I recently booked a two way flight through Expedia. The flight is from country A to B, both of which I can enter with no problem. Each of the flights has connections. In my first flight I connected in Amsterdam. This went smoothly. In my way back, I had a connection in the US. When I wanted to check in I was told that transits in the USA requires a visa. I tried contacting Expedia while at the airport with no result. I ended up going to the airline ticketing desk and changing my reservation to avoid US. Of course I had to pay about $800 for this change.

Later, I called Expedia and and after good hold time I was able to talk to a supervisor. She told me that I'm responsible to have proper travel documents, I said that I take fully responsibility for my initial and final destinations, but they should take responsibility for the connections as they suggested it.

My question is, am eligible for a compensation? Is it possible to be compensated?

Update: I completely agree that, legally speaking, Expedia is covered. However, from a good business practice perspective, it seems to me that it is a serious flaw to book a flight through a country, outside the traveller's origin and destination, without clearly indicating such possibility. What, for example, if I didn't have money to change my reservation? Many scenarios can go horribly wrong when you thousands of kilometers away from home.

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    Did Expedia show you where you were transfering through? If so, you were accepting their suggestions. (and yes, the USA's rules are a pain for international travellers)
    – CMaster
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 10:23
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    You'd rather they didn't suggest transit locations at all, and just said "Sorry, no direct routes, can't do it"? I'm not saying that the service couldn't be better, I'm just not entirley sure what you expected.
    – CMaster
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 10:38
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    @jak123: I'm pretty sure such a warning was part of their standard conditions of business, which you have clicked "I agree" to at some part during the process. Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 10:52
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    "However, from a good business practice perspective, it seems to me that it is a serious flaw to book a flight through a country, outside the traveller's origin and destination, without clearly indicating such possibility." The itinerary would have been obvious before the ticket was purchased (unless you didn't look), so you would have known you were transiting via the US well in advance of actually travelling. The best they could do is say "You might need a visa. You need to check." which 1. I'm pretty sure their terms and conditions do state somewhere, and 2. You should really already know. Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 14:01
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    Expedia is not very good when it comes to compensation. They try their best to avoid to pay you and make it super hard to get it, even if you were in the right. Avoid.
    – edocetirwi
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 20:36

3 Answers 3


You will probably not like my answer but I believe that Expedia is right. They hold no responsibility for you to be able to enter in a country. There is a simple reason for that. They don't have the capability to check whether you are allowed to enter a country with or without a visa and if you are entitled for such a visa in case one is required. This is really your responsibility.

So in the light of this, they won't compensate you. Indeed, they couldn't really. Expedia just got paid a commission by the airline. So the best they could do is to refund the commission they had. But I doubt that they will do it. And then, you could always ask the airline but I suspect that they will tell you that it was your responsibility and they couldn't do anything about it.

I am really sorry for you because this is a frustrating situation. Have you checked the visa situation for USA? It wasn't possible to obtain a transit visa for you?

  • Thanks for the answer. My only objection is that they ask you about the nationality of your passport, they should give you some hints about it, specially for transits as usually no visa is required. I was not able to get a visa die to the short time.
    – jak123
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 10:26
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    @jak123 Yes I agree with you. In an ideal world, they would have made some suggestions. The issue is that visa requirements are varying a lot by countries depending on the traveller nationality thus making it challenging to maintain...
    – Olielo
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 10:41
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    They do warn you "All travellers wishing to enter or transit through the USA under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) must apply for authorisation to travel using the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA). Please allow sufficient time when making an ESTA application. It is recommended that such an application is made at least 72 hours before departure. For further information please visit the US Department of Homeland Security's website at esta.cbp.dhs.gov"
    – JamesRyan
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 11:13
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    Well, what they could do is to make it clear whether transfer passengers have to go via immigration or not. i.e. on most European airports you don't have to go through immigration if you're transferring to an international/non-Schengen flight, whereas in the US you always have to go through.
    – johannes
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 14:41
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    I am going to disagree with this: (1) the airline somehow figured out the OP needed a visa, why couldn't expedia use the same algorithm, (2) expedia does not really need to figure out if the OP needs a visa to transit through the US, just whether the OP needs a visa to board the plane.
    – emory
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 18:16

I'm sorry to hear about your travel woes but I would imagine they are in the right both legally and business ethically:



You are responsible for ensuring that you meet foreign entry requirements and that your travel documents, such as passports and visas (transit, business, tourist, and otherwise), are in order and any other foreign entry requirements are met. Expedia has no special knowledge regarding foreign entry requirements or travel documents. We urge customers to review travel prohibitions, warnings, announcements, and advisories issued by the relevant governments prior to booking travel to international destinations.

Passport and Visa: You must consult the relevant Embassy or Consulate for this information. Requirements may change and you should check for up-to-date information before booking and departure. We accept no liability if you are refused entry onto a flight or into any country due to your failure to carry the correct and adequate passport, visa, or other travel documents required by any airline, authority, or country, including countries you may just be transiting through. This includes all stops made by the aircraft, even if you do not leave the aircraft or airport.

  • As I said above, I take full responsibility for final destination. For the bus example, I would say my situation is more like I reserved a bus ticket and when I wanted to ride I was told that this bus is for people shorter than 6 ft and you are 6.5 ft, you should have read the fine prints. Does that make sense? P.s. I'm not 6.5.
    – jak123
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 19:29
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    @MonkeyZeus: the point you are missing is that, in most countries, transit does not require immigration. The USA and a few others are the exception, and so it makes a lot of sense for the travel agent (Expedia) to advice the client. Commented Feb 6, 2016 at 2:31
  • I agree that having the right travel documents is absolutely the buyer's responsibility but I don't think the concert analogy is a good one. The asker already has concert tickets; the problem is that the bus goes somewhere else before going to B. Commented Feb 6, 2016 at 7:38
  • Yes, the analogy is false. A better analogy would be going from A to B complete with concert tickets, and when attempting to board the bus being told "But we're going via the zoo. Where are your bananas for the chimps?" Commented Feb 6, 2016 at 9:33

Just to add to the problem.... some airlines have hidden cities in their itinerary. For example... United had a non-stop flight from SGN-EWK...except the plane changed in HKG with 6 hours stopover. The booking engines of some OTA's do not show these hidden city stops. Air Asia from KUL-AKL has a stop in Australia. So it is possible for a passenger to agree to an Expedia ticket that gets them into a problem with immigration or denied boarding as they have stopped/transitted in a restricted country for their passport. Find a good OTA or travel agent who is open and transparent, it will eliminate the 'gotcha' moments of denied boarding.

  • The Op knew there was a US transit involved, they simply completely failed to ensure that they were visa free for that transit - their issue has nothing to do with transparency and everything to do with wanting someone else to take the blame for their failure.
    – user29788
    Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 19:20
  • Sorry Moo missed that point of him knowing there was a stop in the USA. Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 6:33

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