Overbooked flight

Compensation for overbooked flights

Karen's and Peter's flight from Birmingham to Amsterdam was overbooked and they were not allowed to embark. Instead, they were sent via London and arrived in Amsterdam with a 3 hour delay. Their tickets had cost €215.

The passenger rights of the EU do not only apply to flight delays and cancelled flights. They are also valid if you are denied boarding by the airline due to an overbooked flight.

Why is the plane overbooked?

It is not unusual for airlines to sell more tickets for a flight departure than there are seats on the plane. This seems to be more prevalent on the popular flight routes where there is a higher percentage of passengers not showing up for departure. In cases where more passengers show up than there are seats, the airline will have to deny one or more passengers boarding.

Should I give up my seat voluntarily?

The airline will usually try to find passengers who are willing to give up their seat voluntarily against being offered something in return. The offer will most often include a redirection to your final destination with a later flight and possibly a travel gift card or other airline compensation. If the airline fails to find passengers willing to give up their seat or if the passengers are not satisfied with the airline’s compensation offer, the airline may refuse them boarding against the will of the passengers. As a passenger you should always ask the airline crew to inform you of your rights in case of overbooking and know that you are not obligated to accept their offer of compensation. If you are not satisfied with the airline’s offer, do not offer to give up your seat voluntarily.

I have been denied boarding due to an overbooked flight, can I get compensation?

Yes, if you have been denied boarding on an overbooked flight and have chosen not to accept any offer from the airline, the airline is obligated to compensate you up to €600. The amount depends on the length of your flight and your delay. Read more about this in our section on compensation.

In addition to compensation, the airline must offer:

  • A full refund of the portion of the ticket you are denied boarding to; or a return flight to your departure airport; or rescheduling of your trip to reach your destination within a reasonable time
  • Food and drink while waiting for a new departure
  • Accommodation during the waiting time

Remember to save boarding passes as well as receipts for any accommodation, food or drinks as these are needed if you want to file a claim against the airline. If you have not been told, remember to ask the flight crew why you were denied boarding.

Can I be denied boarding and not be eligible for compensation?

Yes, the airline may be in its right to deny you boarding in certain cases. It is not considered unjustified boarding rejection if you are denied boarding due to one of the following reasons:

  • You cannot present a valid photo ID
  • You have no valid visa or other entry permit
  • You checked-in too late
  • Health and safety reasons
  • That you have otherwise not complied with the airline’s terms and conditions

In such cases, you will not be entitled to compensation.

How can you help me get compensation for denied boarding?

The team behind Myflightrefund.com is ready to help you get compensation in case of overbooked flights. We just need your travel information to get started on your case. You can fill out your details fast and easy on our website and leave us to do the work for you.

If we believe you are eligible for compensation, we will send a claim to your airline. Depending on their response and response time, we can either close the case and pay out your compensation within a few weeks or months, or we may have to take the case to a national enforcement body or court. This happens if the airline does not respond to us or does not acknowledge our claim on your behalf for reasons we disagree with. Unfortunately, in cases where we have to involve a national enforcement body or court, the case processing time can be unnecessarily long, as it can take months before we have a decision. We will keep you continuously updated on developments in your case and you are always welcome to contact us for an update.

Check your compensation