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Denied boarding due to flight overbooking: Claim your compensation now!


Have you turned up to your flight only to be told that you will not be allowed on the plane? If so, we know the frustration and we have to inform you that you have been denied boarding. There may just be a silver lining to such an incident, as in many denied boarding cases you may be able to claim compensation for the fact that the airline did not fulfil its contractual obligations. Our team here at Flight-Delayed.co.uk have summarized all the important information regarding denied boarding together and condensed it below.


As a passenger, you are protected by Regulation EC No 261/2004, the main piece of European legislation that outlines all the rules that come into play when a flight is disrupted. Typically, incidents in which a passenger has been denied boarding will also fall under its scope as well as flight delays and cancellations.


Can I claim compensation if I have been denied boarding?


In certain cases, you can claim compensation for denied boarding. However, this depends on the case of how and why you have been denied boarding. For example, if you choose to surrender your seat to another passenger, you may not be entitled to further benefits than the ones agreed on in return for giving up your seat. Additionally, you may not be eligible for compensation if you have been denied boarding and the fault does not lie with the airline. For example, if the airline decides that you pose a security risk to the crew and all other passengers, you may be denied boarding and not be eligible for compensation.


Different reasons for one’s boarding being denied


There are several different reasons why you may not be allowed to board a flight. Most are a result of extraordinary circumstances that have affected the operation of flight. However, they are very uncommon. Here are some of the reasons why a passenger won’t be allowed to board the aircraft:


  • Overbooking:
    - This can result in a passenger voluntarily being removed from the passenger list, or;
    - A passenger involuntarily being bumped off the flight
  • Disruptive behaviour
  • Health or safety risk


Overbooking: the cause for passengers being denied boarding


Airlines often sell more seats to customers than they have available in the aim to fill the seats in case passengers do not make it to the flight. This is a strategy that airlines use very often to ensure that they are profiting from a flight as much as possible. If you have been denied boarding by an air carrier, it’s very probable that it has been because the flight was overbooked. In such instances, one of  these two scenarios will apply:


Voluntarily giving up your seat

If an airline has overbooked a flight then they will always ask volunteers to give up their seats on an overbooked flight. In return for renouncing one’s seat, the airline normally offers the passenger a number of benefits. Characteristically, these may be travel credit, vouchers or other perks. If a passenger decides not to fly in exchange for airline benefits then the passenger is not entitled to claim compensation. When and if you agree to such a deal, you give up many or even all of your rights for compensation, even when being affected by further delays or cancellations if you have agreed to take a different flight.


Involuntarily being denied boarding

In this second scenario, a passenger may be denied boarding involuntarily. Using the example above, you have turned up to the airport and find out that your flight is overbooked. No one offers to give up their seat for you. This scenario will result in a passenger being denied boarding against his or her will. If this occurs, the passenger may be entitled to compensation.


However, incidents in which passengers are denied boarding may also occur due to inappropriate behaviour, invalid documents (passport, ID card, valid visa, etc) and health or safety risks. In said cases, passengers will not be entitled to be compensated.


What can I claim if I have been not allowed to board my flight?


If you are eligible for compensation then you may receive as much as €600. The amount you may receive depends on the distance covered by your flight. Exactly as it works flight delays and cancellations, you may receive the following sums if you arrive at your destination with three or more hours of delay:


  • For all flights covering a distance of up to 1,500 kilometres, you will receive up to €250.00
  • For all flights covering a distance between 1,500 kilometres and 3,500 kilometres, you will receive up to €400.00
  • For flights covering a distance greater than 3,500 kilometres, you are entitled to up to €600.00


compensation for being denied boarding


Additionally/or, you may be entitled to:


  • The refund of the cost of your ticket and a return flight to your starting point of departure
  • A seat on a replacement flight
  • Meals and refreshments as well as the appropriate care by the airline
  • A refund for all expenses that you’ve made due to being denied boarding


It is important to keep all itemised receipts to prove that the reason for the possible expenses was the disruption to your itinerary.


Specific reasons why passengers are denied boarding


Overbooking is not the only cause for passengers being denied boarding. Unruly behaviour, threat to safety or health risk can be vague terms or hard to define; consequently, here are other reasons as to which an airline and their staff may deny a passenger’s boarding:


  • Passenger intoxication: if a passenger seems drunk and is causing trouble because of the consumption of alcohol or other substances.
  • Threatening or unruly behaviour (threat to crew or other passengers that may interrupt flight operations)
  • A threat to security or safety (often an issue with a passenger’s baggage as some items are prohibited on aeroplanes)
  • The gate has been closed and passengers were not there on time
  • Altercations with customs officers and/or problems with certain documents


What documents do I need to claim compensation if I been denied boarding due to overbooking?


When going through the process of claiming compensation for a flight, there are some important documents that you’ll probably need in order to successfully file a claim. You will need to provide evidence of the fact that you were supposed to take the flight in question. In order to do so, oftentimes you’ll need to provide the following documents:


  • Booking confirmation (PNR code)
  • E-ticket
  • Boarding Passes
  • Passport or ID


More often than not, the PNR code in your booking reference and your ticket number are enough in order to be able to start legal procedures against an airline, but it may vary according to the country in which an airline must be sued.


The airline said it was my fault, can I still claim compensation?


If you have been denied boarding through no fault of your own, Flight-Delayed can help you fact-check the evidence provided by the airline and claim the compensation you may be entitled to. Even if the company has already rejected your claim. Best of all, our 25% win fee will only be charged if we successfully claim your compensation. It also covers all possible costs associated with doing so, even if we have to court against the airline. Submit your claim and we’ll get straight to work!


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