Caution if flying into Thailand from Vietnam

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Pleng
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Caution if flying into Thailand from Vietnam

Post by Pleng » Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:41 pm

I flew into Bangkok from Ho Chi Minh today. At the desk, the Nok Air check in attendant questioned my reasoning for coming to the country and asked me if I had a visa. After confirming that I did have a visa, he checked me in without issues.

Meanwhile, at the desk next to me, another man was trying to check in. He did not have a visa and the check in staff requested proof of an onward flight before they would check him in. He said he didn't have one as he was planning to get the train to Malaysia. The lady at the checkout desk then took his passport to a senior member of staff and quite a heated discussion took place, presumably deciding whether to allow the person to board or not. I don't know what the final outcome was. [edit - my girlfriend has just informed me that she saw the man on the plane, so they evidently did let him check in eventually!]

So if you're travelling from Vietnam, make sure you have a proof of onward journey, or a valid visa (which you'll need proof of an onward journey to obtain...)

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Re: Caution if flying into Thailand from Vietnam

Post by Terry » Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:57 pm

Nothing wrong with the action of the check-in staff. They were simply 'doing their job' and applying the letter of the Thai Law.

Thai Immigration Law requires airline check-in staff to prove that you have a valid visa to enter Thailand or that you must have a return or onward flight already booked.

Trouble is that there are a lot of 'jobsworths' in both HCMC and Hanoi where it has happened to me twice :|
Also once in Hong Kong.

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Re: Caution if flying into Thailand from Vietnam

Post by oakdale160 » Tue Jan 12, 2016 10:33 pm

In all fairness, the airlines are protecting themselves. If they fly ina passenger who is not admitted, the airline has to fly them out again.

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Re: Caution if flying into Thailand from Vietnam

Post by HHCanuck » Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:50 am

I had a similar issue coming from Canada. I was informed that I could not board a flight to Thailand without a VISA or return ticket. The lady at the counter said she would face a $2000 fine if she checked me in. Luckily I had a ticket leaving Thailand to go back to work or I would have been stuck in Canada.

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Re: Caution if flying into Thailand from Vietnam

Post by oakdale160 » Wed Jan 13, 2016 8:27 am

I was in Cambodia for several months. When I tried to return there was only 4 months left before my PP expired, nobody would sell me an air ticket, I had to come back by land. As I had a retrement visa, no problem at border.

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Re: Caution if flying into Thailand from Vietnam

Post by moater » Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:26 am

Just prepare and print a fake airline itinerary (from a different airline!) out of Thailand and all your problems will be gone. No one will question it, including immigration if you are asked.

Back in 1998 I flew into Thailand from the US and I didn't have my fake onward itinerary so they had me sign a release in the case I wouldn't be admitted into the country, stating I would be liable for any expenses. I know of other people who have been forced to buy an onward ticket in the airport in similar situations (some were smart enough to buy fully refundable tickets).

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Re: Caution if flying into Thailand from Vietnam

Post by Jools » Wed Jan 13, 2016 1:58 pm

I flew back from HCMC last Saturday, I had got myself confused with a double entry tourist visa and had missed the valid until date (7th January 2016). At check in for my flight back to Bangkok the girl had a bit of a session about no visa. She took my passport to the end of the check in area and told me to sit and wait. An hour later another girl said they couldnt speak to anyone at Thai Immigration but they would let me on the flight if I signed a waiver form stating I would have to pay for any flight back out of Thailand.

When I went through immigration at Swampy I was told I could only have the 30 day Visa On Arirral. Now looking to get myself all the correct documents to apply for a Non 'O' so I can then extend to a retirement visa.

Any help would be gratefully recieved for the Non 'O'
Play Up Pompey

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Re: Caution if flying into Thailand from Vietnam

Post by wpcoe » Sat Jan 16, 2016 12:14 am

oakdale160 wrote:In all fairness, the airlines are protecting themselves. If they fly ina passenger who is not admitted, the airline has to fly them out again.
Additionally the airline can be subject to some hefty fines by Immigrations.

