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Thailand forum

Flights

Posted by leeturnbull82 on 5/1/2012 at 20:33

Hi everyone again, i am having trouble booking an "open return" to bangkok!
Me and my gf would like a 6 month open return so we can fly back any time in that window, or when our money runs out!
Would you recommend buying just a return? and then could we change our flights if needed for free (or a nominal fee)
any help would be great
Lee
x

#1 leeturnbull82 has been a member since 5/1/2012. Posts: 7

Posted by DLuek on 6/1/2012 at 00:53 TF writer

Hi Lee,

I've heard of open tickets but have never done it myself. There are a few airlines out there that allow free changes to tickets - China Airlines is one I believe - but most charge a fee for changes. Some are reasonable, I believe it's US $100 from Cathay Pacific, while others are a bit ridiculous, like $300 from Qatar Airways.

If you do book a return and want to change the ticket make sure you do that in advance. In other words, don't call the airline two days before you want to go home and expect they'll have seats available for your desired change. They might, and if they do they'll give them to you, but they very well might not have anything for 2-3 weeks or longer. Also, calling any airline to make a change is always a big pain in the arse, usually entailing less than friendly airline representatives and long wait times.

My advice would be to search out the cheapest return fares for the approximate dates you wish to travel, then give each of them a call to inquire about the options they offer.

#2 DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,176
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Posted by DLuek on 6/1/2012 at 00:55 TF writer

Hi Lee,

I've heard of open tickets but have never done it myself. There are a few airlines out there that allow free changes to tickets - China Airlines is one I believe - but most charge a fee for changes. Some are reasonable, I believe it's US $100 from Cathay Pacific, while others are a bit ridiculous, like $300 from Qatar Airways.

If you do book a return and want to change the ticket make sure you do that in advance. In other words, don't call the airline two days before you want to go home and expect they'll have seats available for your desired change. They might, and if they do they'll give them to you, but they very well might not have anything for 2-3 weeks or longer. Also, calling any airline to make a change is always a big pain in the arse, usually entailing less than friendly airline representatives and long wait times.

My advice would be to search out the cheapest return fares for the approximate dates you wish to travel, then give each of them a call to inquire about the options they offer.

#3 DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,176
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Posted by leeturnbull82 on 6/1/2012 at 01:13

thankyou for your reply, what are your thoughts on us booking just a single and when we want to come back book a ticket home separately? would that be a problem at all not having proof of a departure date?
Lee xxx

#4 leeturnbull82 has been a member since 5/1/2012. Posts: 7

Posted by DLuek on 6/1/2012 at 01:22 TF writer

For the trip I'm currently on I booked just a one-way (wasn't sure when or if I'd be going home). However, even with a $100 change fee it will most likely be cheaper to book a return fare, unless you're using Air Asia. But if you want the flexibility without the hassle and uncertainty of knowing you're going to have to change your return date then a one-way is fine.

The only thing with that is the airline may ask you for proof of onward travel. When I flew with Cathay Pacific New York to Bangkok last October they did ask me to show proof. And I had it, in the form of a $35 Air Asia one-way flight from Bangkok to Saigon that I never ended up using. It was just a "throw away" ticket to get around that ridiculous technicality. Others on this site have mentioned showing overland itineraries plus proof of adequate finances in lieu of a ticket for onward travel. Still, most traveling one way never even get asked to show the proof.

#5 DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,176
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Posted by leeturnbull82 on 6/1/2012 at 14:53

thanks for your replies, you are helping us a bunch, so we think we are gonna book a one way to bangkok and have a ticket from bangkok booked to saigon 1 month later, for the benefit of having proof of ongoing travel, plus its great to have the option (giving us a month for travelling thailand initially)
One more thing (please) if we were to take the saigon flight would we/could we have the same issue in vietnam (having to prove ongoing travel?)
I hope i have made this clear
thankyou again so much
Lee

#6 leeturnbull82 has been a member since 5/1/2012. Posts: 7

Posted by busylizzy on 6/1/2012 at 15:45

You will, in theory, have the 'proof of ongoing flight' in most countries when you are arriving by air. In practice, it depends on the airline.

It seems to be (based on experience and from what I've read from others here) that's it's the flights into SEA that tend ask for this proof. It doesn't seem to be an issue when flying within SEA (eg from Bkk to HCMC, or KL to Vientiane). I was recently asked to show proof when flying Air Asia from NZ to KL - but was never asked on subsequent flights between Laos, Thailand and Indonesia. But I don't think I was asked for proof on a previous trip when flying on Singapore Air from NZ to Singapore. Having said that, I was asked by Indoensian immigration for my ongoing flight details but that was due to an issue with my passport. I've never been asked by immigration otherwise in any SEA country.

Another time you may need to provide proof is if you applying for a visa before arrival. For example, on a previous trip to Indonesia I applied for a 2 month visa - and needed to provide a copy of my departure ticket as part of the application process. The exception to this was Vietnam where you can apply for a visa pre-approval letter - no proof is required for the pre-approval letter. I arrived in Hanoi with the pre-approval letter but without an onward ticket as I was heading overland through to Cambodia and had no problems.

But nothing is ever guaranteed.... so if the requirements are that you have proof of onward travel and you don't have that proof, then you taking a calculated risk. But that's what most of us do, and it usually works out fine!

#7 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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