Denied Boarding Compensation

So you arrived at the airport check-in, but you were denied boarding your flight? There is a high chance your flight has been overbooked. Denied boarding is either voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary denied boarding is when you agree to exchange your seat on an oversold flight for other perks such as hotel rooms, vouchers, or plane travel credits. When you are bumped off the plane willingly or agree to sell a flight seat, you are not eligible for compensation. Involuntary denied boarding happens when your confirmed seat is exchanged without your consent. Because you miss boarding unwillingly, you automatically become eligible for reimbursement so long as you weren't posing health, security, or safety risks to the airport.

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What happens when you are denied boarding your flight?

Denied boarding compensation can only take effect if you arrive at the airport with the right travel documents and a confirmed ticket. More importantly, you have to be at the check-in desk on time. It is the responsibility of the air service to re-route your flight at the earliest possibility or refund your airfare within 7 working days if you choose not to travel.

Perhaps you arrived at your destination more than 3 hours later than planned or the operating airline never provided a concrete rationale for denying you boarding on your original flight. In line with Regulation EC 261/2004, you may claim a denied boarding compensation of up to £520. You also have the right to ask for various essentials if you are stranded at the airport for more than 2 hours. They include hotel accommodation if you are staying at the airport overnight, free meals and refreshments, access to communication (email, 2 telephone calls, fax, or telex), and transport from the airport to the hotel. If these rights to care are not granted, you can make your own arrangements but keep the bills and receipts to claim back later.

AirHelp is here to help you get compensation for flight delays and cancellations. Find out what you could be entitled to.

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About AirHelp

AirHelp is the world's largest air passenger rights organisation, here to help air travellers secure compensation for delayed, cancelled, or overbooked flights .

We make claiming compensation easy and stress-free. Whether you are unsure of your rights, lack the time, or simply want an expert to handle your entire claim for you, AirHelp can help you get what you are rightfully owed.

We operate on a no win, no fee basis, so you can check your compensation risk-free.


Claiming Compensation for Flight Delays and Cancellations

How do you know when you should claim compensation for a delayed or cancelled flight? Though the law can be complicated, we're here to break it down for you:

Delayed flights: you may be able to claim compensation if your flight arrived 3 hours or more late.
Cancelled flights: you may be eligible for compensation if your flight was cancelled less than 14 days before it was due to depart.
Overbookings: you are owed compensation any time you are denied boarding through no fault of your own — so long as you didn't voluntarily give up your seat.

We should note that if extraordinary circumstances were involved, arirlines are under no obligation to pay compensation. Examples of extraordinary circumstances include bad weather, travel restrictions, and air traffic control strikes. Though these situations cause delays and cancellations, the airline isn't at fault, so can't be expected to offer compensation.

Remember these are European flight regulations and so only apply to flights departing from an EU airport, or flights landing in the EU with a European airline. The table below makes it clear which flights are covered:

Claim up to £520 in compensation if your flight has been delayed, cancelled, or overbooked within the last 3 years.

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How Much Flight Compensation?

DistanceCompensation
All flights under 1,500 kmUp to £220 per person
Internal EU flights over 1,500 kmUp to £350 per person
Non-internal EU flights between 1,500 - 3,500 kmUp to £350 per person
Non-internal EU flights over 3,500 kmUp to £520 per person

Table shows values in € as specified in EC 261

In some circumstances the compensation amount may differ from the standard amounts shown above. The easiest way to find out what you’re owed is to use our Compensation Check.


What to Do if Your Flight is Delayed or Cancelled

If you experience a flight delay or cancellation, here's what you should do:

  • Hold onto your boarding pass and other travel documents.
  • Ask why the flight was delayed or cancelled.
  • Request food, drinks, and if necessary, free transport and hotel accommodation.
  • If you had a cancelled flight, ask for an alternative flight or a refund.
  • Keep all receipts of any extra expenses you may have had, including necessary food, clothing, etc.
  • Be careful not to sign any waivers or accept vouchers that will require you to waive your right to compensation.

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AirHelp is a part of the Association of Passenger Rights Advocates (APRA) whose mission is to promote and protect passengers’ rights.

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