This post describes a service providing a temporary airline ticket that can act as a proof of onward travel, required by many countries. This resource is very useful if you fly internationally on one-way tickets.
Flying on a one-way ticket
Traveling on a one-way flight ticket is getting more and more common.
“What’s wrong with a return ticket?” you ask. Nothing – if your travels are pre-planned in advance and follow a fixed schedule (e.g. for business).
However, these days many people travel without fixed schedule: young people backpacking the world, retirees, part-time expatriates, digital nomads… In a nutshell, serious long-term travelers exploring the world, visiting multiple countries. For them, return tickets are a hassle.
You may not consider return ticket a problem, but have you lately tried to change the return flight? I did, and it was not a good experience. Here is the story.
A few months ago, I had an opportunity to extend my stay abroad and wanted to change the date of my return flight. What I learned was that to alter my $700 return ticket would cost me – wait for it – $900. As the airline agent kept adding various charges, I started silently laughing. What a joke!
Proof of onward travel
Many countries require all temporary visitors to show proof of onward (or return) travel. This is to assure that you will leave their country within the required time.
This rule creates a potential trouble for people flying on one-way tickets. You may be required to show proof of onward travel in order to obtain the visa, enter the country, or even to board the plane. Even if you have a lot of money in the bank and no intention of overstaying your welcome, it does not matter – you must have an onward ticket.
The Best Onward Ticket service
The Best Onward Ticket service reviewed in this post provides such a ticket. It inexpensive ($12) and valid for only two days. It is a fake ticket in a sense that you will not be able to fly on it, but it creates a valid entry in the airline reservation system, for a real flight. You can verify your ticket on the airline website. It will show as a valid ticket when somebody checks it.
You can pick a date of your onward flight. You should choose a date several days after your arrival to make it look legitimate.
What are the drawbacks? First, there is some possibility that the website will turn out to be a scam (as discussed next) and will keep your money without issuing the ticket. Additionally, you have to select the departure airport from a list, so the choice is limited. The only payment accepted is PayPal.
Is it legit or a scam?
This deal seems to be too good to be true. Is it legitimate or a scam? After all, such service at https://flyonward.com/en turned out to be a scam. After a period of operation, the website stopped delivering tickets and kept customers’ money.
From one point of view, the Best Onward Ticket service mimics the behavior of people who make a flight reservation and then cancel it 24 hours later for free – totally legitimate. You could do this yourself. In fact, in the next section, I suggest that you do.
From another, they arguably act in bad will, as they never intended to purchase the airline ticket and instead exploit a loophole in the reservation system.
There are other similar services that provide onward flight ticket. These are:
They are a bit cheaper, but unlike Best Onward Ticket, they generate what amounts to counterfeit tickets. They use real flight data to photoshop a look-alike of a ticket.
Your other options (ones I recommend)
There are other solutions to the problem of providing proof of onward travel.
1. Buy a separate ticket for onward flight and cancel it within 24 hours. Tickets purchased in the U.S. can be by law canceled without charge within 24 hours of booking. The 24-hour cancelation system of some airlines is easier than others, so check your airline beforehand. This is a pretty good option, simple and straightforward. For longer flights (e.g. to Asia), you may not be able to cancel in time.
2. Buy a very cheap ticket for onward flight and later discard it. This option may work well in South East Asia, where some tickets are very inexpensive.
3. Buy a bus ticket out of the country instead of an airline ticket. These are much cheaper. Will it be accepted? Some countries will accept it (e.g. Panama), some will not (e.g. India). Check your destination.
Your other options (ones I do not recommend)
4. Buy a full-fare return ticket that is amendable or (better) cancellable and modify or cancel it later, when your plans change. This ticket is not only prohibitively expensive, to begin with, but changing it is often additional hassle and cost. Obtaining a refund for your fully refundable ticket is not exactly as straightforward as you may think.
5. Photoshop a fake ticket. Use a real ticket as a template and substitute your desired flight data. This is plain cheating and I do not advise nor condone it.
6. Do nothing. The checks are by no means thorough (it depends on the airline and the destination), so you may slip through. However, you risk having to buy a last minute ticket at an exorbitant cost.
So, is the service worth it? In my opinion yes, because it creates an inexpensive solution to a bureaucratic hassle. Therefore, this option belongs in a toolbox of a savvy world traveler.
If you know of a similar service or have found a different solution to this problem, please let me know in comments.