I booked a flight for myself using my virtual credit card. It is a totally legit VISA card to my name from a bank in the departure country. However, it is totally virtual.

Now, after the payment, there is a message from the airline (Laos airlines) that says that I must present the physical credit card in order to check-in. However, I do not have any physical credit card, as it is a virtual one.

I contacted the bank and they said they are sorry and they cannot provide any document to the airline proving that I am the owner of the card.

The airline said they are sorry, if I will not present the card at the counter I cannot check-in. They also refused to reimburse me the flight so that I could buy it with another card (physical).

Do you have any ideas on how to go ahead?

  • 1
    Not the same. The question you referenced is about in general if it is a good practice or not to use virtual credit cards. My question is very different: I used a virtual credit card and now I am in trouble, so what could I do to solve that issue? Related yes but not the same, right?
    – Traveller
    May 3, 2018 at 8:42
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    @Traveller Sometimes online airline bookings give a 24hour fee-free cancellation period, if that applies to your booking and you’re within the timeframe you could cancel and rebook with a physical credit card. Or ask your virtual card company if you can raise a disputed transaction claim as you won’t be able to receive the goods you’ve paid for.
    – Traveller
    May 3, 2018 at 8:53
  • 1
    Thank you for the tip. Yes I know with many airlines it's easy to handle cancellation. However with Lao Airlines communication is really limited. I am still texting them but so far seems no solution.
    – Traveller
    May 3, 2018 at 9:00
  • 1
    Where did you book your ticket? It is not uncommon that airlines and hotels require a physical card to be presented when checking in (fraud prevention) and if you book on the Lao Airline site, they state this fact pretty obviously on each single page throughout the booking process. May 3, 2018 at 10:04
  • 3
    Definitely Dispute this with your Card provider
    – Crazydre
    May 8, 2018 at 12:28

2 Answers 2


Call your credit card and have them force a refund, as you bought a ticket but will not be able to use it for travel. Then, buy it with your real credit card.


You can print out the receipt of your E-Ticket that was sent to you by email and present it at the Check-In counter in addition to your Passport. This is a valid procedure as per the airline’s website.

Source 1:

You should carry your traditional paper ticket or Itinerary Receipt (or E-ticket) at all times for both international and domestic flights.

Source 2:

How do I use my e-tickets? Present your printed e-tickets at Check in Lao Airlines Counter at airport for each flight.

That being said – the reason the airline requires you to present the credit card is an additional safety measure to ensure you are the rightful owner of it.

Since the name on the credit card is your own you can proove ownership of this card by presenting your passport and there is no reason not to accept you for travel, unless the airline has a written policy that denies electronic credit cards. Even in this unlikely case though they would have to accept you for travel because it is not your fault if their payment system accepts a form of payment that goes against airline policy.

In sum: The airline has accepted your payment, which makes it valid. Print out your confirmation email with the E-Ticket no. on it and present it during Check-In along with your passport and you are good to go. Safe travels!

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