ticket out of Manila. No problem, I said, I’ll just buy one now since I’m at the airport, but they said they couldn’t sell Cebu Pacific tickets. It was around midnight and the only ticket counter open was Vietnam Airlines. So I went over there and they told me I had to buy a full-fare one-way open ticket from Vietnam Airlines to go from Manila to Hong Kong even though Vietnam Airlines didn’t fly that route and even though I wasn’t planning on going to Hong Kong. They tried to explain that somehow the ticket could be used on Philippine Airlines but couldn’t offer me any printed information that stated that.
I said, instead of that, why don’t I buy a ticket either to where I’m planning to go next or to somewhere that your airline flies, but they said that I should buy this specific ticket and just get the refund later, minus a $15 fee. So I went ahead and got it so I could board the flight. After I arrived, I went to the ticket office to get the refund, and they gave me a refund receipt but, as I found out later, they didn’t actually credit it back to my card. It took another 3 months and many phone calls, but I’m happy to say that the refund was finally processed.
I did not have problems per se, but leaving HK for Ho Chi Minh City, I had to provide detailed information as to where I was staying and why I only had a one way ticket. It was because I was traveling with Intrepid Travel through Vietnam, through Cambodia, ending in Thailand.
I never felt hassled, I felt it was just routine questioning. I did not have to go through extra security or anything like I have in the US, but then again, I was flying Business class. The airline was Cathay Pacific.
I wasnt denied entry, but had issues entering French Polynesia from Easter Island. I was going to buy my ticket out of Tahiti from Easter Island, but they only issued paper tickets at the time.
When I went through immigration, they made me purchase a $1,000 ticket to LA which I could refund the next day (which of course raises the question, if I could refund it, why bother making me get it??)
What country gave you problems?
Flying from Paris to New York in 1995
Were you told at the airport when you landed that you would be denied? At the airport of departure?
At the point of departure in Paris
Were you forced to buy a departure ticket or if you already landed in the country in question, were you forced to take the next flight out?
Were you questioned by airport security or airline desk agents? How did you verify that you had a departure ticket or had legitimate reasons for being there on a one way ticket?
No – simply told to buy a return ticket from New York back to Paris before I could leave.
I did this for Ethiopia even though I could of gotten it at the airport. Thinking back on the LONG line for Customs/Immigration when I arrived in Addis Ababa, I’m glad I did it before I left.
I recommend a site like Project Visa to figure out the requirements before you arrive. Unfortunately I found no such resource for one-way tickets and whether it was a requirement of the country or the airline.
Cross borders over land
Photo Credit: striatic