Last year I was flying to Brazil with Condor. I don't need a visa, if I stay in Brazil below 90 days (regardless if tourism or business).

The check-in clerk asked me about visa or return ticket. I didn't have return ticket, because at that time I didn't plan my whole trip and have not decided where to go next. I was told, that without a visa or a valid ticket out of Brazil I will not be allowed to check in.
(There was enough time, so I just went and bought cheapest ticket to Montevideo, but that's not important here.)

My question is: did the person have right to deny checking me in? Is this anywhere in regulations or law?

  • 1
    I have the same problem. I will fly with Condor and I only have a one way flight from Frankfurt to Recife in 2 weeks. What can I do now?
    – user3727
    Commented Dec 10, 2012 at 17:11
  • @Peter - welcome to Travel.SE. You added this as an answer, which is not how the site works - please see the faq. If you'd like to ask a question, please click "Ask Question" at the top right, and we'll be happy to help.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Dec 10, 2012 at 17:46

4 Answers 4


First of all, an airline is not required to check anybody in. By purchasing a ticket, you have entered into an agreement with a private company, and assented to all the terms of their Contract of Carriage. Written into every airline's CoC will be a clause allowing them to deny you passage under various conditions. You may be entitled to be rebooked for a later flight, to be endorsed to another carrier, or to be issued a refund, depending on the circumstances. But any airline can deny you a check-in or boarding for just about any reason.

Second, many countries, presumably Brazil among them, require that you have arrangements for onward or return travel before you are admitted. They can hold airlines responsible for enforcing this and other entry restrictions; if you arrived in Brazil and were denied entry for any reason, the airline would not only be obligated to you return you to your point of origin on the next flight out— possibly displacing a paid passenger— but they would suffer fines or other penalties.

Perhaps another airline or another agent would not have raised a fuss, but they are not in the wrong in this case. A workaround is to purchase refundable tickets for onward transportation which you can then change at your convenience.


I have contacted Brazilian consulate with this question. I was informed, that one of requirements to enter Brazil is to have a valid ticket to and from Brazil.

  • 3
    The question is not about whether such a requirement exists, but whether the airline has the power to enforce it.
    – choster
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 14:24
  • Can you expand this answer a bit? Or perhaps answer this question with the relevant info? How adamant were they about the to ticket requirement?
    – Flimzy
    Commented May 31, 2013 at 20:14

Airlines are forced to repatriate you at their expenses if you are denied to enter the country. To enter Brasil (like other countries) as a tourist you must have a departure ticket of a max. 90 days. Therefore airlines are very careful to check that you have this departure ticket, to avoid the expense of repatriate you. And yes, they can legally deny you checking in: read the clauses you agreed when you purchased the ticket, it is written there.


I've run into the same thing flying on one-way tickets to Colombia and Brazil. My solution was to buy a refundable onward ticket out of the country on the spot (using my phone), and then simply cancel it once I arrived at my destination. I now know that there are companies/web sites that offer this--just search for "onward ticket service".

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