I am flying from the USA to Switzerland with a one way ticket. I will also be flying from Switzerland to Spain and be traveling around in Europe but I do not have a return ticket because I am not sure from which country I will be departing from. Would this be an issue for the airlines?

I am flying through American Airlines and Iberia.

  • Beware that many countries require proof of ongoing travel to issue a tourist (or other) visa. I don't know if that's the case for Schengen with US citizenship. Also, it may be cheaper to book a flexible return than two singles. Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 21:44
  • This varies mostly by airline, departure airport, and destination. I was asked to show an onward ticket to board an Air Asia flight from Sydney to Malaysia one-way flight. But I was not asked show one when flying one-way from Istanbul to Seoul on Korean or from Taipei to Okinawa on Peach. Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 5:07
  • Yes, it could be, it's one of the things required to enter the Schengen area as a visitor, see travel.stackexchange.com/questions/22065/…
    – Relaxed
    Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 9:13
  • Do you have a ticket from Switzerland to Spain? Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 12:46
  • What is your citizenship? Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 2:37

3 Answers 3


When entering the Schengen area as a non-EEA citizen, you do not need proof of onward travel, but proof of "means of subsistence ... for the return to your country of origin or transit to a third country into which you are certain to be admitted" (Schengen Borders Code, Article 5). An onward or return ticket would of course also fulfill this requirement, but money to buy a ticket after entering the Schengen area is also enough.

As others have suggested, it may however be a good idea to check with the airline if they have additional requirements.


Arriving in a country for a "visit" without a return (or ongoing) ticket usually raises the suspicion of the immigration officers. They may think that you are not actually intending to leave. The airlines are responsible for your return transport if you are refused entry into a country, so the airline has interest in avoiding you getting refused entry at the destination. Therefore, the airline might require that you have a return or ongoing ticket before boarding your flight.

At this point you should call your airline and confirm that your eligibility to board the plane. If they require that you purchase another ticket, you can buy a fully-refundable future ticket and then refund it later (after your flight). I've had to do this once before and if you have sufficient room on a credit card, it's not a big deal.

  • 2
    Since you are flying into a Schengen you will need to show a ticket out of Schengen (if you are asked for proof). The UK, Turkey, or a Balkan country seem like the closest off the top of my head. Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 5:13
  • @hippitrail: That is actually wrong. You do not need an onward ticket to enter the Schengen area. Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 15:13
  • Be careful when buying "refundable" tickets. Getting the refund can be really hard for some companies. I prefer to buy a cheap ticket with cheap airlines when required.
    – mrmuggles
    Commented May 3, 2014 at 15:17
  • My 'funny' story on a refundable ticket bought in this situation was I paid X GBP and British Airways issued a refund for X USD. Ha-ha. Used credit card chargeback procedure to get the difference. And BA charged it again. So I charged it back again and wrote BA a rather nasty letter suggesting the second charge was fraud. Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 18:16

The airlines will not care. The officials in the country of arrival, however, may.

I have done this twice going to Europe. When you enter, the officials want to know how long you will be "in [their country]". Answer truthfully, which in your case must be a few weeks or so.

The only time I had trouble was when, cycling to Canada, I said "I don't know how long I'll be here." Obviously a poor answer.

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