Notice! Air France refused check-in without return ticket
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Nov 13, 2012 2:08 AM Last Post By: michshlomo
Oct 31, 2012 5:56 AM
Notice! Air France refused check-in without return ticketHi,
My wife and I flew from London to Tokyo on Monday.
We are planning to go from Japan to S.Korea by ferry, so we have no onward/return flight ticket.
We knew that this might be a problem with Japanese immigration, so we brought all kind of documents,
and even E-mailed Japan immigration bureau, and they answered that this is OK, and we should just say that to the immigration officer.
As we came to London airport, the girl on Air France's check-in desk said that we have to have a return ticket.
All the documents did not help, not even the letter from Japan's immigration, as it wasn't a "formal letter" (obviously, it was an e-mail).
We ended up buying a ticket from Japan to Paris for 2500 pounds each, that we've refunded as soon as we got to Japan.
The funny thing is, the immigration officer in Japan's Narita airport didn't ask for an onward ticket, nor for anything else.
So beware! Maybe you should get a refundable ticket in advance, so you'll spare the hassle in the airport.
I think you can buy a ticket with a different air-line and cancel it right away, as they don't have a way to check if the printed E-ticket is valid.
All of the above is true for Israelis and French nationality. As for others, I don't know, but Air France has a list of who should need it and who shouldn't.
Oct 31, 2012 7:41 AM
1Another approach, before shelling out on a new ticket, is to offer to sign an indemnity, agreeing to pay the airline's costs if you're refused admission and sent back. Not all airlines will go along with this, but it's always worth asking about it.
It's good to hear you were able to refund your ticket on arrival in Tokyo. Some airlines make it very difficult to refund tickets, imposing for example a requirement that you refund the ticket at the same airline office where you bought it.
(Did you not have a ticket out of Asia back to France? If you didn't have a ticket back from Korea or China, say, that might have increased the check-in clerk's concern.)
Oct 31, 2012 7:50 AM
2the girl on Air France's check-in desk said that we have to have a return ticket
Being in possession of an onward ticket is a basic requirement for most western nationalities to be allowed into Japan; if you want to enter on a one-way ticket, you need to apply for a visa in advance through a Japanese embassy abroad. You obviously could not show the actual onward ticket or official authorization from a Japanese authority allowing you into Japan without it, so the check-in staff was merely following the rules correctly.
All of the above is true for Israelis and French nationality
The same applies to any other nationality allowed visa-free entry into Japan. Everyone else should apply for a visa in advance.
The funny thing is, the immigration officer in Japan's Narita airport didn't ask for an onward ticket, nor for anything else
That is common actually, funny as you may think that is. The thing is, if Japanese immigration gets suspicious in any way about the purpose of your visit, they will ask you to show your onward ticket and if you can't, it's the airline who is ordered to transport you back home, and who may even be fined for not checking your documents properly.
In other words, airlines are held liable for transporting passengers who do not comply with the entry requirements of their destination; that's goes not only for Japan, but for any country, and penalties from immigration can be really stiff, which is why airline staff tend to play it safe.
It's good you posted this as a reminder, though.
Oct 31, 2012 7:53 AM
3In the case of Australia there is a really big fine - 5 or 10 thousand dollars I think - on the airlines if someone is refused entry somewhere. I am not sure why it is such a big deal for the govt. but signing something like that, you'd want to be fully aware of the costs. I can imagine unscrupulous airlines taking advantage of someone being refused entry by adding handling fees.
I'm also curious about whether you had a ticket back to France,
Do you know much more about the nationality specifications? I have a vague memory French aren't allowed on US bases here - though I doubt there is any connection.
Oct 31, 2012 10:39 AM
Nov 13, 2012 2:08 AM
5No, we don't have any return ticket.
We bought one way ticket to Japan, and we're working our way from here.
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