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Border Issues with One Way Ticket to Europe?

Has anyone had issues entering Europe without having purchased a return ticket?

I realize it will probably cost more to book a returning flight in Europe on a shorter notice but I really want to have flexibility when it comes to WHEN and where I come back from. I initially had a 3 week trip planned in May 2020 with
DFW-London flight
Paris-Amsterdam-Gimmelwald/Murren-Munich-
Berlin-DFW flight

Right now though the Netherlands and Germany are requiring negative Covid tests for entry and I didn't see any distinction for intra-Europe travel or flights from outside the EU.

Posted by
5848 posts

In the manifest information provided to immigration by the airlines, one factor is passengers with no further flights (with that airline)/

With the UK, showing exit from the country, a train ticket on Eurostar for example, would answer their query, being elusive and indefinite would not. Entry into the Schengen area, could prompt the same questions.

As for testing, each country, five of them by my count, will have their own rules, they apply whether you arrive by plane, boat, train, or car. They can also be interpreted to apply going back 10 days or so...so flying to one country, then another, does not wipe thing clean, rules of the country you are arriving from, plus any others you have been in may apply. Plus, per your itinerary above, a London/Paris flight, for example, is not intra-EU, or intra-Schengen. Further, testing requirements for entry are by country, not dependent on whether you are arriving from the EU or not.

All this of course is just talking about entry, once there, other Covid requirements apply. This can include testing (the Netherlands required all non-residents without an EU covid pass to test daily for restaurant and museum entrance), showing proof of vaccination to enter certain places, obtaining a QR code, all variations based what that country decided.

Posted by
1348 posts

Since you reference flying into UK, yes, we had to show our return ticket as proof of our leaving date when we flew into Manchester. That was pre-pandemic.

Posted by
1068 posts

I have read some travel blogs regarding this. Most say that it is mostly the airline that will give you trouble. They don't want to have to fly you back to the states for free if you get turned away from immigration. Some suggested buying a refundable return ticket and then getting your money back after you land and are granted admission to your destination country. I travel with Delta and they allow free changes now. I would go ahead and book a return ticket, cancel after landing, get credit and then use it for a return flight once I was ready to book.

Good luck, let us know what you decide to do and how it turns out, please.

Posted by
159 posts

Prepandemic we flew cheap Norwegian Airlines with one way tickets from Orlando to Gatwick several times. Only once did the UK Custom’s official ask to see proof of onward travel. Fortunately we did have a one way Easy Jet ticket to Amsterdam to show. Often flew into Schengen Zone countries with a one way ticket with out questioning.

Posted by
1348 posts

To clarify my post, it was the border control people at Manchester who asked for proof of exit. We were given quite the grilling, even asked our income.

Posted by
720 posts

An option to jump this hurdle is to book the return leg as a full fare, fully refundable, one-way ticket. (Might have to call the airline—the fares online are cheaper and have restrictions on refunds). Later you can book & buy whatever return you want, and simply cancel the original for a full refund.

This does require the ability to tie up the cash/credit on that ticket while the airline holds the money.

Posted by
226 posts

Buy the expensive fully refundable fare and cancel it later. Consider it savings in the “bank of airlines”

Posted by
5848 posts

As another poster alluded to, check with your airline for their current change/refund policy. Things have changed enough with Covid that old pre-pandemic logic does not apply.

I assume you will be returning from Europe to the US, just that the date is in question. In that case, fully refundable is really not necessary, you are more concerned with change fees. If you can change your return date without incurring a fee, only needing to pay the difference in ticket price, then that is your best option and solves any questions about your return. Delta for example has eliminated change fees if you at least book Main Cabin (forgo Basic Economy). American, which might work better for a DFW departure says they have no change fees on "Select International Long Haul" flights, so you would need to look into it.

A refundable flight (and the cost) is only valuable if you want to cancel the flight all together and get cash back (as opposed to a credit). You would only be doing that if you were looking to stay indefinitely (beyond your 90 days)

Posted by
720 posts

Paul's advice above calls for some important caveats. Yes, the elimination of change fees has been a welcome chance for flexibility. But most tickets won't allow changes at all after travel has begun. So once you take the outbound, you're stuck with the return as booked. If a ticket does allow for such a change, that fare difference could be significant—being committed to that carrier means you aren't free to choose cheaper options that may exist. (Though, short notice, one-way might not offer truly cheap anywhere.)

Posted by
88 posts

Just a comment. To the original poster, Germany does not now require a negative covid test to enter for foreigners.

Posted by
3655 posts

Most say that it is mostly the airline that will give you trouble.

Yes can confirm that this has happened.

When looking for an easily refundable full fare ticket, I found the SAS website to be the easiest and quickest to book fully refundable tickets, and get a quick and easy refund. You may even make money on it, depending upon the direction the exchange rates go.

Posted by
100 posts

I too hate being pinned in to a specific date and place for departure. Yes it can be a problem at immigration without some proof of onward travel in some countries. There are companies out there just for that situation. I’ve used onward travel.com. For as little as $12 they provide you with an onward flight reservation by a registered travel agent with a PNR (passenger name record) that can provide proof of onward travel not only for immigration but for Visa applications. Cheaper than buying a refundable ticket.