9 June 2023

Overbooking Flight Compensation

Overbooking Flight Compensation

Overbooking, or selling more tickets than there are available seats, is a common practice among many airlines. However, not everything always goes according to plan, and then some passengers may be denied boarding. What to do in such a situation? Learn about your rights and find out how to apply for compensation.

Reasons for Denial of Boarding

Overbooking aims to maximize the use of seats on board the aircraft, considering situations when some passengers do not show up at the airport. Nevertheless, if all travelers arrive on time, some of them may run out of seats. In such a situation, according to Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of February 11, 2004, they are entitled to compensation.

Compensation for Denial of Boarding

A passenger who has been denied boarding due to overbooking is entitled to compensation. Its amount depends on the length of the planned flight and is:

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

Passengers also have the right to a refund of the ticket cost or to use an alternative connection.

Conditions for Receiving Compensation

To apply for compensation, one of the points of flight check-in - departure or landing - must be located in the European Union, and the flight should be operated by a carrier registered in the EU. Furthermore, the denial must be due to the airline's decision, not the passenger's. In Poland, passengers have one year from the date of the disrupted flight to apply for compensation.

Carrier Care

In case of denial of boarding due to overbooking, the airline is obliged to provide appropriate care for the passenger, including free meals, drinks, accommodation, or the ability to make two calls or send emails. All additional costs incurred by the passenger as a result of the denial of boarding, such as accommodation in a hotel or transport, should be refunded by the carrier.

Good to Know

In situations where the passenger does not show up on time for check-in, does not have the appropriate travel documents or the denial of boarding is justified e.g. by health condition, airlines do not have to pay compensation. Moreover, if the airline offers the passenger an alternative in the form of vouchers or another flight and the passenger agrees to it, they do not have the right to compensation.

How to Make a Claim?

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