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What to Do if You Have Been Denied Boarding?

What to do if you have been denied boarding?

You arrive at the airport on time with your travel documents, only to be denied boarding. This often happens when flights are overbooked, meaning the airline has sold more tickets than available seats. If all passengers show up, some get bumped from the flight.

In this article, I’ll explain what to do if you’re denied boarding.

Check flight compensation online.

Are You Denied Boarding Due to Your Fault?

If the answer is yes, this article is not for you.

If you did something wrong according to the airline, they have a right to deny you boarding. If you don’t agree with that being your fault, contact the airline to find a solution.

This article is about overbooking.

What Is Overbooking?

Overbooking is when more reservations are accepted than there are available seats or rooms. It’s a very common practice in the travel industry. This is done to maximize revenue by assuming that some customers will not show up for their reservation.

In short, businesses assume that some won’t arrive.

Both hotels and airlines do this.

If all passengers show up, some get bumped from the flight.

This is just how it is.

What does “denied boarding” mean?

Denied boarding occurs when a passenger with a confirmed reservation is not allowed to board the flight due to overbooking. In such cases, airlines might give instant compensation, offer another flight, and provide extra perks. More on this below.

Please be aware that if you are denied boarding, you are entitled to certain rights under Regulation (EC) No 261/2004. This includes the right to care from the airline.

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What to Do if You Have Been Denied Boarding?

If you’re denied boarding, the situation varies based on whether it’s involuntary or you choose to give up your seat (voluntary).

Continue reading to learn the difference between involuntary and voluntary denied boarding.

Step 1: Voluntary Denied Boarding

You may voluntarily give up your seat.

When a flight is overbooked, the airline may seek volunteers to switch to another flight for free. Volunteers can receive perks like cash, vouchers, or discounts. You can decline if asked to volunteer. Keep in mind that volunteering may make you ineligible for flight overbooking compensation (of up to 600 euros).

If you refuse, you may still be denied boarding.

This is known as “involuntary denied boarding.”

Step 2: Involuntary denied boarding

Sometimes, you may not have a choice.

In unfortunate situations, you might face being denied boarding without an option.

If this happens, contact the airline’s representatives to understand your next steps. The airline still has the responsibility to get you to your destination or offer a refund. Additionally, you are entitled to denied boarding compensation, also known as overbooking compensation, which can be up to €600 per passenger.

Step 3: Decide on a Course of Action

Review the options provided by your airline and revisit your itinerary, especially if you have connecting flights that could be impacted by the overbooking.

Keep in mind that for self-transfer flights, missing a connection is your responsibility.

If you’re denied boarding, here are your choices:

  • Accept a new flight to your destination;
  • If the new flight doesn’t fit your schedule and you need to fly ASAP, opt for a full refund.
  • If necessary, arrange a new flight independently.

If you are considering booking a new flight departing shortly, ensure it addresses the delay issue. Take your time and avoid rushing decisions. Very often, it’s best if you accept the replacement flight provided by the airline.

Step 4: If You Have to Wait for More Than 3 Hours, You Have the Right to Care

You have decided to take another flight offered by your airline.

If you have to wait 3 or more hours, the airline should offer you food and drink vouchers. For overnight waits, the airline must provide free hotel stay and transportation. Contact the airline to claim these benefits.

Remember, in the EU, you are entitled to care during flight delays, cancellations and denied boarding.

Step 5: Submit your denied boarding compensation claim

If you’re involuntarily denied boarding, your airline must get you to your destination or offer a full refund. You may also be entitled to compensation of €250, €400, or even €600 if with a European airline*. This is all thanks to Europe’s Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004 (EC 261).

You don’t need to be an EU citizen to claim denied boarding compensation. Remember to file a claim for flight compensation upon arrival home.

The simplest method to get compensation is by engaging a flight compensation company. It only takes under 5 minutes. Their legal experts will handle the claim for you, but it’s not free. The fee ranges from 25% to 45% of the compensation amount. Usually, there are no upfront costs. If they can’t secure your compensation, you won’t pay anything. No win, no fee.

* Regulation 261/2004 (EC 261) also applies to some non-European airline flights. If your flight leaves from Europe on a non-European airline and faces disruptions, you could be entitled to flight compensation. One example is Wizz Air Abu Dhabi.

Check flight compensation online.

By Europe, European Union and EU here on this website we mean all EU Member States, the United Kingdom (UK), Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Reunion, Mayotte, Saint Martin (French Antilles), the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland. This is where these European regulations work.

Do you have more questions on what to do if you have been denied boarding? Do you have more questions about denied boarding compensation? Feel free to ask in the comments.

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