We purchased tickets at Air Asia's ticket office in Yangon Myanmar for travel to Australia, with a flight change to New Zealand. As UK passport holders, we were not informed we needed visa's to transit thru Sydney Airport to board our Air New Zealand flight. Upon arriving in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to catch our connecting flight to Sydney, we were refused boarding and given no assistance by Air Asia. We were stranded in KL for 3 days until we could buy new tickets. To date Air Asia has not replied to a single phone call, email, twitter or message. What is the responsibility of the airline in regards to providing visa information? If the Airline refuses to respond and considering, there are several thousand complaints available on the web about Air Asia's lack of customer service, what is one to do?

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    You and only you are responsible for the documents required for travel. It is not the responsibility of the airline, cruise line, hotel, tour operator, travel agent.
    – user13044
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 14:02
  • Thank you for clarifying matters. Ultimately, any business which builds its reputation on price alone without providing critical information to its customers will fail. With the rapidly growing number of complaints about Air Asia's lack of customer service, this process is already underway, so if your pension fund is invested in Air Asia, let the buyer beware !! Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 1:59
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    You will find this same policy with most every airline, they will not voluntarily inform you of visa rules. If you ask an agent directly, they may look it up for you in Timatic, but that is the extent of their involvement. Their only legal responsibility in regard to visas is to the government of the country they are flying to and that responsibility is to make sure you have your documents in order or not board you.
    – user13044
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 4:50
  • I've aways been under the impression that business is about building relationships and satisfying customers. So being allowed to board and then being denied boarding part way thru the journey does not suggest a responsibility to have the correct documents to travel. Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 6:08
  • Air Asia is a point to point carrier, so the agent in RGN is only dealing with the flight to KUL.The agent in KUL deals with the next flight to SYD. That is their business model. Had you researched them before buying, you have notice a huge number of posts on the web about that aspect and its consequences on visa needs. And while yes, building relationships is part of having a successful business, that does not equate to holding someone's hand for the entire process. When you consider there are 190+ countries and 100s of transiting points, the potential visa combos are infinite.
    – user13044
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 7:47

1 Answer 1


No they have no obligation. Visa requirements are highly complicated and depend on many factors, not just which country issued your passport. It is your job as the traveller to understand whatever visa requirements or other restrictions as they apply to you individually.

Incidentally, you did not need a visa if you were arriving on an international flight at Sydney and departing also on an international flight, with less than eight hours in between, under an ordinary UK passport endorsed "British Citizen", and you did not intend to leave the international zone in the airport (for instance to collect bags). If you have a different type of UK passport (such as "British Overseas Citizen" or "British Protected Person") then different restrictions may apply. If your transit actually included domestic travel inside Australia or you needed to recheck your bags, then you could have applied for an evisa (subject to certain requirements) online and this would likely have been approved within a matter of minutes.

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    They were transferring from AirAsia to Air New Zealand. Presuming they had luggage, they would have needed to go airside to collect and re-check their luggage. Thus at least an ETA would have been required.
    – Doc
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 16:17
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    @Doc Excellent point, another complication which is why it would be silly for airlines to take on the responsibility of figuring this all out. A quick check shows that AK only has baggage forwarding agreements with B7, OZ and 9P.
    – Calchas
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 17:37

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