10

I'm an Indian. I'm planning to book a journey from Mumbai to Johannesburg, South Africa and back (conference visa). I looked at refundable tickets, while they are priced higher, they give you half your money back, for instance if the to and fro flight costs INR 40,000 they give you INR 20,000 . But this is if you are cancelling for some reason.

What if you have to cancel because your visa application or the transit visa application got rejected. As far as I understand the procedure is :-

a. Buy airline tickets

b. Apply for Visa

c. Wait between 1-6 weeks to get update about your visa application, for both visa and transit visa (although transit visa should be shorter I guess.)

d. If visa is granted then move on to planning other things about the trip.

Now in case, if the visa application fails (for whatever reason ) what recourse does the traveler have ?

Are there any airlines who are better understanding than others about this situation ?

In non-refundable tickets, I guess that all is lost or is there some way to save money there too.

Lastly, I read travel insurance can help in this case. How does travel insurance help in the above scenario ?

Edit :- One of the pre-conditions of getting the visa is

Proof of a Valid Return or onward ticket or purchase of ticket. This is from http://www.vfsglobal.com/southafrica/india/pdf/Form_DHA_84_230216.pdf

and

http://www.vfsglobal.com/southafrica/india/pdf/Checklist_230216.pdf

  • Buy a refundable ticket , get visa, refund ticket, get a non-refundable ticket? – chx May 12 '16 at 5:16
  • 1
    Klm does this, and I had personal experience with them about this. Nonrefundable flight, but refunded completely after uploading official visa refusal letter. Also, emirates have pretty low cancellation fees (300 riyals for all ticket types, be it 1000 or 2000 or 3000 or 4000) – DavChana May 12 '16 at 17:12
18

Here are some airlines that mention refund upon visa refusal:

Looking at the fare rules for a sample of airlines, I see the following text in a sample Air China fare regarding refunds:

WAIVED FOR TICKETS ISSUED AND ORIGINATING IN CHINA IN CASE OF REJECTION OF VISA.

And a sample Qantas fare:

REFUSAL OF VISA - FULL REFUND PERMITTED IN CASE OF REFUSAL OF A TRAVEL DOCUMENT TO THE PASSENGER/ ACCOMPANYING PASSENGER AS EVIDENCED BY WRITTEN ADVICE FROM THE APPROPRIATE GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY.

Alternatively, you may consider investigating insurance that covers costs if a visa is denied. This may be due to a specific insurance rule, or by obtaining coverage with cancellation for any reason.

As mentioned earlier and used by other posters elsewhere, you may consider just buying fully refundable tickets, obtaining the visa, refunding them and then buying cheaper tickets as necessary.

Edit: I investigated a sample date between BOM and JNB and here are the results from looking at the fare rules on a sample ticket. Note, not every ticket on every airline would have the same rules, so this would need to be investigated in your particular case:

  • KQ no
  • ET no
  • EK yes: FULL REFUND PERMITTED BEFORE DEPARTURE IN CASE OF REJECTION OF VISA.EMBASSY STATEMENT REQUIRED.
  • EY no
  • HM no
  • QR yes: FULL REFUND PERMITTED BEFORE DEPARTURE IN CASE OF REJECTION OF VISA.
  • 9W no
  • MS yes: FULL REFUND PERMITTED BEFORE DEPARTURE IN CASE OF REJECTION OF VISA.
  • AF no
  • KLM no
  • LH yes: FULL REFUND PERMITTED BEFORE DEPARTURE IN CASE OF REJECTION OF VISA. EMBASSY STATEMENT REQUIRED.
  • TK no

Edit to explain how to reproduce above:

  1. Go to matrix, enter BOM in departing from, and JNB in destination.
  2. Put in travel dates. I entered 18 June - 25 June.
  3. Leave other fields as default and click on search.
  4. Click on a price under the airline selection in "Choose your flights". This will restrict the selection of flights to the airline chosen, e.g. QR Qatar.
  5. Click on the price field and it will move to the Itinerary details screen
  6. Click on the rules link in How to buy this ticket
  7. In the Fare rules & restrictions screen, search the text for the word "visa" For QR:

      FULL REFUND PERMITTED BEFORE DEPARTURE IN CASE OF
      REJECTION OF VISA. WAIVERS HAS TO BE PROCESSED
      THROUGH QR OFFICES ONLY AND EMBASSY STATEMENT HAS
      TO BE PRESENTED AS SUPPORTING DOCUMENT
    
  • QR yes: Which airlines is that ? if it's Qatar Airways, then please share where you found those details. – shirish May 19 '16 at 0:13
  • Yes, QR is Qatar. I edited the answer to show how to reproduce. – Berwyn May 19 '16 at 4:49
0

There are some airlines that offer refunds based on visa status; however you may be able to book a fare that is fully refundable.

Generally, the cheapest fares have the most restrictions. The most you can do if you end up purchasing such a fare and the visa is rejected is to pay to have the ticket transferred into someone else's name. There is usually a cost for this.

Are you sure the embassy requires a fully paid ticket? I only know of the Malaysian Embassy that requires a fully paid ticket. Schengen visas require a reservation only, so does the US.

The South African Embassy in Kuwait requires:

Copy of a valid return air flight ticket or proof of reservation thereof (for all legs of travel)

You'll notice that the same is mentioned in your quote:

Proof of a Valid Return or onward ticket or purchase of ticket.

Your best friend here is a travel agent, they can provide you a confirmed reservation which is all that is required.

  • 3
    Your first statement is worng. There ARE airlines that offer refunds, such as Qantas who's fare rules normally include "REFUSAL OF VISA - FULL REFUND PERMITTED IN CASE OF REFUSAL OF A TRAVEL DOCUMENT TO THE PASSENGER/ACCOMPANYING PASSENGER...". There may not be such airlines that the OP can use, but as a generic statement your comment is wrong. – Doc May 12 '16 at 5:27
  • @Doc Right. I knew there was an airline which did this, but I could not remember which one. – Michael Hampton May 12 '16 at 9:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.