My friend is visiting/traveling US with ESTA, and my friend had to show the return flight ticket when first departing from hometown to US (to ensure that they are not just staying here in US).

Now, my friend is taking a domestic flight from CA to NY using Virgin Airlines, and I was wondering if showing the return ticket going to hometown is necessary in order to get on board.

  • Without doing research but because this is a domestic flight, my gut says no - since it's a domestic flight. Your friend already entered the country and is flying within the country.
    – Michael
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 20:09
  • @MichaelC. Yeah, I should call the airline directly.
    – Vinci
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 20:16
  • 4
    I have never heard of any such thing. On a domestic flight you never deal with any immigration authorities - only the airline and TSA, and neither of them have any interest in how long you are staying in the country. Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 20:19
  • The return ticket is actually a statutory requirement to qualify for the VWP. The airline could be fined for bringing someone to the US without a return ticket. The same is not true for an airline transporting someone within the US.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 21:37
  • Does my friend need to show my return ticket … – What is your ticket to do with this?
    – chirlu
    Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 20:57

1 Answer 1


The return ticket had to be shown when departing from their home airport as a form of POOT (proof of onward travel) demonstrating they will be departing the USA within the terms of their admission category.

Once your friend has been admitted to the USA, they no longer have to prove their departure date or means.

They will only need to show their passport as ID to board the flight (plus of course their boarding pass).

  • If presenting any non-North American ID but a passport, technically you're supposed to fill out a form to verify your identity. In practice, agents will usually just say you cannot board, or they might be Ok with it (possibly after asking a Supervisor)
    – Crazydre
    Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 14:28

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