Some domestic flights (e.g. to remote islands like Australia's Christmas Island, or to exclaves like Alaska) occasionally have to divert due to weather or mechanical issues to a diversion airport that is outside the country of origin.

Over at Flight diversion + visa issues the more general question of what happens when you divert to an unexpected country is discussed, but the discussion there seems to assume that we're talking about an international flight that lands in a third country and just need to arrange an emergency visa. In that case, passengers will have gone through appropriate outbound immigration clearance in the country of origin and will have international travel documents with them.

On the other hand, if it's a domestic flight that has diverted, some passengers may not have any ID apart from what's necessary to board a domestic flight, and they won't have been recorded as having cleared outbound immigration and left the country of origin either. And I'm sure there's other differences in how domestic vs international flights operate that I'm not aware of.

Does anything happen differently in this scenario versus diverting to a 3rd country on an international flight?

  • Keep in mind that the airline and the will work hard to get people out as quickly as possible so it's unlikely to be more than 24 hours. In China, they just bussed us to a hotel where we had to stay inside until the plane was ready to leave.
    – Hilmar
    Commented Dec 7, 2020 at 12:14