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Fri Jan 15 2016 1 44 pm

Post by Georgegult » Mon Apr 25, 2016 12:54 am

Doesn't seem to let you get the cheap flights unless both departure and return dates are within the range.... Bummer

We are leaving 11 Jan coming back 16 Feb

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Post by dalmatiandave » Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:57 am

Don't see the problem; airlines doing their job based on the entry criteria for the country they are flying to.

Just recently flew to Philippines, they wanted to see evidence of onward ticket. Check in staff were just doing their job based on criteria for entry into Philippines.

Even if the immigration staff in Philippines or Thailand don't always ask you questions about your visit the fact is those countries have entry requirements. It could also be fact that on landing immigration believe those checks have already been made by the airlines flying visitors in.

Shouldn't worry if you are correctly documented.

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Re: Caution if flying into Thailand from Vietnam

Post by Pleng » Tue Apr 26, 2016 10:11 am

There was no problem. It was just a bit of friendly advice. I wouldn't have thought twice about flying out of Vietnam without a visa or onward ticket if I was only planning to be in Thailand for 30 days. I'm sure there are others who would have also assumed it was a non-issue.

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Re: Caution if flying into Thailand from Vietnam

Post by Ginjaninja » Mon May 02, 2016 4:13 pm

moater wrote:Just prepare and print a fake airline itinerary (from a different airline!) out of Thailand and all your problems will be gone. No one will question it, including immigration if you are asked.
Moater, I would have agreed with you before my recent weekend experience:

Yesterday I escorted my friend to Suvarnabhumi. She was flying to London with Thai airways and had only purchased a one-way ticket due to undecided travel plans (passport complete with 2-year U.K. visa as well as a Schengen visa).

At the Thai Airways desk she was requested to show her return flight which of course was not available. From past experiences I knew it was futile to argue with the guy so we told him we would go get some lunch and book a new flight. So me thinking I was savvy, pulled out my laptop and proceeded to draft a fake itinerary with all the correct numbers, dates, prices, etc. from Skyscanner.
What I didn't change (from one of my old itineraries) was the booking and ticket numbers. I was under the impression, based on a past experience that the airlines couldn't check future bookings. Really shot myself in the foot though when the Thai Airways guy actually contacted Qatar Airlines and queried the flight booking :shock:

We were actually getting quite worried and I thought maybe security would be called however after some A+ acting by myself (fake phone-call included) and a spindle of lies I told the check-in guy that my travel agent had f*cked up and something wrong with my credit-card. Anyway we ended-up booking a new flight (one-way) on eBookers just to get her on the outbound flight.

Fortunately we were at the airport in plenty time or she may well have missed the flight.
I cancelled the eBookers flight later in the day. Cost me £25 but I thought it worth it.

Warning to all.
GN.

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Re: Caution if flying into Thailand from Vietnam

Post by moater » Wed May 04, 2016 1:59 pm

Interesting experience. Glad it worked out, and thanks for sharing. Perhaps something made the Thai airways guy suspicious of her. Was he the same guy that originally requested the return flight? That could explain it.

A few pointers I follow and have not failed me yet:
  • Prepare in advance. Provide proof immediately and less questions will be asked.
  • Check-in during rush time. The airline personnel will want to keep the line moving and do shallow checks only. Some airlines let you check-in online and bypass the desk completely.
  • Make your fake booking look amazing. It should look like it came from the airline's site.
  • Make the fake booking with a low-cost airline that makes telephone queries hard and online confirmations impossible.
  • Make the fake booking a short hop from the destination, not a return. If she was going to the UK, the fake booking should be to France/Ireland/etc.
As far as I know, there are no legal consequences to lying to the airline. The worst they can do is deny boarding. There's no reason to call security unless you are a security threat. Even if they "catch" you, you should be able to board if you fib a little ("oh no, the wife/girlfriend/agent/dog must have cancelled it, I'll go make some angry calls") and later turn up with a real booking, as you've done.

It's definitely a bit riskier than having a real booking, but it beats planning your flights in advance :)

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