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Overbooked flight compensation – how does it work?

Overbooked flight compensation – how does it work?

If you’ve ever been denied boarding for an overbooked flight you’ll know how frustrating it can be to have your travelling plans interfered with due to an error on the part of the airline. Actually, such situations are not uncommon, as some airlines attempt to compensate for the number of passengers who don’t show up at all by booking more tickets than there are seats on the plane.

This can lead to situations where passengers are encouraged to give up their seats in exchange for gifts, money, vouchers or upgrades. If you are one of these customers who has voluntarily accepted this booking alteration (this is called ‘voluntary denied boarding’), you will not be entitled to claim any further compensation.

If no one is willing to give up their place then the airline may be forced to deny boarding rights to a number of passengers (‘involuntary denied boarding’) in order to ensure they have the right number of passengers for the flight. This is an unfortunate situation for all concerned but the passengers may be entitled to compensation.

First of all, you should make sure you have written confirmation that you were denied boarding. You will need this as proof when you claim compensation. Next go to the airline’s ticket counter where you should be informed of when the next alternative flights are, given options to book a different one and, if a stopover is necessary, they should provide you with accommodation, transport and food to see you through to the time of departure.

If the flight you were due to catch is within the EU, passengers who were denied boarding are entitled to compensation of up to 600 euros. The amount you are able to claim will depend on the length of the flight and how long you have been delayed in departing. The same compensation is valid for overbooked flights with EU-based carriers that enter the EU from countries outside of it.

Outside the EU, your rights will depend on the terms and conditions of the airline you booked with. Most of them base their operations on the recommendations of the International Air Transport Association, which states that they’re contractually obligated to offer either an alternative flight, a form of transport that’s agreed on by both parties, or a refund. As for the accommodation and expenses caused by any delays, you will be entitled to claim this under the Montreal Convention. Check with the official stance of your airline and see what you are entitled to claim.

It is advisable to start your compensation claim as soon as possible, and you should be aware that there are cut-off dates for claiming it. Within the EU it’s three months if you’re claiming it from the airline – although, if you need to claim it through a tour operator, this will need to be done within a month of the date of the cancelled flight. Internationally the deadline will depend on the airline.

If you’ve been inconvenienced by involuntary denied boarding due to overbooking, let us handle your claim quickly and effectively. Visit and start your claim today.


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