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I've booked a flight via Air France NUE <-> JFK. I distantly remember reading somewhere that I will be required to show the credit/debit card I've booked the ticket with at boarding, however I wasn't able to find it again. I'm traveling as a tourist under VWP with ESTA. The ticket and card are in my name. I've booked online through a 3rd party travel agent.

  • Is there such a requirement?
  • Does the card need to be active? (It's been deactivated since the purchase)
  • Would another card in the same name suffice?

[After I flew, for those asking themselves the same question]
The airline only checked my passport and didn't ask for the card (I guess fraud from Germany is minimal). The hotel in the US however wanted to see the card at check in, but seemed to only make a photocopy of it (no additional transactions).

  • I've traveled from / to every state in the country and some internationally (Japan, Dominican, Jamaica, Canada) and not once had to do this. Though, i've never traveled from Germany. Once I had to show my credit card for a cruise ship. But, it was due to my name being incorrect (not matching my ID due to spelling error). Assuming you know your passport is required however... – maplemale Nov 29 '16 at 17:59
  • @maplemale Yes, I'm aware I need a passport :P I found this question in the "Related" menu travel.stackexchange.com/questions/18019/…, hence the belief is not completly unsubstantiated. – Robus Nov 29 '16 at 18:03
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    @maplemale airlines sometimes have this requirement for security in case of online purchase. Robus: it has nothing to do with immigration regulations. Check with your airline to see whether it will be required, and, if it is, how to handle the fact that the card was deactivated. – phoog Nov 29 '16 at 18:13
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    @maplemale a friend of mine recently bought a ticket for his son, and had to go to the airline office in Dakar, where he lives, to show the credit card, so his son would not be denied boarding in New York. – phoog Nov 29 '16 at 19:57
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    @maplemale travel agents go through systems that predate the internet by decades. They're not visiting airlines' web sites to buy tickets on behalf of their clients. It's not about who's doing the purchasing but about the process being used. – phoog Nov 29 '16 at 20:07
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If the "3rd party travel agent" is actually a bricks & mortar travel agency you visited to book the ticket, then the form of payment is considered "verified".

If the "3rd party travel agent" is an online travel agency or booking service, then the form of payment is subject to being verified.

Lots of posters will reply with the old "didn't happen to me therefore it doesn't happen" reply, but it has happened to me and I have had to buy a replacement when I didn't have my card, so the risk DOES exist. That said it is primarily an issue in third world and developing nations, not places like the EU, USA, etc.

Ways to deal with it, if you have the card still, you can simply show it. Most systems have the agent enter part of the card number then the computer verifies it (often the third set of digits), the card doesn't need to be active. If Air France has an office near where you live, you can go there and get your ID checked and form of payment verified in advance. If you no longer have your card, take the statement that shows the charge for the ticket along with your personal details.

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