so im going to se asia from april 19 - may 21 and have concerns about visa exemption. i dont plan to stay in thailand the whole time but am likely to use land crossings rather than flights. so i know my options before boarding, but am looking for advice on the execution.
when does the airline usually ask for the proof of onward travel? at check in? at the gate just before boarding? is it always before the first leg (ive only got a 40 stop at NRT). just want to make sure if i chance it without anything i'll have time to book something online at the airport.
next question, which airline or website is generally used for fully refundable fairs with the least hastle?
#1 Drew84 has been a member since 6/7/2011. Posts: 36
I've only been asked for proof of onward travel checking in for long-haul flights into SEA (ie from NZ to KL). I've never been asked on flights within SEA. The time that I was asked, it was at the time I was checking in, so yes, in theory, you'd have time to book something online if necessary.
Keep an eye out on Air Asia flights for some ultra-cheap deals. Sometimes it's worth buying a throw-away ticket for that purpose. If you don't use the flight, you can claim a partial refund less a fixed refund fee - but it's slow going with Air Asia. As you as you have patience to wait for the money, it will arrive within a month or two.
Totally re-fundable fairs are usually full-priced tickets on national airlines, I think (eg Thai Air, etc). More cash to outlay, but you'll get it back.
Re-reading your post, you are only a way for a month. Do you have a return ticket? If so, it really might not be a big deal. Type up an itinerary that you plan to follow which shows you leaving the country overland to Cambodia, or whereever - whether you actually do or not is irrelevant. It would help to show intent. It's not foolproof but could help.
I just arrived in Bangkok and I also had the same concerns as you. I had done quite an extensive research on this, but found so many mixed responses. It seems to depend on your passport, what country you fly from, and the airline. The Thai immigration does not care. They didn't ask me about onward travel but the airline I used from the Philippines did.
When I was checking in at the counter, the staff asked for onward travel. i informed her that I will be crossing the border by land and she checked me in without further inquiry.
I don't know what passport you have but As an American, I didn't have any problems. I didn't even need to obtain Visa on Arrival which I thought I needed. They sent me straight to immigration desk. From talking to European travelers, they seemed to have the same experience.
#3 oshi has been a member since 26/10/2012. Posts: 7
i'll be travelling on a canadian passport from detroit to tokyo to bangkok. my concern is being asked in tokyo as ive got a very very short stop. the airline is delta
#4 Drew84 has been a member since 6/7/2011. Posts: 36
Not trying to take over this thread but I'm wondering this as well!
My boyfriend and I have purchased our airfare to/from SE Asia - open-jaw: we're flying from Vancouver - Hong Kong, staying in Hong Kong a few days, and then flying from Hong Kong - Bangkok. Our return flight is Jakarta - Hong Kong - Vancouver. I understand in Thailand Canadians get a visa exemption for 30 days - we are only planning on spending 2.5 weeks in Thailand - but we don't actually have any proof of onward travel from Thailand, and since our departure from the region is more than 30 days from our arrival in Thailand we are wondering if this might present a problem?
#5 magalaya has been a member since 20/2/2013. Posts: 11
My suggestion is to call the airline.
As I mentioned before, it's not Thai immigration that asks for your onward travel. It's the airline.
I called mine in the Philippines to make sure it would not be a problem.
#6 oshi has been a member since 26/10/2012. Posts: 7
Oshi FIRST answer is right-his 2nd is plain daft: what airlines then do (IF they answer at all....) is opening their TIMIC and reading what is in there: EITher ticket OUT in 30 days OR visum- for western nations.
Besides that- someone in the office will NOT be sitting at the check-in desk.
It DOES vary with YOUR nationality (thats why its indeed so imprt to tell that) WHERE you board and WHAT airline. And NO-we do NOT have a 123% full overview here of all potential cases-which anyone with brains could have thought of all by herself.
#7 captainbkk has been a member since 16/2/2012. Posts: 472
i agree with oshi and would suggest calling your airline as well. it certainly won't hurt, and you may gain a meaningful insight into how the airline handles this issue. as oshi and others mentioned above, it is the airline that may deny boarding if you don't have proof of onward travel. the thai immigration folks won't care at all, unless you look really rough around the edges, and then they might give you a second look.
the certain way to avoid this problem is to either get a 60-day tourist visa before you arrive or book an onward flight out of the country as part of your itinerary. there are some cheap flights on air asia, for example, and maybe one of them is going where you want to go too. i've heard some folks book these flights and then cancel after arriving in thailand too.
anyway, even though this question is frequently asked, it is a very legitimate concern, so good on you for seeking the latest information. you can also scroll down to see a list of similar threads on this same topic. there may be additional good info there. cheers.
Flights are easier than land crossings. I'd just buy a ticket to the country you want to visit. Land crossings can have long bus rides and attached scams.
#9 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
First I'd like to thank everyone for the responses!
Just to clarify, I (and I'm assuming everyone else) knows what the options are to overcome the dilema. My original inquiry was to the execution of booking a last minute flight out of thailand from the airport in a jam, and then refunding it once safely in thailand.
