If you've ever been waiting to board an overbooked flight, you may have been asked if you would like to volunteer to board a different one. This is a sure sign that the airline has sold tickets to more passengers than the plane can hold. Passengers may be offered vouchers as an incentive to board the alternative flight. This may seem like a great deal at the time, but did you know that volunteering to accept means you could lose out on financial compensation worth up to £520? EU legislation EC 261/2004 states that if you are denied access to a flight due to overbooking then you are eligible to be financially compensated for the inconvenience.
If you think you may be entitled to overbooked flight compensation, then you need to make sure you fulfil the claim specifications of EC 261/2004. Remember, if you are eligible, then you could receive up to £520 in compensation, so it's important to find out. You are certainly eligible if your flight took off from an EU airport. If you took off from somewhere else but landed within the EU, then the airline must be headquartered in the EU for your flight to remain eligible. Be sure that you did not volunteer to exchange your seat or accept travel vouchers in exchange for doing so.
Also, you must not have been denied access to the plane for any reason other than overbooking, such as being late or not having your boarding pass with you. The incident must have taken place less than three years ago and you must have no other claim granted for the overbooked flight. If all these conditions are in place, then you can feel confident about submitting your claim.
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.
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:
|All flights under 1,500 km||Up to £220 per person|
|Internal EU flights over 1,500 km||Up to £350 per person|
|Non-internal EU flights between 1,500 - 3,500 km||Up to £350 per person|
|Non-internal EU flights over 3,500 km||Up 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.
If you experience a flight delay or cancellation, here's what you should do:
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