If more people show up for a flight than there are seats on the aircraft, there is a chance that some passengers may be denied boarding. If you are involuntarily denied boarding , you could be eligible for compensation under EU law.
How airlines decide who gets on
There are several factors in deciding which passenger gets the priority to board a flight in the event that a flight is overbooked. Here are a few of the most common factors:
- Airline loyalty club status: higher tier passengers tend to be given priority to board their scheduled flight.
- Size of your group: if you travel individually, you are more likely to be allowed boarding than if you travel in a group for the simple reason that it is easier to fit one person on an overbooked flight than four.
- Personal need: the elderly, disabled, those travelling with young children and pregnant women may be provided priority boarding to accommodate their physical circumstances.
How to be eligible for compensation from denied boarding
Eligibility for compensation under EU law depends on two main factors: where the flight departed from and how you were denied boarding. For the first criterion, the flight must depart from the EU and can be headed for an EU or non-EU destination. However, flights that come into the EU from a non-EU departure point are not protected by law.
The second criterion is fulfilled if you are involuntarily denied boarding to your flight . If you voluntarily give up your seat on the flight for compensation or otherwise, then you will not be eligible for compensation under EU law. Do not, for any reason, volunteer to give up boarding if you would like to claim compensation later on.
Compensation from low-cost carriers
According to EU law, all passengers who are eligible for compensation due to denied boarding . You may be eligible for up to €600 in compensation depending on the distance of the flight:
- For flights up to 1,500 km you can get up to €250.
- For flights between 1,501 and 3,500 km you can get up to €400.
- For flights of 3,501 km or more you can get up to €600.
Downgrading due to overbooking
If your cabin class has been overbooked but a seat is available in a lower cabin class, then you may be downgraded to accommodate you on the same scheduled flight. In case this happens, the percentage that must be refunded to you will vary based on the distance flown:
- For flights up to 1,500km, 30% of ticket price.
- For flights between 1,501 and 3,500 km, 50% of ticket price.
- For flights of 3,501 km or more, 75% of ticket price.
What other kinds of compensation you may be eligible for
Depending on the airline that you are flying with, you may also be entitled to other privileges if you are denied boarding on an overbooked flight . These can include meal vouchers, class upgrades, lounge access until the next flight, or rebooking vouchers. These can vary from airline to airline so check with the carrier for more details.