Overbooked Flights Compensation
Airlines make a habit of overbooking planes. They do this so that they can make the most money on each flight as possible. Empty seats cost them money in wasted fuel and eat into their profit margins.
Although this practice means that the vast majority of people get lower priced fares, there are some downsides: namely that some people wind up being bumped off a flight. The good news, however, is that thanks to EU regulation 261/2004, you could be entitled to compensation.
There are two ways in which you can get bumped off your flight by an airline: voluntarily and involuntarily.
Voluntarily Relinquishing A Seat
Some airlines realise that they have overbooked a particular flight and ask people to voluntarily give up their seats before the plane takes off. Usually, in these situations, the airline agrees with customers on a level of compensation that seems appropriate to the situation. On top of any delay compensation, you receive, the airline is also legally obliged to give you a full flight refund or reroute you to your destination via an alternative route.
Involuntarily Relinquishing A Seat
The rules governing situations where you are involuntarily bumped off a flight are different. In these cases, the rules are set directly by EU 261/2004 and set out precisely how much your delayed flight claim is worth.
How much compensation you get depends on the length of the trip as well as the severity of the delay. A short delay of fewer than two hours on flights of up to 1500 km in length entitles you to €125 (£110) in compensation. If the flight is more than two hours delayed, then you’re entitled to €250 (£220).
Intermediate flights, which are classified as all flights between 1500km and 3500 km, pay slightly more. A delay of up to three hours entitles you to compensation of €200 (£170). A delay of more than three hours entitles you to €400 (£350).
Finally, for longer flights, (like Berlin to Vancouver) which are more than 3500 km, the compensation is higher still. You are entitled to €300 (£260) for flight delays of up to four hours. Delays of more than four hours entitle you to the maximum €600 (£520) compensation for airline delays.
It’s worth noting that the amount of delayed plane compensation that you get paid for being bumped off a flight is roughly comparable to the late flight compensation you’re entitled to should your flight be delayed. Again, the longer the distance of the flight and the time for which you are delayed, the more compensation you’re owed by the airline.
Could You Make A Claim For An Overbooked Flight?
If you were bumped off a flight involuntarily by the airline, you could be entitled to compensation under the EU 261/2004 rules.
Several criteria must be fulfilled to make a claim. The first is that the flight must have been an EU-regulated flight. An EU-regulated flight is either a flight on any airline that set off from an EU airport (which includes airports in Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, even though those countries are not full members of the EU), or is it a flight where an EU-based airline landed at an EU airport.
You can, for instance, make a claim for compensation, due to an overbooking, if your flight from London to Sydney was cancelled or delayed, but you can’t make a claim through EU 261/2004 if your flight from Sydney to London was with American Airlines. This is because American Airlines is not an EU-based company.
The second criteria is that your claim must be for a flight that happened after 2011. Due to a statute of limitations of six years in England, Wales and Northern Ireland claims for overbooked flights longer than six years ago are unlikely to be successful. In Scotland, you have five years to make a claim, after which the airline is no longer required to pay up.
In cases of overbooking, it is almost always the airline’s fault. For those wanting to make a claim, this is good news: it means that the airline has less capacity to argue that the reason your flight was cancelled was for reasons outside of its control.
Overbooking cancellations fall into the same category as general flight cancellations. According to EU rules, the airline should immediately offer you a full refund of the price you paid for your ticket if you decide not to travel, or provide you with alternative flight arrangements if you wish to continue with your journey. Remember, this is not the same as compensation, which is additional money you’re owed by the airline for your inconvenience.
How We Can Help
We are Flight Compensation experts and have successfully processed claims against various airlines where passengers were first rejected. If you feel that you have a valid EU Flight Compensation Claim, then contact us a free no obligation of your case and learn more about our no win no fee service.
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