the onward ticket dilemma
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Nov 11, 2012 10:04 AM Last Post By: BOOMER1
Oct 27, 2012 2:54 PM
the onward ticket dilemmaI'm going to fly into Panama on the return leg of Panama - London - Panama ticket and I'm concerned that I won't be allowed to board the plane without an onward ticket.
It's forever since I lived in the country that is nominally my "home country" and I normally travel by land. I have my bicycle waiting for me in Panama and I am intending to continue overland (I know about the Gap) to South America. I have crossed the Costa Rica/Panama border on a number of occasions with minimal hassle so I know that my big problem is going to be with the airline, not immigration.
Who has any ideas to get around overly bureaucratic and unimaginative airline officials? I was thinking of buying a ticket with United and then cancelling on their 24 hour cancellation policy but it is not clear on the United site exactly how you go about this. Has anyone got any experience with this or any other fixes to the onward ticket dilemma?
Oct 29, 2012 7:27 AM
1In London the airline will ask for your Panamanian residence permit, which youĺl have to show or you can't board the plane. Or that's what happened to me, I live in CR and my family in Amsterdam. And I flew with United, but it's really Central American Migracion who insists on this. I have no experience in buying and cancelling planetickets, but other posters might have.
Then the CR-Panama border crossing (at Sixaola/ Guabito) it used to be a piece of cake, a couple of years ago I went there every 90 days to renew my visum. A few weeks I revisited the ole bananatrain bridge, but was in for an unpleasant surprise at the Panamanian side: they charged us $ 100 for never to be used bustickets out of Panama and there was a Corrupto (this side of the border we say Choricero) who charged entry tax. Even though there are signs stating passing the border is free. Yeah, Panama changed under Martinelli government and not for the better. Have you read about the recent riots in Ciudad Colon and Ciudad de Panama?
Oct 29, 2012 8:30 AM
Oct 29, 2012 3:43 PM
I have never had any trouble with land border crossing at either Sixaola or Pasos Canoas. Sorry to hear that your crossings haven't gone smoothly there.
I agree the Martinelli government is a disaster. I hadn't heard of the latest protests in Panama. Panama doesn't often make the international newx.
Oct 31, 2012 2:00 AM
4Who has any ideas to get around overly bureaucratic and unimaginative airline officials?
They quite rightly refuse to let people board whom they know, or strongly suspect, will be turned away by immigration at the point of arrival. I believe that airlines are fined for carrying passengers not eligible for entry, and of course it the airline's responsibility to fly the passenger back to their point of origin.
Nov 7, 2012 6:59 AM
5Technically as you know you must have "proof of onward travel" although many airlines still don't routinely check for it. The worst that can happen is that they force you to buy another ticket- a full fare means its fully refundable of course, but there is still normally an admin fee which is of course a pain. Some people are using the American Airlines site and making a provisional "hold" reservation for an onward journey the night before check-in and printing off the itinerary. With AA unless you confirm that reservation within 24 hours it simply expires with no further action required. Therefore at the time you check-in you genuinely have a reservation for an onward journey. Not bullet proof of course, but no real reason why it shouldn't work unless some over vigilent and eagle-eyed check -in wallah wants to ensure you have a "confirmed reservation".
Some might say that the check-in clerk is only making sure the law is applied. But at the same time selling you a ticket themselves knowing that you are only going to cancel it is hardly right either is it?
Nov 9, 2012 11:36 AM
6Technically BOOMER1, you do NOT have to have 'proof of onward travel'. That's a myth at best, mis-information certainly and bad advice at any time.
Nov 10, 2012 3:43 AM
7I love the fact that your link is simply to your own opinion elsewhere! I do hope you have printed that out. Next time you try to board a Spirit Airline flight to Costa Rica you can stand at the check-in and read it out. They will be very interested I'm sure.
Good luck with that- I'll wave to you and to anyone else who thinks you've given them good advice...
Nov 10, 2012 8:57 AM
8BOOMER1, some countries have a specific requirement for 'proof of onward travel' while others have a requirement that you 'satisfy the Immigration officer you intend to leave'. They are not one and the same and I should have made that clear when I responded to your comment by writing 'not NECESSARILY'.
My point is that it is a blanket statement often used here and by airlines and applied in many cases where it actually does not exist. It should not be taken as a 'given' or suggested as being so UNLESS someone actually knows just what the Immigration rules of the specific country says.
I do know that Costa Rica Immigration has a specific 'you must have' but this thread is about Panama and I do not know if they have a 'you must have' rather than a 'you must satisfy'. For example, this US government site specifically says a passport and onward ticket for Costa Rica but only a passport for Panama. That is referring only to US citizens entering of course. So how do I or you know what the actual rule is for an Australian?
I linked to the new thread I started as I thought you might want to read and follow that discussion and perhaps contribute as well.
You seem to have read what I wrote as if it were a personal put-down of you. It was not, it is about trying to get the correct information more widely spread here on the TT.
Nov 11, 2012 4:19 AM
9Well you would know about "blanket statements":
Quote: " That's a myth at best, mis-information certainly and bad advice at any time."
For someone trying to fly to Costa Rica, Panama or anywhere in CA who wants to be sure of actually getting on the plane- mine is anything but bad advice. By contrast yours is opinionated twaddle and I would pay dearly to watch you try and use it at a flight check-in where you don't have the documentation they require. (In fact I HAVE watched people try to do that at a Spirit Airline check-in in Fort Lauderdale and an AA check-in at Miami...it was funny, but not so much for them)....
Nov 11, 2012 9:10 AM
10BOOMER, you want to talk about Panama which is fair enough, it is the country the OP is asking about. My comments are about 'onward travel' and the airlines in general. I'm not arguing about what Spirit Airlines will or will not do.
So we either move on to discussing the wider topic or not. The OP has been told by the Consulate that Immigration would let him enter given that he intends to leave on a private boat. In other words, that would satisfy the intent if not the letter of the law. They would be satisfied he intends to leave. So Immigration does not appear to be a problem.
Unfortunately, he has already got his ticket and the airline say they will not board him. He's stuck with that. For me that is really the end of this thread as stated and I moved on from there to the broader picture leaving Panama and the OP's specific issue out of it.
What an airline insists on and what Immigration insists on are not always one and the same thing. If Immigration insists on something then you have no choice but if an airline insists on something that Immigration does not insist on then you do have choices. The most obvious is pick another airline.
Nov 11, 2012 9:30 AM
11I'm sorry buddy but that is still pure twaddle.
We are talking entry requirements. Certain countries require a proof of onward travel as a requirement to issuing an entry visa. Airlines are not allowed to board passengers who do not comply with the visa requirements of the destination country. If they do they can be fined and required to return the passenger to their point of origin. Since it is the airlines requirement to check, immigration rarely "double check" this, although they can do at their discretion.
It really is that simple and in future the airlines will be forced to get much more on the ball with this particular one and the debate here based on people saying "well I was never asked so it can't be true" or "I rang the airline and they didn't know what I was talking about" (or your twaddle) will finally go away. Hurrah!
Nov 11, 2012 9:44 AM
12Why are you connecting the two as if they were inseperable?
Yes, some countries insist. Yes, airlines insist. But sometimes, some airlines also insist when Immigration does not. The two are not inseperable they often disagree.
If they rule exists and the airline insists on you having a ticket fine. No problem. But what about when the rule does NOT exist and the airline insists on you having a ticket?
"We are talking entry requirements"
I am talking entry requirements but it appears that you are talking airline requirements AS IF they decided what Immigtration entry requirements were. They do not.
Nov 11, 2012 10:04 AM
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