I am Indian and have a work visa from Poland. My family was issued Schengen visas. The company I was joining had only booked one way tickets. My new company was planning to request a residence card for my family in Poland. So the Schengen visa for my family was only needed in order for them to enter Poland. After I am issued a residence card, they will be allowed to live with me even after their Schengen visa expires.

At the time of departure from India, Austrain airlines people asked for return tickets for my family. Because they didn't have any, the airline was not going to allow my family to fly. I had to book return tickets for my family in few minutes and due to the time constraint, I booked non-refundable tickets. We do not have any plan to return to India. Finally, my company is not willing to reimburse the return ticket cost.

Was it legal for Austrain airlines to not allow us to fly?
Will it be possible for me to get a refund the return tickets?

2 Answers 2


Having an actual ticket is certainly not required to enter the Schengen area, see Schengen air travel confirmation and private aircraft and Getting a Schengen visa without firm travel plans for all the details.

That said, it's also true that the airline who brought a passenger to a country can be forced to bring the person back to their point of departure or be fined for transporting them without checking their visa and they sometimes err on the side of caution (for them…).

Whether it is legal to refuse to carry you is down to contract law and consumer protection rules. In Austrian's case, the only relevant rule I could find is article 7 of their General Conditions of Carriage

In the reasonable exercise of our discretion, we may refuse to carry you or your Baggage on our flights, provided that we have previously notified you in writing. Under these circumstances you will of course be entitled to a refund.


7.1.7 you do not appear to have valid travel documents, may seek to enter a country which you are only entitled to transit, or for which you do not have valid travel documents, destroy your travel documents during flight or refuse to surrender your travel documents to the flight crew – against receipt – when so requested; or […]

The language is a bit broad and I doubt you would have much luck seeking redress but I don't really know.


As i understand, at the time of departure, you only had the Schengen visa, but not yet the residence card? The tourist Schengen visa requires a return ticket for a valid entry, so in that case the airline was totally right, since they would be responsible for flying you back, if you would have been denied entry to the Schengen area because of the missing return ticket.

  • Thanks for your reply.Yes your understanding is right my family was having schengen visa at the time of departure.
    – Madhur
    Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 14:14
  • But does the reservation of return ticket should not be sufficient. And if any person do not know when he will return in that case what a person do.
    – Madhur
    Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 14:21
  • 1
    The Schengen visa has a certain validity. And you have to leave the country within that validity, otherwise you violate the terms and are illegal in the country. And you can always buy a refundable and rebookable ticket and change the date to the actual return date (or get the return part refunded).
    – dunni
    Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 14:25
  • Thanks for making things clear. I could not book a refundable ticket due to the last movement hassle. My company should have given refundable return tickets for my family. I will disscuss with HR team of here and will try to found a solution.
    – Madhur
    Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 14:35
  • 1
    @dunni Having a return ticket is not required to enter the Schengen area. I can easily imagine that some airlines insist on seeing one or that consulates and border guards would be more suspicious if you can't present one but the rules do not mandate it. For short-stays, you only need to have the means to leave the Schengen area (including by buying a ticket after entering), not to have a ticket when entering. There are also many situations in which entering on a short-stay visa or for a visa-free short stay and applying for a residence permit from within the area is the regular procedure.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 22:17

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