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One Way Ticket to Europe and Onward Airline Ticket Requirements

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I currently have a one-way ticket to Rome, and I’m going through London to get there. Do you think I will have trouble going through the UK if I only have a one-way ticket?

Hello  David,

This is a tricky proposition. It is not my impression that you will be given any problems in London — you are just passing through, your passport and air ticket should only be checked for security purposes if you are connecting flights  — but you may have difficulty boarding the flight in the USA.

I have not yet had much of a problem with this — I have left the USA with one way tickets more times than I care to count — but I know of many other people who have been hassled and forced to purchase a return or onward ticket before departing.

This is also something I expect to see more of as airlines search for ways to squeeze every last penny out of their passengers. The entrance rules of many countries state that you need proof of onward travel — but this is hardly ever enforced. This seems as if this could be used as a good “hands clean” way for airlines to sell two tickets rather than one to passengers with unspecified travel plans.

“It is the regulations of the country, it has nothing to do with us, you need to buy another ticket,” I can imagine the airlines saying in justification.

I have not yet had a problem getting on flights to Europe with a one-way ticket, but it is a reasonable possibility. Speaking of probability, you probably will not be asked for proof of onward travel, depending on the airline you are traveling with (I found that you have a better chance of not being asked for proof of onward travel with airlines based in the region you are traveling to). You have a couple options to safeguard yourself if you do not want to test probability.

  1. Just purchase a super cheap budget airline ticket from a Schengen country to a non-Schengen country departing three months from the time you board your flight for Europe. Seriously, if you book this far in advance you could get a ticket to somewhere outside the Schengen zone for under $30. Then if you decide to take the flight, take it; if not, you only lost a few ten dollar bills.

    The amount that you will pay doing this would probably be far less than if you are refused boarding and forced to purchase at the airport.

  2. Print up a fake itinerary.
    • How to get by onward ticket requirements
    • Travel Tip #2- Onward Tickets for One-Way Travelers


I hope this helps,

Wade

—————-

Original question about traveling to Europe on a one way ticket

Hi Wade,

Thanks for your response. I currently have a one-way ticket to Rome, and I’m going through London to get there. Do you think I will have trouble going through the UK if I only have a one-way ticket? I have heard that the UK authorities are more tough. Or do you think they will just let me get onto the plane for Rome with no problem?
Thanks again,

David

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Filed under: Air Travel, Transportation, Travel Help

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3048 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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