Denied boarding might not be as common as flight delays and cancellations, but it happens. If, for any reason, the airline doesn’t let you board your flight, you must know the next steps to take by first understanding what your rights are. You may be entitled to denied boarding compensation and can make a claim.
What Does it Mean to be Denied Boarding?
If you are at the airport and present a valid booking ticket but are not allowed to board, this can be considered denied boarding. As long as the reason for being denied didn’t have anything to do with you. Most common situations where this happens include when the flight is overbooked; when the passenger is rebooked on another flight without being informed prior; or when the airline doesn’t let passengers board even though the flight is still taking place. Finding yourself in any of these situations means you can exercise your right under the EU 261/2004 regulation.
This regulation only applies if you are denied boarding against your will and consent. This is provided you checked in at least 45 minutes before the departure time and did not do anything that would warrant being prevented from boarding.
Denied boarding can, however, be voluntary or involuntary. For voluntary denied boarding, the passenger is willing to be rebooked on another flight or give up their seat for someone else. This is with your consent, so there will be no compensation in this case. For involuntarily denied boarding, the airline chooses who to deny boarding if they do not find anyone willing to give up their seats. In this case, you are entitled to compensation under the EU 261 law.
What Are You Entitled to if You’re Denied Boarding?
As an air passenger under EU law, you are entitled to compensation between €250 and €600. You should also have immediate access to food and drinks provided by the airline. You can further request to have your ticket fully refunded or get a replacement flight at no cost to you.
If you find yourself in such a situation, reach out to the airline to find out why. You may also get the reason in a written format, as you might need it to claim your compensation later. Gather all your documents, including receipts and vouchers, that might help in getting fully compensated.
As long as you have a valid booking in an EU airline, or you are flying to or from an EU member state, this law applies to you. This is not in any way dependent on the price of the flight ticket or whether the flight was part of a package vacation or a business trip.
The exact amount you get depends on the flight distance. For a short distance of up to 1500 km, you get €250; for a medium distance of 1500 km to 3500 km, you get €400; for a long distance of over 3500 km, you get €600.
If you are not aware of your rights, it’s easy to dismiss this as nothing and not claim your compensation. However, now that you know your rights under the EU law, you can go ahead to claim your compensation and can even make claims retroactively for up to 3 years.