Due to a recent air force dog fight between India & Pakistan few weeks back, Swiss Air has been avoiding the Pakistani airspace & that has been causing delays for both arrivals & departures. My arrival in India was quite late & looks like my departure from India would be late too. Flight LX 147 for those who are interested.

I have a connection from Zurich to Toronto via flight AC 879 & have a layover of about 3 hours. I have been tracking LX 147 almost regularly & from the looks of it, there are high chances of me missing the connection.

I know it will be Airline's responsibility & they will rebook me on a next flight but in case I need to stay overnight, what would happen then? Would I get a conditional visa to stay there by the authorities?

Also, I should mention that I am a Permanent Resident of Canada & I am an Indian citizen. Moreover, the booking is on single ticket.

  • Just to clarify...You are travelling India-ZRH-Toronto on LX-147 and AC-879 and are worried that due to late departure of LX-147 from India (due to late arrival of inbound flight) you might miss the outbound to Toronto. Is that right? You should include information about your nationality and if the booking is on a single ticket.
    – RedBaron
    Apr 26, 2019 at 6:53
  • @RedBaron Yes, you assumed correctly. I just added that information. Apr 26, 2019 at 7:13
  • 4
    There is a transit hotel in ZRH which I believe is airside (it’s not really clear from the description). If that is the case they can book a room for you there. Another option is for them to reroute you, either for just the second flight, or even from end to end, if they are confident you won’t make it. It might be cheaper for them. Probably best if you contact them in advance or arrive very early at the airport to have the widest choice of options.
    – jcaron
    Apr 26, 2019 at 7:49
  • The Transit hotel is indeed airside. If possible Swiss will put you up there. Aug 19, 2019 at 21:12

1 Answer 1


First of all, airlines to their utmost best to ensure that they do not have passengers who need visa but do not have them.
If an airline notice you do not have a needed visa before you enter the plane, they might not transport you at all, or if it is because the travel is re-routed, they might re-route you again, so you are not in the plane.

But if a plane is rerouted and lands at an unexpected airport the situation will depend on the airport and its facilities. And it depends on the country the airport is in, as some countries have a more strict set of rules than other countries.

If an airport has an air-side area that stays open overnight, with or without a hotel, the passenger is likely to be confined to that area or that hotel.

If there is no air-side place, or if the country is happy to allow more freedom of movement, often the passenger without the visa is given a temporary visa for that day, often with a location restriction that might keep the passenger from leaving the airports city, and a limited time that would be enough for a flight the next day.
I have heard of people who got a series of these visa, one day at a time till the weather changed enough for flights to leave.

In some (extreme) cases those passengers who do not have visa are held in a small area, with only the minimum comforts, sometimes a real prison cell, other times a room otherwise used for interviews. There they will get food and drinks and (if staying overnight) can get some sleep. If the people without a visa are hold like this, they will be escorted whenever they need to leave this area. (Sometimes for bathroom use already, other times only when arriving and leaving.)

I do not know what you will get in Zurich but an air-side hotel is available and I would not be surprised if you do get the option to stay overnight there, or spend a long daytime layover.

If it is seen as likely that you need to stay longer in Zurich than your visa situation allows, you may be re-routed by the airline or even be re-routed via other airlines so you will not have to have a layover or long layover in a country where you (would) need visa.

In any case, when you travel on a single ticket and have the right visa when you come to the first airport, the airline will make sure you can continue your journey, to the original destination country, (and if possible the same airport,) for which you do have visa.

No sources, this is what I have learned over the years. (Aided by the comments on the question.)

  • There is a post somewhere on this site about getting stranded overnight somewhere -- possibly China -- and being escorted to an off-site hotel by immigration officials, who escorted them back for their flight the next day. Aug 21, 2019 at 2:48
  • @RoddyoftheFrozenPeas this is common in china yes, if the airport don’t have a hotel inside Aug 24, 2019 at 23:24

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