Denied boarding

Sometimes airlines sell much more tickets on the flight than there are seats available in the aircraft. This is called “Overbooking” and it is largely established in the civil aviation industry.

Quite often part of the passengers who bought the tickets on the flight do not show-up and there are some free seats in the aircraft. In order to fill such free seats, airlines often resort to the Overbooking practice, due to which, there may be some “extra” passengers on the flight. Of course, this happens due to the airline’s fault and they are obligated to pay the compensation up to EUR 600.

In such cases, airlines will offer various vouches and benefits to “extra” passengers in exchange for voluntarily surrendering their seats to other passengers. If the passenger accepts such benefits and voluntarily gives up its seat, it will no longer be entitled to compensation.

If the passenger does not surrender its seat voluntarily, the airline will have to deny boarding. In this case, the passenger may be entitled to financial compensation by the airlines.

According to #261 regulation of the EU, the passengers who were denied boarding may be entitled to compensation if:

  • They reached the final destination with the delay of 3 hours or more.
  • The passenger checked-in on time and there was no reasonable security or health risks related to the passenger.
  • The flight departed from the airport of the EU member state or the flight departed from the airport of Non-EU member state, but the airport of the final destination is located within EU and the flight was operated by EU airline company.
  • There are no Extraordinary Circumstances“ outside the airline’s control.

The amount of compensation is dependent on the flight distance between the departing airport and the final destination and is calculated as follows:

  • If the flight distance is below 1500 km EUR 250;
  • If the flight distance is between1500-3500 km. EUR 400;
  • If the flight distance is above 3500 km. -EUR 600.

The price you paid for the flight is not relevant. You are entitled to compensation irrespective of the price paid for the ticket.

Extraordinary Circumstances

Please be informed that the air carriers are under no obligation to issue the compensation if the denied boarding was caused by extraordinary circumstances, which could not have been avoided by the airline. In general, the “Extraordinary Circumstances” refer to the reasons which are outside of the airline’s control. There is no exhaustive list of the “Extraordinary Circumstances” and it shall be determined on a case by case basis. Worth noting, that the scope of “Extraordinary Circumstances” can be changed/updated by judgments and decisions of various courts. Generally, the following fall within the scope of “Extraordinary Circumstances”:

  • Bad weather conditions;
  • Political or civil unrest;
  • Bird strike;
  • Security risks not caused by airlines;
  • Governmental decisions;
  • Any other circumstances outside the airline’s control.

What should I do in case of denied boarding?

  • Consult with the airline representative and request to explain the reasons for denied boarding.
  • Keep all travel documents (Boarding pass, e-ticket, vouchers provided by Airlines, alternative flight tickets offered by Airline, etc.).
  • Inform other passengers about the possible compensation;
  • Contact us, tell us the details of your case and send the copies of your travel documentation.

Please note that the information provided on this page related to the passenger rights in case of denied boarding is of general informative nature and only serves the purpose of providing general information to the passengers. This information should not be considered as legal consultation or the guarantee of compensation or a certain legal outcome. In order to provide you legal assistance, please contact us and our team will study the details of your case.