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COMPENSATION OWED BY AIRLINES IN THE EVENT OF DENIED BOARDING

What is Denied Boarding?

Denied boarding is a situation encountered occasionally by the air traveller when the confirmed ticket holder for the flight is not allowed to board the aircraft. This is also known as the passenger being “bumped”.

One of the surest and easiest methods to avoid being “bumped” from your scheduled flight is early check-in. Passengers who report late at the gate are more likely to be bumped. There are two broad types of denied boarding:

  • Voluntary denied boarding
  • Involuntary denied boarding

Voluntary Denied Boarding

In some instances when the flights are overbooked and the number of passengers checking in to avail the flight is higher than the available seating capacity of the aircraft; the airline staff at the gate would announce incentives for passengers who are willing to avail the next flight to the destination and exchange their tickets accordingly.

If you are agreeable to exchange the ticket and trade your seat on this flight, you will be considered to be counted in voluntarily denied boarding category. In return for your gesture, the airlines typically will offer you the undernoted options/benefits to choose from:

  • Re-routing on a different date at your convenience, (OR)
  • Refund of the total cost of your unused flight ticket, (OR)
  • Re-routing as soon as possible

Depending upon the situation, the airlines may offer additional incentives and the final decision to accept the offer rests with you.

Both the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) law and European Union EC Regulation 261/2004 that governs air passenger rights to provide for adequate financial compensations to “bumped” passengers.

The prudent passenger who is aware of these laws should smartly compare the monetary value of incentives offered by the airline in lieu of his voluntary relinquishment and the actual compensation amount payable to him as per existing laws if chooses not to agree voluntarily to his boarding right denial.

Involuntary Denied Boarding

The situation of involuntary denied boarding arises when the airline refuses to board the flight for which you have valid reservation and are willing to aboard. This situation could arise despite the fact that you do not pose any threat to safety, security or health risk for the carrier and you have arrived at the airport with:

  • All necessary travel documents required for completing the journey,
  • A confirmed reservation and
  • Sufficient time at hand to complete routine check-in, security and boarding procedures.

The typical offers made by the airlines to you in case of involuntary denied boarding could be any of the following:

  • Re-routing flight on a different date at your convenience, (OR)
  • The refund of the total cost of your unused flight ticket, (OR)
  • Re-routing flight as soon as possible

If you have to choose being rerouted as soon as possible after being bumped involuntarily, the airline is responsible to provide you the assistance while you are waiting for the alternate flight which should include:

  • Refreshments and meals during waiting times
  • Transfers between hotel and airport, where necessary
  • Hotel accommodation if an overnight stay is required
  • 2 telephone calls, emails and faxes.

In case the airlines fail in their responsibility to take your adequate care, it is obvious that you will have to fend for yourself and consequently pay for refreshments, meals, hotel accommodation, etc. during the waiting period.

It is strongly advised that you should carefully keep the receipts records of the expenses thus incurred by you as they will be handy while demanding its reimbursement along with the compensation claim.

While the amount agreed for such reimbursement may vary depending upon the length of waiting period, time frame, distance of rerouted journey etc., it is obligatory for the airlines to pay for such reasonable expenses incurred by you.

Total Compensation The Airlines Owes You

The financial compensations for the passengers who have been denied boarding are covered under EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation 261/2004 and DBC (Denied Boarding Compensation) statute of the US Federal Laws under Enhancing Airline Passenger Protection (EAPP#2).

The law categorically enunciates that airline should be “Handling “bumped” passengers with fairness and consistency in the case of over sales”. Airlines are expected to give priority to people with limited mobility or with health issues and those accompanying them. The bumped passengers have the right to the reimbursement of their ticket cost.

The revised US laws in 2011 (EAPP#2) for DBC increases the minimum denied boarding compensation limits to $650/$1,300 or 200%/400% of the one way fare, whichever is smaller.

However, the applicable European law covered under EC Regulation 261/2004 sets the denied boarding compensation claims as per the undernoted details. The total amount of compensation includes:

  • € 250 for all flights up to 1500 kilometres.
  • € 400 all inner-EU flights of 1500+ kilometres and for all other flights between 1500 kilometres and 3500 kilometres.
  • € 600 for all other flights that cross EU borders.

This EU Denied Boarding Regulation applies to all worldwide airlines for departures from or within the EU.

How To Get Compensation For Denied Boarding Due To An Overbooked Flight?

Claim Flights offers impeccable services and can always be of immense help if you want to claim compensation for denied boarding due to overbooking within the jurisdiction of EU laws only. Read our ultimate guide on "How to get compensation if you were bumped off for your flight?"

You can use our free claim tool to get compensation from the airlines. You just have to enter your flight details manually, and fill the claim form with reason behind denied boarding. As our database covers all the flights delayed or cancelled in accordance with EC Regulation 261/2004, it is obviously not classified as a problematic flight.

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