So I had a trip planned to Tokyo, Japan for about 8 days.

I'm a British Citizen and unfortunately and also very stupidly didn't realise I needed a Visa to enter the country. I was positive that nothing was required through reading through the UK Govt site, however reading it now it does state that a Visa is required which I take full accountability for.

My issue is that the Airline I booked with (Etihad) failed to ask me for this at both the UK and Abu Dhabi where I had a layover and let me board both Aircrafts.

What's the best way if possible for me to go ahead and get a full refund for my troubles or at the bare minimum get my trip rebooked for a future date.

I also do have travel insurance.

  • 4
    I did ask them when I was there and immediately was shut down. It was required upon arrival, I was very honest about the situation and came across very genuine. I'm just more annoyed about the airline and basically had travelled across the whole globe due to an incompetent airline. I just feel like within 2 countries someone should have stopped me or at the very least made me aware.
    – Yas
    Commented Oct 7, 2022 at 15:20
  • 9
    @Yas Yes. Usually airline catches these types of things. They made a mistake and they paid for it by bearing cost to repatriate you and pay the fine imposed by Japan. Commented Oct 7, 2022 at 15:23
  • 19
    It’s unlikely you will get a refund: the airline provided you with exactly what it promised: transport to your destination. The airline is not responsible for your entry in Japan and never promised their airfare would guarantee entry. Commented Oct 7, 2022 at 21:50
  • 26
    You "take full accountability" but want a "full refund"?
    – ceejayoz
    Commented Oct 8, 2022 at 15:15
  • 7
    Not only will they not give you anything, it's somewhat likely that they will seek a refund from you (for the cost of flying you home and/or for the fine they paid to Japan for incorrectly flying you there).
    – Kevin
    Commented Oct 8, 2022 at 23:10

1 Answer 1


As a general practice, making sure you are admissible in destination country is your responsibility. Airlines usually verify closely, as they have to transport you back to your origin (or your home country) and may have to pay a fine, as they allowed passenger without proper documents. They obviously made a mistake here. But, its ultimately your responsibility and airline does not owe you anything.

For travel insurance, it can vary. But not securing proper documents is still your problem and a situation that's totally within your control. Some insurance may accept a claim, but mostly your are out of luck on this.

Chalk it up as a learning opportunity and make sure you double check the visa requirements and documents needed for admission, even before booking the ticket.

  • 34
    @Yas You are trying to blame the airline here for your mistake and wrongdoing. Being detained and deported under surveillance is a perfectly normal and regular reaction if you try to seek entry to a country without the proper credentials. The Japanese government has not done you anything wrong and neither has the airline. The airline failed to do their obligation towards the Japenese government (make sure that you are entitled to enter Japan to allow you to board) and they have probably been fined for that mistake. They did not do anything wrong to you. Commented Oct 7, 2022 at 15:43
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    @Yas This is just a fact of the way people are treated when they are denied entry. Our (UK) government does exactly the same. It's an upsetting experience but ultimately no one else is at financial fault for it.
    – MJeffryes
    Commented Oct 7, 2022 at 16:29
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    Actually, not only does the airline owe the passenger nothing, many airlines can even reclaim from the passenger any fines they had to pay and all associated costs (including the return flight, which is not the flight originally booked). The carrier’s T&Cs will tell you that.
    – jcaron
    Commented Oct 7, 2022 at 17:23
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    @jcaron forget T&Cs, its part of the ICAO rules, so all airlines can recover their transportation costs for removing inadmissible persons - icao.int/WACAF/Documents/Meetings/2018/FAL-IMPLEMENTATION/… Chapter 5, paragraph 5.10
    – user29788
    Commented Oct 8, 2022 at 7:58
  • 5
    For the first time in my life I was detained and was made to feel like an absolute criminal... I am truly sorry you endured that horrible experience, which I have also experienced multiple times (for other reasons). The silver lining, hopefully, is that by experiencing this pain firsthand, you will develop even more compassion for people who deal with this type of pain on a daily basis. Commented Oct 9, 2022 at 5:30

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