According to the Timatic database, which I access through IATA:

Visitors who are visa exempt but do not hold return/onward tickets could be refused entry.

How often are visitors who are visa exempt but do not hold return/onward tickets refused entry or denied boarding to Thailand? I wonder whether it's unusual to be refused entry to Thailand on the grounds of not having return/onward tickets. I am a French citizen if that matters.

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    I have been to Thailand very many times and I have never been asked to show any tickets. So, I guess that the probability is low but since the consequences could be very bad, I would not recommend doing it. I think that I have sometimes needed to enter my departure flight date and number on a form so if might be necessary to actively lie which could make it worse.
    – badjohn
    Dec 23 '18 at 13:26
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    Also, your appearance may affect the likelihood of bring asked. That I have never been asked is no guarantee that you won't be.
    – badjohn
    Dec 23 '18 at 13:28
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    When this phrase appears in Timatic, airlines generally get very strict about denying boarding. So it should be rare for such a person to make it as far as an airport in Thailand anyway. Dec 23 '18 at 16:53
  • @MichaelHampton thanks I also meant to ask how often it causes boarding to be denied Dec 23 '18 at 18:52
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    @MichaelHampton That's not correct; even for e.g. Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia or Georgia this is listed, but this has never even remotely been brought up by a single check-in agent I've met. I usually fly to these countries on one-way tickets
    – Crazydre
    Dec 23 '18 at 19:41

Since the denial in this case is from the airline flying you into Thailand, it is possible in some cases that additional scrutiny is used for VE entries. The reason for this is because if you are denied entry, the same airline you landed with is obligated to take you back (at their own expense). So it's nothing personal if they are trying to cover their liability a little.

Now as to whether or not Thailand immigration will actually refuse entry simply because of no onwards travel proof (VE entry, first time visit), it is pretty rare. More likely they would ask to see financial proof: 10k or 20k THB equivalent cash or travellers cheques. And even that is rare also.

I said rare, i didn't say it could never happen (being asked to see onwards travel or financial proof by immigration officer; being denied entry on aircraft because of no POOT).

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