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Thai visa problems - flying with emirates

Posted by ehartley on 30/1/2013 at 06:33

Hi everyone

I've recently booked flights with emirates, flying in Bangkok end of April, and back home frmo Bangkok end of August. I am aware of the 30day/15 day Thai visa, and will not be spending more than 30 days in Thailand at any one time, so no problems there
However, I was told by the airline that I may have problems when checking I will not have a visa for what will appear to be 3 month stay.
Has anyone else had this problem?
I explained I would have proof of onward travel ie a flight ticket, but was told that this would not be valid!
Help please!


#1 ehartley has been a member since 16/5/2011. Posts: 3

Posted by 2Peas on 30/1/2013 at 07:50

Interested in any responses to this post! I fly with emirates in 2 weeks, glasgow - bangkok and then home 3 months later kuala lumpur - glasgow. I had just assumed i'd be granted a visa upon arrival in Thailand.

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Posted by ehartley1 on 30/1/2013 at 14:38

The 30 day visa is granted on arrival in Bangkok...their issue seems to be that as far as they are concerned you're staying in Thailand more than 30 days
Thanks in advance!

#3 ehartley1 has been a member since 19/6/2012. Posts: 2

Posted by Brute on 30/1/2013 at 14:52

I was in a similar situation but using air Asia. I was not asked any questions about why my return flight was further away than the allowable stay. I think there's enough visitors that they assume people will leave Thailand at some point. I have heard the worst that will happen is that you will be taken aside and forced to buy either a train or plane ticket out of the country which can be fairly inexpensive

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Posted by somtam2000 on 30/1/2013 at 17:55 admin

Really don't understand why Emirates are saying you "may" have a problem checking in -- it's their check-in -- they should know! Why they can't give you a definitive answer is beyond me.

The easiest approach is to buy the cheapest low cost flight out of the country within the 30-day period -- or get a Thai visa. I know neither of these are ideal, but short of Emirates actually being able to tell you what their check-in staff will say, your only other option is to cross your fingers and hope they don't turn you away.

Annoying and frustrating.

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Posted by 2Peas on 2/2/2013 at 20:22

This seems ridiculous! I will have a roughly planned out itinerary, a return flight from Kuala lumpur, yet they can still refuse me boarding? Surely it is clear i'll be planning to move on. I don't particularly want to have to book a flight ticket i wont use and i leave in a week!

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Posted by DLuek on 2/2/2013 at 22:41 TF writer

That is really ridiculous. I've heard Emirates can be a pain (checking carry-on baggage weight and the like).

Twice I've flown to Bangkok and once to Singapore with a return ticket (United, ANA, Thai were the airlines) some 3 to 6 months later, without any visas in any of these cases, and I never a had a problem. I always assumed that as long as you had a return flight home at some point you were fine. The only time I had a potential problem was when flying one-way to Bangkok on Cathay Pacific, but I had a cheap flight to Vietnam on Air Asia that sufficed to make the check-in staff content.

As Somtam says, ridiculous Emirates said you "might" have a problem. If I were you I'd call back Emirates and ask for a definitive answer one way or another. Then call two more times and talk to different agents to see if you get different answers. And regardless, please come back and tell us what happens.

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Posted by boxee on 2/2/2013 at 22:50

i have just flown to singapore with emirates my return ticket is for july this year and i had no problem at all with the check in staff (singapore is also a 30 day visa on arrival)

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Posted by stoneman on 3/2/2013 at 05:47

I remember being asked of my travel intentions (arriving Bangkok departing Bangkok) when checking in at Sydney. It may have been Emirates. Being an organised traveller, I showed them a copy of my proposed itinerary, probably when I did a sidetrip to Laos or Cambodia and then returning to Thailand. Had no further problem after that.

I guess you can have any itinerary typed out which includes overland departure from Thailand and overland return. Who are they to question you beyond your proposed evidentiary itinerary. There are people travelling every day entering Thailand with the intention of departing within 30 days to visit any number of other countries. Never had a problem entering Thailand though.

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Posted by slightlychilled on 3/2/2013 at 06:50

Requirements at check-in are that you may be asked to prove onward travel and it's very strange that Emirates cannot tell you what their policy is. In practice airlines generally don't check this but you need something in writing to feel safe. In your position I would contact Emirates by email, putting forward your planned itinerary and ask if this is sufficient for check-in. You will get a written answer with a contact name, if "YES" which you can print and take with you to check-in, if "NO" maybe consider changing airline.

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Posted by captainbkk on 4/2/2013 at 01:58

EK DOES ask for it-or at least has instructed those doing the checkin for them to check that (for those unknowing how airlines work: they do hardly ever have own check in staff-except at DBX, but ''hire'' from the local airport-as does about any other airline too). I was indeed asked for it in similar situation last yr.
Those above who cry foul simply show they have no clue about rules for travel.
ALSO: there are persistent and more as 1234 reports, that starting from that silly down-yundah area named Australia, ANY airline and ANY check in does check that.
Exacto has the answer- but also do realise that ONLY airtickets qualify and that thus they all cost you the 700 THB airporttax attached to it. Even AirAsia gives 600 of that back-after many monthes, if not used.

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Posted by boaby on 6/5/2013 at 00:33


slightychilled has the easy answer inform your air line with your intended intinery and make it clear that you require a document saying tha travel is possible you will use them if not you will use another

this way you are covered


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Posted by Geer1 on 6/5/2013 at 00:47

I ran into a guy when travelling that had a similar issue with another company. He found a ticket he could book as proof of onward travel that he could cancel and get most of his money back.

I just don't get why the hell the airlines care, it is pretty common knowledge especially in SEA that many travellers arrive by air and then move around country to country by land. We as travellers know the rules and the governments have fines in place for those that abuse them. To me the airlines shouldn't be involved at all.

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Posted by sayadian on 6/5/2013 at 01:40

'To me the airlines shouldn't be involved at all.'

Unfortunately, they are involved because until you have entry you are their responsibility. This means if you are refused entry (unlikely, I know) they have to find a seat to fly you back. Having onwards travel booked means it is highly unlikely any country would refuse you an available visa exemption.

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Posted by Geer1 on 6/5/2013 at 01:47

Once the airline gets you to your destination your inability to get through customs shouldn't affect them plain and simple.
They aren't required to check that you have a valid visa, aren't blacklisted from country or a known fugitive etc so it makes no sense for them to be liable if you are denied access into a country.

Like I say they shouldn't be involved, and if there is something legally that makes them think they need to be that law needs to be changed as it makes no sense.

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Posted by sayadian on 6/5/2013 at 02:08

I agree they shouldn't be involved but I'm pretty sure the passenger is an airline's responsibility until he/she has been given entry. Still, Emirates are being super-careful by demanding a visa. They are obviously aware that Thailand doesn't have a reputation for being difficult. I would certainly listen to the advise above and get something in writing, if only to allay the stress of not knowing how it will play at check-in.

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Posted by owenjones on 6/5/2013 at 19:01

First, visa requirements seem to change often and without notice. Even we who live here are caught on the hop sometimes.
Why not phone your nearest Thai Embassy or consulate and find out or to be totally safe, get a 3-month visa before leaving?

As far as Emirates goes, the last but one time we used them, their check-in caused one hell of a problem for us.
They refused to let me fly 'because I did not have a return ticket'.
They offered to sell me one.
I pointed out that that was the return ticket of a flight bought in Thailand.
The manager had to be called before I was allowed to proceed without their extra ticket.

They should implement a serious training programme for their staff.
The girls I met couldn't even listen to what I was telling them.


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