Overbooked? Or Denied Boarding?

Overbooking is a common practice in the airline industry today. Airlines will commonly oversell a flight (by selling more seats than available) to compensate for passengers who do not show  up on the day of the flight.

This practice, however, creates a problem for passengers on flights where there are not enough no-shows – and therefore, not enough seats, even though the booking was reserved and confirmed correctly. In these cases, airlines will generally offer vouchers, upgrades, points or cash to passengers willing to voluntarily give up their seat and fly at a later time. Such a case is considered “voluntary denied boarding”, and therefore the passenger would not be eligible for compensation.

Specifically, under EU Regulation EC 261/04 regarding passenger rights, any passenger involuntarily denied boarding on an overbooked flight departing from an EU airport, regardless of airline or destination, is eligible for compensation of up to £510. Additionally, passengers overbooked on flights inbound to the EU operated by an EU carrier are also eligible.

What is more, this regulation also establishes compensations for flight delays, flight cancellations and missed connections.  In these cases, there is a minimum delay of 3 hours to trigger refund payments. However, in the case of involuntary denied boarding due to overbooking, the passenger is automatically eligible for compensation and the airline is still obliged to provide an alternative mode of transport or a refund of the ticket. However, passengers denied boarding as a result of travelling with invalid travel documents (or without a valid visa) will not be eligible for a refund for overbooking.

To claim your right to compensation for overbooking with Flight Reclaim, simply key in your flight data here. We’ll tell you right away if you’re entitled to a refund, and to what amount exactly. If the airline refuses to pay, we’ll even take your case to court at no extra fee. Our Europe-wide network of passenger rights lawyers has a proven track record in obtaining compensation from airlines for our clients. Once the airline has paid out your compensation, we’ll keep our sector-low commission starting from only 20% (our competitors generally charge 25% or more) and transfer the rest of your money directly to your bank account!

 Find out more about what our clients say

01) How much can I claim for overbooking?

How much you can claim from the airline depends on the distance of your original itinerary. If you were involuntarily denied boarding due to overbooking, then you may be entitled to the following refunds:

02) Which cases of overbooking are covered by the law?

Cases of involuntary denied boarding due to overbooking covered by EU 261/2004 are those where the flight departs from any EU airport, regardless of airline or destination, as well as flights into the EU operated by an EU carrier.

Involuntary denied boarding due to overbooking on the following hypothetical flights would entitle you to up to £510*.

Berlin – Frankfurt operated by Lufthansa
Berlin – London operated by Delta
Miami – Frankfurt operated by Lufthansa

The following, however, would not be covered by EU 261:

Miami – Frankfurt operated by Delta

* Estimate of fluctuating value of €600

03) How long do I have to make my claim?

According to EU Regulation 261/2004, you can claim back as far as 6 years for a missed connection resulting from a delayed flight.

04) Does the law apply only to Europeans?

No. Passengers from any nationality can claim if their flight is covered by the EU Regulation 261/2004 as described in FAQ 2.

05) How long does it take to get my refund?

For refunds for involuntarily denied boarding as a result of overbooking, we currently operate with an average case resolution time of about 100 days. However, this may vary based on the airline and the route. Cases resolved in court can take a few months.

06) How is the refund paid? How much does it cost me to claim with flightreclaim.co.uk?

Once the airline agrees to settle your compensation for the delayed flight (or a court rules that the airline must pay you the compensation), Flight Reclaim will receive the entire sum. We will then deduct our commission of 25% (plus a £25 administration fee) plus VAT and transfer you the balance, either via PayPal or bank transfer.

Once we’ve received the payment we’ll ask you for your details and preferred method of payment, and 48 hours after the payment is made we’ll delete this data to ensure your data is protected.

On occasion the airline will pay the passenger directly. At this point we will only invoice for our services once we know the compensation has been paid to you by the airline.

Find out more about what we do for our fees

07) Can I claim for additional damages?

It is generally understood that the standard compensation payment should cover additional expenses incurred by the passenger. To streamline and accelerate the claiming process, we do not accept claims for additional expenses.