This article covers the subject of Return and Onward Travel Flight bookings, why you need them and how to get them without paying full price for a return flight ticket!
If you already know about Onward Flight Bookings and you are ready to book one, go straight to our Rent-a-Flight booking site!
What are Onward Travel Flight Bookings?
Onward or return flight bookings are required for you to board your outbound flight!
Have you ever arrived to check in for your flight, only to be told that they won’t allow you to because you don’t have a return or onward ticket? Ouch! More and more countries now require proof that you have a return or onward flight booked out of the destination country before you will be allowed to check in. This is often regardless of whether you plan to travel to your next destination by land, they just don’t care about that most of the time!
Don’t let this happen to you!
I once arrived at an airport to catch my flight from Italy to Panama, after which I would travel by land and sea to Colombia. I was refused check-in because I didn’t have any proof of onward travel. What did I do? I had to pay full price for a return flight that I didn’t need and hope that I could refund it later, minus a cancellation fee of course.
Why do we Need Return or Onward Flight Bookings?
If you are planning to travel by plane to another country, but you plan to leave that country by another means – backpacking and crossing the border by land for example – then you are going to have to prove to the check-in staff that you are going to leave the country at the end of your time there. Sometimes the rule is, “Passenger is advised to show proof of onward or return travel,” but often it is, “Passenger must show proof of onward or return travel.” During my incident in Italy, the lady on the check-in counter actually showed me her screen!
Don’t Shoot the Messenger!
It’s not their fault; they are bound by very strict regulations and can be fined a huge amount of money for not following them. It is always our responsibility as travelers to know the rules, even if we don’t agree with them.
What is the Best Solution to Return or Onward Flight Bookings?
What you really need is a genuine flight reservation, with a valid booking reference, which shows that you will fly out of the country at the end of your stay. It doesn’t matter if that flight is back to your country of origin or two another country altogether, it just needs to be out of the first country!
Oh yeah, you don’t want to pay the full ticket price either!
Rent-a-Flight is a temporary flight reservation, with a genuine booking reference that can be checked on the airline website. It’s a temporary booking because as the date of the flight nears, unpaid reservations will be canceled automatically and sold to paying customers.
Only licensed travel companies can make these reservations and most travel agencies won’t do them unless you actually plan on paying for the full flight.
How much does it cost?
It only costs 30 dollars per flight booking. As soon as the fee is paid, you will receive a confirmation email and our travel partner will make the reservation and you will receive a Booking Code within 24 hours. This booking code can be entered on the airline website, along with your name under Manage my Bookings, just like a full ticket purchase.
The reservation will be held for up to 3 weeks, depending on how close to the flight date you are, so make the booking a week or so before you are due to fly to give yourself plenty of time.
The reservation will be canceled automatically, so you won’t have to do a thing!
How long does it take?
It takes up to 24 hours to process your request once payment has been made. This is simply because your reservation is made by a real-life human, who is also subject to worldwide time differences… and sleep! It’s usually much less than 24 hours, however.
What else can I use Rent-a-Flight for?
Visa Applications! Rent-a-Flight is extremely useful when you need to show proof of your travel plans, without paying for a full ticket. Visa applications are one very good example of this. Some visa applications, such as the Schengen, specifically require this type of confirmed flight reservation as part of the application process. They do this because they understand that you cannot pay full price for flights before you know your visa has been approved, but they still need to see a formal booking.
Why can’t I just book a refundable ticket?
You can, there is nothing stopping you from doing that. Just be very sure to read all of the fine print of the cancellation and refund policy. On some flights, the cancellation fees can outweigh the cost of the original ticket, and refunds are sometimes only given in the form of credit for future flights. If you do find a flight that allows free cancellation, then make sure to put several reminders in your calendar, because there are deadlines for cancellation and refunds and they will not budge if you miss it!
Who are you?!
That’s a very good question! We are Kach and Jonathan Howe of Two Monkeys Travel Group and MrandMrsHowe.com. We are two long-term travellers just like you. We started travelling together in 2013 after meeting on the road, bought our own live-aboard sailboat in 2017 and have been cruising the Caribbean for the past year and a half. Now we are selling the boat and moving over to Europe to start a new adventure. So you see, we came up with this service to provide a solution to a challenge that we had to deal with ourselves multiple times!
Is this all Legal?!
Yes, it is! Licensed travel agencies are authorised to make these reservations directly with the airline. That is why most embassies actually require these bookings for proof of your travel plans in your visa applications, rather than a fully-paid ticket!
Are you ready to book your Onward Flight Reservation? Go straight to our Rent-a-Flight booking page.
Important disclaimer – This service is intended to be used by travelers who need to show proof of their travel plans for the purpose of visa applications and/or onward travel. This service is not to be used as part of any plan to overstay a visa or to stay/work in any country illegally.
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