A born Jamaican lady, who is also a US citizen was recently prevented from boarding a Southwest flight from the USA to Jamaica because of not having a return ticket to the USA. This lady had traveled from the USA to Jamaica on many occasions on one-way tickets via Southwest and other airlines and it was never an issue. Is Southwest acting on a new policy?

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    Do you also have a Jamaican passport? Without that, it's Jamaica's immigration policy that requires a round trip ticket to enter, not the airline. The airline adheres to a government's entry requirements and will not board a passenger without those (or face penalties, fees and the costs of returning the passenger). – Giorgio Nov 28 '18 at 17:20

Is Southwest acting on a new policy?

I don't know whether Southwest or Jamaica has changed policy recently, but Southwest should be expected to treat someone who shows (only) a US passport as a US citizen. The Jamaican consulate in New York notes that visitors must "be in possession of a return or round trip ticket to another country to which they are admissible."

Now, a Jamaican immigration officer might recognize this traveler as a Jamaican citizen, but it's not reasonable to expect a relatively low-level employee of an airline to reach the same conclusion unless the traveler shows a Jamaican passport. Countries typically fine airlines when a passenger is refused entry unless the airline can show that the passenger presented adequate documents. The amount of the fine is typically in the range of a few thousand US dollars or equivalent. The lack of a round-trip ticket in this case leaves Southwest at risk of a fine.

The obvious advice for the traveler in question is to get a Jamaican passport. If she did in fact have and show a Jamaican passport in this case, then the advice would be to complain to Southwest and seek compensation.

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