9 June 2023

Overbooking Flight Compensation

Overbooking Flight Compensation

Overbooking, or selling more tickets than the number of available seats, is a practice employed by many airlines. However, things do not always go according to plan, and some passengers may encounter a boarding denial. What to do in such a situation? If you're traveling from or to Germany, familiarize yourself with your rights and find out how to apply for compensation.

Reasons for Denial of Boarding

Overbooking is a strategy aimed at maximizing the use of seats on board the aircraft, taking into account scenarios such as some passengers not showing up. If all passengers report for the flight, there may be a lack of seats. In such a situation, under Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and Council dated 11 February 2004, passengers are entitled to compensation.

Compensation for Denied Boarding

A passenger who is denied boarding due to overbooking is entitled to compensation. The amount depends on the length of the planned flight and is as follows:

  • €250 for flights of up to 1500 km,
  • €400 for flights within the EU of 1500 km and for other flights of 1500 km to 3500 km,
  • €600 for flights of over 3500 km.

The passenger also has the right to a refund of the ticket cost or to use an alternative connection.

Conditions for Receiving Compensation

To apply for compensation in Germany, one of the points of the flight check-in - departure or landing - must be within the European Union, and the flight should be operated by a carrier registered in the EU. The denial must result from the airline's decision, not the passenger's. In Germany, passengers have three years from the date of the disrupted flight to apply for compensation.

Carrier's Care

The carrier is obligated to provide appropriate care to the passenger who has been denied boarding due to overbooking. These obligations include free meals, drinks, accommodation, and the ability to make two phone calls or send two emails. Any additional costs incurred by the passenger, such as a hotel or transport, should be refunded by the carrier.

Good to Know

If the passenger does not check in on time, does not have the proper travel documents, or if the denial of boarding is justified by, for example, health conditions, the airline is not obligated to pay compensation. If the airline offers an alternative in the form of vouchers or another flight and the passenger agrees, they forfeit the right to compensation.

How to File a Claim?

The process of applying for compensation can be complicated and time-consuming. You need to gather the appropriate documentation, prepare letters and applications, and familiarize yourself with the legal provisions. Then you need to contact the airline, the appropriate authorities, and in some cases, file a lawsuit. However, fighting for your rights is definitely worth it.