Thinking of flying, in Cardiff

Refundable flights around the world

For all those of us who need to apply for visas, we often need to furnish flight details. However, in cases like mine where I’m planning to sort of go with the flow (as much as possible..) there is no real way of knowing my travel dates.

This is why I needed to book a few refundable flights that would allow me to cancel my flight once the visa is stamped on my passport. Here are the flights that I had booked so far, along-with their penalties for refunds:


British Airways:

London to Mexico City – I needed to show the Portuguese embassy that I am leaving the EU – it was said that there would be a 15 pound penalty.
Paid – Rs. 75699.78
Got Back – Rs. 75280.55
Net Loss – Rs. 419.23
Refund mode – Managed to get the refund online, credited back to my credit card.



Flight from London to Lisbon – My flight to Lisbon, refundable with a 15 Euro charge.
Paid – Rs. 28056
Got Back – Rs. 27756
Net Loss – Rs. 300
Refund Mode – Booked through expedia, so cancelled through expedia, credited back to my credit card.

Surprisingly both cases worked out under 15 pounds and 15 euros respectively. This was probably due to fluctuations in the exchange rates that worked in my favor. YAY!

I’m going to apply for my Brazilian visa in Lisbon. I need to show details of flights in and out of Brazil for that. I looked around a LOT for refundable flights since most of the fares to Brazil appear to be non-refundable. There are a few super expensive fares (for example: Atlanta – > Rio costs above $4,000!). Refundable fares tend to be very expensive.

I finally settled on:



Mexico City -> Sao Paulo – $2432.67
This fare was refunded by AeroMexico but it took around 5 weeks to get a refund on my credit card. You have to call the AeroMexico call center to process a refund but it’s pretty straightforward.

Updated on 16th July 2012



Within Latin America there are only a few airlines providing refundable flights. LAN, TACA and AeroMexico are the only airlines with fully refundable tickets. I used a TACA ticket to apply for my Chile visa. Once I was issued the visa I cancelled the flight and instead flew in via LAN. The cancellation required me to call the office 2-3 times and then they refunded $100 less. However, another call fixed everything and they ended up refunding the entire amount.


I will post about more refundable flight options as and when I need to use them. These are some options that you may go in for as they are reliable and relatively painless to get refunds from.

Try as much as possible to book refundable flights when applying for visas because you never know how much time embassies/consulates take to respond to your visa requests.

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  • Deepa Says

    Couple of questions:

    - I know we have to enter before 90 days of issuance. How many days is the visa valid for after you enter? Was it multiple entry?
    - Did you have to give hotel reservation too ?

    Appreciate your response. I know its been a while since you went there. Any recollection of details will be much appreciated.

    • Ashray Says

      Hi Deepa

      I suppose you’re asking about Brazil ?
      Yes, you *must* enter within 90 days. Immigration is very serious about this. We entered on the 89th day after visa issuance and the visa officer at the airport in Sao Paulo literally counted the days THREE times before he decided to stamp me in.

      The visa is valid for the full period from when you enter. So if it’s a 90 day visa, it’s valid for 90 days from your date of entry. Also, my visa was a multiple entry visa.

      They didn’t ask me for a hotel reservation but I have to say, my circumstance was a bit different since I applied for a the Brazil visa in Portugal. I paid 20 Euros and although ordinarily Brazil is quite strict about the “you must be a resident of the place where you apply for a Brazil visa” – they agreed to do my visa in Portugal.

      Let me know if you have more questions!

  • Deepa Says

    Thanks Ashray. I am applying in Washington DC this week. They are not clear on how long they would issue the visa for. Also, they are saying i need to show itinerary, not sure if that means hotel also. I guess I will go there in person and ask them directly.

    Did you specifically ask for 90-days visa? Or was it based on your return ticket ?

  • We have been using fake e-tickets for Visas. I took one of my legitimate booking from Orbitz and have been changing the date/time/flight details/cost etc. Same with Hostel bookings. This has worked all over the world (we have been on the road for 18 months so far – 42 countries). May be it will save you guys some hassle/money going forward. Write to me if you need details…

    Ajit (Another Indian Backpacker with an European Wife).

    • Ashray Says

      Hi Ajit

      That sounds like a decent idea however I don’t usually like to mess with consulates, etc. because these are legal channels of sorts. I’ve read before that plenty of people do the same thing and have never read of anyone ever getting into trouble but for some reason it still sounds scary :P

      Kudos on being on the road for 18 months! Sounds like an awesome adventure!

    • Niranjan Says

      Hello there Ajit!
      I’d be interested to know more about the process that you followed.


  • madhu Says

    here is my recommendation. Both american airlines and air canada when you book a flight (make sure you have an AAdvantage number or aero miles number), let you hold your flight for 24 hours. But they give you a fully confirmed itinerary. I have used this to apply for visas in the past and it has always worked.

  • romel Says

    Guys plss can u email me some fack etickets copy as a sample for latin usa visit or canada visiy.Hiys plss help me..

  • what was the documents for US visa? and everybody must have to have the interview? thanks for your post ,, its helpful

  • Nomadic Boys Says

    We had to do this recently to get our Russian Visas – taking the Trans Siberian railway as a way to enter Russia from Europe means we had to book a fake flight from Moscow to London.

    We used Air Baltic who allow you to book a fully refundable ticket. Also BA (British Airways) offer refundable flights.

  • Atul Says

    Hi Ashray,
    1. Argentina visa validity after the day of entry, is it similar to Brazil.
    2. Is it possible to apply for Argentina visa extension in Argentina.
    3. Paraguay Visa – any info

  • James G Says

    Nomadic Boys – I’m trying to do the exact same thing to get into Russia! I’m very glad that works, because I was going to try the same thing…

    Did you have any trouble getting your refund from Air Baltic? How quickly did you get it and did they charge you?

    And I presume you got your Russian visa okay?

    Any replies would be much appreciated!

  • Deep Says

    OK. Sorry to be a noob. But what is a fake ticket !!?? Do they mean a valid ticket but a refundable one so as to be able to just show on paper ?

    • Ashray Says

      I don’t know what you’re talking about :) But I’d guess a fake ticket is just one that you would print out with fake details.

      However, this article is about *real* tickets. You can book a real refundable flight because sometimes consulates do call airlines to confirm your travel arrangements. Then, once your visa has been issued, you can cancel your flights and book another set or a one-way and an exit by bus, etc. The ticket reservation is required for the visa, but not thereafter.

  • John Doe Says

    I would not fake a reservation like one of the posters above. The reservations usually have enough info that a consular official could, in theory, go to orbitz or or whatever and look up your itinerary with the info you have provided. When they don’t find it, you could have issues. The chances are slim though, I admit.

    What I normally do is use the 24 hour hold feature on or go to and click the pay in cash or Western Union option while checking out – that usually puts the PNR on hold for 24 hours. You can then print it out and take it the consulate. Now, to be clear, it’s only a held itinerary and not an actual ticket, but I’ve never had anyone complain about that. The PNR usually expires after 24 hours so if they look it up online after that (which as said above, they probably never will) they won’t find it, but at least you didn’t misrepresent anything.

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