Overbooked flight compensation

Sometimes, airlines overbook their flights for optimisation purposes, such as when passengers that bought tickets don’t show up for the flight and there are free seats on the plane as a result. Also, when airlines don’t sell enough tickets on a bigger plane and decide to use a smaller one for that particular flight. If flight attendants ask for volunteers to take another plane, it’s a sign that the flight is overbooked. If all passengers show up for the flight, some might be denied boarding. Airlines may offer travel vouchers, which might sound like a good deal, but it’s possible that the airline will offer you less than you are eligible to receive in compensation under EU Regulation (EC) No 261/2004.

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What are my rights if my flight is overbooked?

  • You may receive up to $665 in compensation.
  • You can get a refund for your ticket or the airline might offer you alternative transportation.
  • The airline must provide food and beverages if the flight was delayed for more than 2 hours.
  • The airline must provide you with hotel accommodation and transportation from and to the airport if your alternative flight on the next day.
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What to do if my flight is overbooked?

  • Do not voluntarily give away your seat in return for travel vouchers.
  • Keep your boarding pass and any other travel documents with you.
  • Ask airline staff why you were denied boarding in writing.
  • Ask for an alternative flight to your destination.
  • Request compensation for being denied boarding.
  • Ask if the airline will cover your meals and refreshments.
  • Request the airline to provide you with accommodation if you will be waiting for your alternative flight overnight.
  • Keep your receipts if you have additional expenses.
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Can I get overbooked flight compensation?

You can get compensated if:

  • You departed from the EU (with any airline) or arrived in the EU (provided that the airline is based in the EU).
  • You didn’t volunteer to give up your seat in return for vouchers or other benefits.
  • You were not denied boarding for a reason which was under your control (e.g. you were late at the departure gate, or your documentation was incorrect).
  • The overbooked flight was no more than 3 years ago.
  • You haven’t yet received compensation for the overbooked flight from the airline.
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What happens if my flight is overbooked and how much compensation can I get for being denied boarding?

 

If you’re eligible for overbooked flight compensation, the amount depends on two factors: travel distance and if your flight is within the EU or not.

 

Distance

Compensation

Flights 1,500 km or less

$280

Internal EU flights more than 1,500 km

$445

Non-internal EU flights 1,500 — 3,500 km

$445

Non-internal EU flights more than 3,500 km

$665

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