Overbooked Flight Compensation

Was your flight overbooked? And, you were denied boarding for your flight. You may have the right to compensation between €250 to €600 under EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation 261/2004.

Check if you are eligible for overbooked flight compensation by entering your flight number and date. Enforce your rights on a No Win No Fee base.

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Your Rights for Overbooked Flights

Under the EU Regulation 261/2004, if you are involuntarily denied boarding or bumped from a flight due to overbooking, you may have the following rights:

  • Entitled to compensation between €250 to €600
  • Refund of the flight ticket or alternate transport
  • Meals and Refreshments, and other “Right To Care” services

Entitlement to Compensation

Can a passenger outside the EU claim compensation under EU law? Here are the situations when you can make a claim under EU law EC 261

  • Your departure and arrival were both within the EU (irrespective of the airline)
  • Your flight’s departure was from an EU airport (irrespective of the airline)
  • Your arrival airport was in the EU member states and should have booked with an EU-regulated airline

The table below clarifies if you qualify for compensation under EU law.

Origin and Destination EU Airline Non-EU Airline
EU to EU ✅Yes ✅Yes
EU to Non-EU ✅Yes ✅Yes
Non-EU to EU ✅Yes ❌No
Non-EU to Non-EU ❌No ❌No

Thus, if you are a US passenger or any passenger outside the EU, if the above criteria are met you can qualify for compensation.

Important Note: You must check-in on time in order to avoid being denied boarding and claim compensation for overbooking.

How much compensation you can claim for an overbooked flight

When it comes to compensation for an overbooked flight, the amount varies. You may be eligible to receive €250, €400, or even €600 depending on the type of flight you were denied boarding from and how long your flight was delayed.

As per the existing provisions, the amount of compensation required to pay to any passenger is as follows:

  • Flights up to 1,500 km qualify for a compensation of €250.
  • Flights over 1,500 km to 3,500 km and within the EU qualifies for compensation of €400.
  • Flights all over 3,500 km and outside of the EU could be eligible for an amount of up to €600 in compensation.

Overbooked Flight Compensation Table

Flight Type Example Compensation
EU to EU less than 1500 km Frankfurt – Zurich €250
EU to EU more than 1500 km Frankfurt – Greece €400
EU to Non-EU more than 3500 km Frankfurt – New York €600

Additional Services

Right to care

If you have agreed to surrender your seat and are waiting for an alternate arrangement from the airline and has passed more than 2 hours, then the below right to assistance must be bear by the airline

    • Meals and Refreshments vouchers
    • Two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails at no cost
    • Hotel accommodation when a stay of one or more nights becomes necessary
    • Transportation between airport to stay of accommodation

Reimbursement or Re-route

Reimbursement within 7 days of the full cost of the ticket. Alternate flights to their final destination at the earliest opportunity or a later date at the passenger’s convenience, subject to availability of seats.

Upgrading & Downgrading

Passengers who voluntarily give up their seats may be offered a business class upgrade by the airline as reimbursement, without any extra charges.

If the passenger is downgraded than that which the ticket was purchased, the difference must be reimbursed within 7 days as per the below condition:

    • 30% of the price of the ticket for all flights of 1500 km or less
    • 50% of the price of the ticket for all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 km
    • 75% of the price of the ticket for all flights between the European territory of the Member States and the French overseas departments.

What does Overbooking and Bumping mean?

Overbooking is a common airline practice where more tickets are sold than there are available seats on a flight. This strategy is employed with the anticipation of no-show passengers, based on historical booking data and predictive algorithms.

However, these predictions aren’t always spot-on, and this can lead to situations where passengers with valid tickets are denied boarding. When there aren’t enough volunteers willing to surrender their seats for perks like refunds, re-routing, or business class upgrades, some travelers are bumped from their flight involuntarily.

Such an ordeal can be immensely frustrating, but airlines are usually mandated to provide compensation to acknowledge the inconvenience. The specifics of this compensation can differ depending on individual airline policies, but there are universal guidelines in place to safeguard passengers’ rights.

Important Note: It is perfectly legal for airlines to oversell seats. As per the research, around 5% of passengers are “no-shows”.

Involuntary Bumping:

If there aren’t enough volunteers to surrender their seats, airlines might deny boarding to certain passengers against their will. When this happens, passengers typically have more extensive rights:

Monetary Compensation: Affected passengers are often entitled to flight overbooking compensation, the amount of which may be determined by the length of the delay and route distance.

Alternative Transportation: The airline must provide an alternative means for the passenger to reach their destination, which could include a seat on a later flight or even on a different airline.

Case Study: The Koenig Family’s Compensation Victory with ClaimFlights

The Koenig family, on their eagerly-awaited trip from Frankfurt to New York, faced an unexpected hurdle: the whole family was kicked off due to overbooking. Initially, the airline refuse compensation, so they turned to ‘ClaimFlights’ for reimbursement. The result? A triumphant win of €600 per person, ensuring their vacation dreams weren’t completely dashed.

Read more about their journey to bumped flight compensation.

Voluntary Bumping:

When a flight is overbooked, airlines typically first ask passengers if they’re willing to give up their seats in exchange for certain benefits:

Choice of Compensation: Those who volunteer might be offered vouchers for future flights, ticket upgrades, or even cash.

