Do You Get Compensation for Denied Boarding?

Experiencing denied boarding can be a frustrating and confusing situation for any air traveler.

Whether it is due to overbooking or other airline errors, knowing your rights regarding denied boarding compensation is important.

Compensation for Denied Boarding

In this article, we will highlight when and how you can claim compensation for being denied boarding on a flight.

What Does it Mean When You Are Denied Boarding?

Denied boarding occurs when passengers are unable to board their flight despite having a confirmed booking and arriving on time. This often happens due to overbooking, a common practice among airlines to compensate for no-shows. However, when more passengers show up than there are seats available, some are left behind, leading to denied boarding.

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Your Rights for Denied Boarding Compensation

Under EU Regulation 261/2004, passengers are entitled to certain rights and compensations when they are denied boarding against their will. This regulation applies to all flights departing from an EU airport and flights to an EU airport operated by an EU airline.

Criteria for Compensation

  1. Involuntary Denied Boarding: Compensation is only applicable if you were denied boarding involuntarily. If you volunteered to give up your seat in exchange for benefits, different conditions apply.
  2. Valid Travel Documentation: You must have a confirmed reservation and have arrived at the airport on time, at least 45 minutes before check-in, with all necessary travel documentation.

Amount of Compensation

The compensation for denied boarding is similar to that for flight cancelations and delays:

  • For flights up to 1500 kilometers, passengers can receive €250.
  • For flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometers, the compensation is €400.
  • For flights above 3500 kilometers, the compensation can be as high as €600.

Apart from monetary compensation, if you are denied boarding, you are also entitled to either a refund of your ticket cost or an alternative flight to your destination. While waiting for an alternative flight, you are entitled to meals and refreshments, phone calls, or emails, and, if necessary, hotel accommodation and transport to the hotel.

Steps to Claim Denied Boarding Compensation

  1. Understand the Reason for Denied Boarding: Ask the airline staff for a clear reason why you were denied boarding. If the reason was beyond their control, for example, bad weather or security risks, you may not benefit from compensation. 
  2. Gather Documentation: Keep your boarding pass, booking confirmation, and any other relevant documents. If the airline provides a written statement about the denied boarding, make sure to keep this as well.
  3. File a Compensation Claim: Contact the airline to file a claim for denied boarding compensation. Clearly state that your claim is under EU Regulation 261/2004. Include all relevant information about your flight and the denied boarding situation in your claim. Attach copies of your documents as proof.
  4. Follow Up with the Airline: Keep track of your claim’s status and follow up with the airline if necessary. Airlines may take some time to process compensation claims.

Preventing Denied Boarding Situations

While you cannot always prevent denied boarding, you can reduce the chances by being among the first to check in and lower the risk due to overbooking. Also, avoid peak travel times and only fly during less busy times.

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Bottom Line

Denied boarding can be a significant inconvenience, but EU regulations ensure that passengers are compensated and assisted in these situations. Remember to keep all relevant documentation and be proactive in your communication with the airline to ensure your rights are respected and you receive the compensation you are entitled to.

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