1. I'm aware I could just get a thai tourist visa from the consulate/embassy, I'm still weighing out that option but want to know how to go about the alternative
2. I plan to visit other countries (not sure which yet, perhaps cambodia/laos) but greatly prefer to make that decision on the spot rather than plan around it. I very much value flexibility
3. The cost of a "throw away" airline ticket is more than the $45ish dollars it would cost for the tourist visa, so I don't see how this makes any sense, except as an absolute last resort.
4. If I do leave the kingdom its likely to be over land rather than air, unless its Bali... But at this point indonesia is seeming less and less likely
I'd love to hear from people who have booked full fare tickets out of thailand and then were easily refunded once in the kingdom. Looking for specifics on which airline, how it was booked, what it cost and the refund process. Many people recommend this option but the details are vague.
The airline (Delta, flying out of Detroit to Bangkok via Tokyo on a Canadian passport to recap) wasn't much help. And from what I gather from research their enforcement of this rule seems to be somewhat random.
Thanks again for all the replies!
#10 Drew84 has been a member since 6/7/2011. Posts: 36
"Create an account on Expedia and compose your own itinerary. Push ahead with the purchase until you see the credit card field you won't be filling out. Look around for a good screen to print outâ€”just make sure you name's on it someplace.In this age of electronic tickets, everyone is used to seeing shoddy inkjet printouts of travel arrangements, government officials included. If your ruse doesn't work, apologize for your lack of acceptable paperwork and get ready to for whatever awaitsâ€”remember, it's all a part of the adventure!" - Quoted from http://travelogue.travelvice.com/st-vincent-grenadines/faux-onward-tickets/
#11 chopin has been a member since 28/4/2007. Posts: 154
Genius idea Chopin! Thanks!
#12 Drew84 has been a member since 6/7/2011. Posts: 36
well the genius is the original author of that blog.....
good luck to you, and please tell us here if this trick works.
#13 chopin has been a member since 28/4/2007. Posts: 154
Sorry to burst your bubble. A valid e-ticket has a ticket number which you only get once you have paid. Printing an itinerary without a ticket number is useless and asking for trouble. You may get past an inexperienced check-in agent but are you feeling lucky ? If caught out you are going to have alot of explaining to do.
#14 slightlychilled has been a member since 3/2/2013. Posts: 11
Yeah, but the worst case is that you resort to 'Plan B' - which is to buy a ticket on the spot (a throwaway, or a fully refundable one). Given those most of us have never had a problem, it could be worth the risk - as long as it's a calculated risk.
Worst case is having been caught out, you may not be allowed to fly at all.
#16 slightlychilled has been a member since 3/2/2013. Posts: 11
its just the airline, not some official gov agency or something. i cant imagine them not allowing you to fly at all over something like this. worst case it sounds like just go to plan b.
#17 Drew84 has been a member since 6/7/2011. Posts: 36
yeah agreed that there's always a risk using the expedia method, but according to readers' feedback, it seem to be working well: http://travelogue.travelvice.com/st-vincent-grenadines/faux-onward-tickets/
unless the airlines are also monitoring and reading online forums like these... who knows? this should always be taken as a calculated risk.
for people who want to do it the safer way, plan B is the way to go as AirAsia etc. are selling dirt cheap short-haul cross-border flights. However, AirAsia is notorious in refunding cancelled tickets, you almost can forget about it. Would like to know about other budget airline's refund policies like Tiger, JetStar etc., anyone has real experience to share?
would be good to hear from travellers who have used the expedia method in the past 3 months to share their success/failure stories.
#18 chopin has been a member since 28/4/2007. Posts: 154
"AirAsia is notorious in refunding cancelled tickets"
I'd disagree with this. I've been a 'no show' on several flights for various reasons and have always got a partial refund. It's never quick, but it does come through. (Why a 'no show'? Due to changing plans, or sometimes they've been cheapies that I bought as a potential travel plan, but changed my mind.)
I once also claimed a partial refund when they were delayed by more than 2-3 hours, as per their hard-to-find documented policy.
my understanding is that they will glady refund you the taxes & fees/surcharges that are added to every fare if the ticket is unused. often times, especially with very cheap fares this can be 50% or more of your ticket cost.
#20 Drew84 has been a member since 6/7/2011. Posts: 36
oh that's good news. AirAsia was bad in refund in their earlier years and got a lot of bad press from their own country people (Malaysians) including myself. They might have listened over the years and is doign the right thing about it now. This is good. So plan B now does seem to be less costly.
#21 chopin has been a member since 28/4/2007. Posts: 154
so here is somethin to consider. its looking more and more like i may grab a sleeper train down to malaysia and then fly back to bangkok at the end from KL. would this flight originating from KL and ending back in bangkok be enough to satisfy the requirements? im guessing technicslly not, but perhaps someone has some experience
#22 Drew84 has been a member since 6/7/2011. Posts: 36
ha you'll fly into bkk twice, maybe this can justify a purchase of one airasia ticket out of thailand with a date after your second entry? it can be used twice, worth it it seems.
#23 chopin has been a member since 28/4/2007. Posts: 154