Negotiation: Passengers can often negotiate compensation, especially if the inconvenience is significant.

When can you claim overbooking compensation?

If you possess a valid flight ticket and boarding pass, have successfully checked in online for your flight, and were denied boarding due to overbooking, you are entitled to claim flight overbooking compensation. Also, airlines are obligated to provide additional services like meals and refreshments, and alternative transportation.

Important Note: Even if you received meal vouchers, you can still claim compensation for denied boarding due to overbooking.”.

According to EU Regulation 261/2004, you may be eligible to claim financial compensation of up to €600 if you fulfill the specified criteria for compensation. While you have a period of 3 years from the date of disruption to lodge your claim. It’s advisable not to delay and promptly file a claim with the airline to address the inconvenience caused by an overbooked flight.

If a traveler is on a business trip bumped due to an overbooked flight, it is the traveler, not the employer, who is entitled to compensation. Both business traveler and individual traveler hold the same rights to compensation.

How to apply for compensation for an overbooked flight

Passengers who are involuntarily denied boarding are eligible for compensation, below are the steps to guide you how to apply for compensation for an overbooked flight:

  1. Know your Rights: In many countries, passengers denied boarding due to overbooking have the right to be compensated. It’s important to know what these rights are and how much you are entitled to.
  2. Confirm Eligibility: Ensure that you were denied boarding involuntarily due to overbooking and not for other reasons (e.g., security concerns, late check-in, or invalid documentation).
  3. Necessary Documents: For any denied boarding claim, collect all important documents (like flight details, written confirmation from the airlines, and a Picture or photocopy of your ID or passport) surrounding your overbooked flight before submitting your claim.
  4. Use Compensation Calculators: Utilize free compensation calculator tools. Enter your flight details to get an estimate of the compensation you might be eligible for.
  5. File a Complaint: If there has been misconduct on behalf of an airline related to denied boarding due to overbooking, make sure that all facts are listed in an official complaint form and send it to the respective airline authority.
  6. Hire a flight claim company: You may hire a flight claim company to avoid the hassles of airlines rejecting your claims.

Why opt for ClaimFlights to claim compensation for an overbooked flight

Here’s the deal: Airlines often resist paying compensation. When you directly claim from them, they can use tactics that result in long wait times.

Thinking of taking it to court? Engaging a lawyer becomes a necessity. However, smaller claims often gets overlooked, working in the airline’s favor.

And the outcome? Disheartened passengers walking away from what’s rightfully theirs.

ClaimFlights realizes that most passengers lack the time, expertise, or strategy to fight with the airline to claim the compensation they owe.

ClaimFlights typically specialize in helping passengers navigate the complex process of seeking compensation from the airlines.

Each airline has unique document requirements and procedures – a daunting task for any individual. At ClaimFlights, our extensive database contains all the necessary airline requirements to move a claim forward.

ClaimFlights consistently helps passengers get what they deserve.

Was your flight overbooked and you were denied boarding?

If you were involuntarily denied boarding because the flight was overbooked, you may receive compensation under EU law.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do flights get overbooked?

Airlines often sell more tickets than there are available seats on the aircraft based on historical data and statistical models that predict a certain number of passengers will miss the flight or cancel at the last minute. However, when more passengers than expected show up, the flight becomes overbooked, leading to potential boarding denials for some travelers.

Who gets bumped on an overbooked flight?

The criteria for determining who gets bumped can vary, but it often involves factors like check-in time, fare class, and frequent flyer status. The first to be bumped are those with late check-ins or lower-fare tickets, passengers with forged documents, or wrong boarding pass, creating safety or health concern are typically more vulnerable to being bumped.

Why do airlines overbook flights?

Overbooking is a strategy used to maximize occupancy and compensate for these no-show passengers. Airlines sell more tickets on purpose, than the available seats on the plane. The likelihood of every booked passenger showing up by the scheduled time is remote.

Last-minute cancellations are naturally experienced. Hence, airlines started overbooking their flights. Airlines do not want to incur losses due to empty seats on account of such cancellations in any operating flight. So, it resorts to overbooking in such situations.

Is it legal for airlines to overbook flights?

Yes, it is absolutely legal for airlines to overbook flights. Overbooking is a strategy employed by airlines to maximize revenue and profit, anticipating that a certain number of passengers might cancel or miss their flight. As per the research, around 5% of passengers are “no-shows”.

How to avoid overbooked flights?

To avoid overbooked flights, consider booking your trip during off-peak times or seasons when flights are less likely to be full. Checking in early, either online or at the airport, can also reduce the risk, as some airlines may bump passengers who check in last. Additionally, maintaining loyalty with a particular airline and gaining frequent flyer status can offer priority boarding, further minimizing the chances of being affected by overbooking.

Does United overbook flights?

All airlines including United Airlines overbook flights. To account for last-minute cancellations, other flight delays, or no-shows it’s common for carriers to oversell seats.

A quick look at United Airlines’ stats on involuntary boardings shows that the airline has seemingly learned its lesson after Dr. Dao’s incident. The rate of involuntary denied boardings dropped by more the 96% between 2017 and 2021. Airlines have not stopped overbooking flights.

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