Overbooked Flight Compensation

Make sure you know your rights as an air passenger in case your flight is overbooked, and take advantage of the services offered by our Top 5 flight claim companies to receive compensation under EU Regulation EC 261.

Getting bumped from an overbooked flight

Airlines sometimes sell more tickets than available seats on a flight, which can lead to overbooking. If flight attendants are asking for volunteers to take another plane, it is a sign – flight is overbooked. If all passengers attend the flight, some may be denied boarding or “bumped” off the flight. Airlines may offer travel vouchers to volunteers, but be aware that you may be entitled to more compensation under European Union (EU) Regulation EC 261.

What are my rights if the flight is overbooked?

  • You may receive up to £530/€600 compensation. 
  • You could get a refund or an alternative flight.
  • Food and drinks must be provided by the airline after 2 hours of flight delay.
  • If your alternative flight is the next day, the airline should provide you with hotel accommodation and transfer to and from the airport.

What to do if your flight is overbooked?

  • Don’t volunteer to give up your seat for vouchers.
  • Keep your boarding pass and other travel documents with you.
  • Ask the airline staff in writing why you were denied boarding.
  • Request an alternate flight to your destination.
  • Request compensation for denied boarding due to overbooking.
  • Ask the airline if meals and refreshments will be provided.
  • Request the airline to provide accommodation if waiting overnight for an alternative flight.
  • Keep your receipts for additional expenses.
  • Use our flight compensation calculator to check how much overbooked flight compensation you are eligible for.

Can I get overbooked flight compensation?

You can receive flight overbooking compensation if:

  • You left from the EU or arrived at the EU with an EU-based airline.
  • You did not volunteer to give up your seat for vouchers or perks.
  • You were not denied boarding due to your fault.
  • The overbooking incident occurred within the last 3 years.
  • You have not received compensation from the airline yet.

What happens when a flight is overbooked and how much compensation for denied boarding can I get?

Flight overbooking can result in passengers being denied boarding despite having a valid ticket. In such cases, you may be eligible for compensation up to £530/€600 under the European Union Regulation EC 261 if your flight departs from the EU or if it is operated by an EU-based airline and your destination is within the EU.

If your flight is overbooked, you should request an alternative flight to your destination, ask why you were denied boarding in writing, and request compensation for the inconvenience. It is also important to keep your boarding pass and any other travel documents with you, as well as any receipts for additional expenses incurred due to the overbooking. You may be entitled to reimbursement for expenses such as hotel, rental car, or other unexpected costs.

The amount of overbooked flight compensation depends on two factors: travel distance and if your flight is within the EU or not:

Flights 1,500 km or less£220/€250
Internal EU flights more than 1,500 km£350/€400
Non-internal EU flights 1,500 km – 3,500 km£350/€400
Non-internal EU flights more than 3,500 km£530/€600

You may check how much overbooked flight compensation you may be entitled to with our flight delay compensation calculator.

What’s the difference between overbooking and denied boarding?

Airlines sometimes sell more tickets than there are seats on a plane, this is called overbooking. Why do airlines overbook flights? They do it because not all passengers show up at the airport. However, sometimes airlines get it wrong and passengers with valid tickets may be denied boarding. If you are denied boarding and it’s not your fault, you may receive compensation according to EU Regulation EC 261. If it is your fault, such as arriving too late or not having the right documents, you won’t be eligible for compensation.

Voluntary boarding denials are not covered

If you agree to give up your seat for a refund or other benefits, you won’t be eligible for compensation under Regulation EC 261. This means that if you choose to volunteer to give up your seat, you cannot claim compensation for being denied boarding. Additionally, if you create any safety concerns or don’t have the proper documentation to board the plane, you will lose your right to receive compensation. Similarly, if you are late to board the flight, you will also not be eligible for compensation. It is important to note that only involuntary denied boarding is covered under the EU Regulation, and voluntary denied boarding is not.

For which flights can I get overbooked flight compensation under EC 261?

If your flight departs from or arrives at an EU airport, including Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and certain distant regions, you may be eligible for compensation for an overbooked flight. However, if the airline is based in the EU, flights outside the EU may also be eligible.

How can I get overbooked flight compensation?

If you are denied boarding due to flight overbooking, you are entitled to receive compensation right away at the airport. The compensation includes being re-routed to your destination on an alternate flight. If you miss the opportunity to receive compensation at the airport, don’t worry. You can still make a claim through a flight claim company. Check out our list of Top 5 agencies for assistance with your claim.

Overbooked flight: reimbursement or re-routing?

You have the choice of the following options when you were denied boarding due to overbooked flight:

  • Refund or partial refund of the initial ticket price and return to the point of departure if needed.
  • Alternative transport within a reasonable time frame.
  • Alternative transport at a later date.

Transport between airports has to be arranged at the cost of the airline.

Air passenger rights: food, drinks and accommodation

If you’ve been bumped from a flight due to overbooking, you have certain rights under Regulation EC 261. If the delay caused by the overbooking lasts more than 2 hours, the airline must provide food, drinks, and access to internet, telephone, or fax services. If you need to stay overnight, the airline must also provide you with hotel accommodation and transportation to and from the airport. If you weren’t able to claim compensation at the airport, you can still seek help from a flight claim company to get the compensation you’re owed.

What happens if I get a higher or lower class seat on the alternative flight?

You don’t have to pay additionally when you get a higher class seat on your alternative flight. When the alternative flight seat offered by the airline is the lower class you may get 30 – 75%  reimbursement of your price you paid for the ticket.

How to claim airline overbooking compensation?

For many passengers, claiming compensation for a denied boarding can be a hassle. That’s where Readnpick.com comes in. We make the process quick and easy. Just choose a flight claim company from our Top 5 list, fill in some details about your flight on their compensation form, and you’re on your way. You can even use our free flight delay compensation calculator to see how much you might be owed.