Is an airline obliged to refund the cost of a booked flight if the passenger is unable to fly because his tourist travel visa has been rejected? I am interested specifically in some sort of legal or professional obligation governing EU airlines in particular. My specific case is with British Airways.

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    No - your visa is your problem to sort out, not the airline's. Don't book your ticket before you have a visa - or if you must have a ticket in order to get the visa, book a refundable ticket just-in-case.
    – brhans
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 14:31
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    No no no and no unless it is a refundable ticket. Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 14:33
  • Also related: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/83929/… Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 14:57

1 Answer 1


No. It is your problem, not an airline problem.

You should do your homework early, e.g. to have a valid visa, and only after this you should book the flights and hotels.

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    You are usually unable to do your homework early, because you have to provide tickets for your visa application.
    – alamar
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 15:04
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    @alamar - in which case you buy a fully-refundable ticket in order to apply for the visa. Then if you don't get the visa you get your ticket refunded, and if you do get the visa you have to option to get the refund anyway and re-book a cheaper non-refundable ticket. It's not the airlines' fault that some countries require travel tickets to apply for a visa.
    – brhans
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 15:11
  • @almar: they may require you to show that you have the fund to buy the return tickets, and the immigration officer could check that you have effectively the return ticket, but I never see it on applying visa. It is not seldom not to have the exact travel dates on applying the visa (and I have also visa that I never used) Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 15:19
  • Many thanks for the input. We were indeed asked for flight and hotel verification during the visa application. Its rejection was quite a surprise. I am in the process of speaking with BA now, in hopes at least of getting back some of the surcharges and taxes which are noted as possibly refundable for unused flights.
    – Brenda
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 15:37

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