Rights when overbooked
Were you denied boarding? Read about your rights to receive compensation here


Passengers who are denied boarding against their consent can be entitled up to EUR 600/£540 in compensation. This also applies if the flight is overbooked and you are denied access to your seat.

You can read about your rights below if you're in doubt whether you're entitled any compensation, and how much you might be entitled.

Why would you be denied boarding?

Denied boarding may occur when an airline, seeking to maximise profits, sells more tickets than there are seats on the plane. On an average flight, there will typically be a few passengers absent. For certain departures, where all booked passengers are present, the airline is forced to deny boarding to some passengers. This is called commercial overbooking.

Boarding denials are a great nuisance to passengers who suffer lost time due to being denied boarding. With the passage of recent regulations, the number of overbookings has decreased. However, it does still happen that passengers are denied boarding against their will, and in those cases, passengers may be entitled to compensation.

It is important to note that if the passenger poses a significant safety risk to the safe operation of the flight, the airline may legally deny boarding to that passenger. In these cases, the airline is exempt from paying compensation.

Receive compensation for overbooking

In a case like the one described above, we recommend seeking professional assistance to obtain financial compensation for expenses/lost time due to an overbooked flight. You could try to take-up the legal struggle with the airline yourself, but again and again we see that airlines are often inclined to deny claims made by passengers directly. You can enter your travel details in our calculator at the bottom of the page to determine if you are likely to be entitled to compensation and how much compensation you might be entitled to.

Although the rules are relatively clear, airlines are often reluctant to pay compensation, and it can be challenging to get the full amount for which you are entitled. There are many instances where an airline have offered to compensate a passenger with a voucher (gift card), even though the passenger has the right to receive a cash payment for the full amount of the compensation.

Nægtet boarding

You are almost always entitled to receive compensation, if you are denied boarding, but do you know all of your rights?

At Refundmore, unfortunately, we hear from a large number of passengers who have been denied boarding and have then spent several hours seeking compensation for overbooking, only to be rejected or ignored by the airlines in an attempt to avoid paying compensation. This occurs even though passengers arrived at the gate in due time and are legitimately entitled to receive compensation.

It is important to know your rights when you are denied boarding so that you may recover all the compensation for which you are entitled. Refundmore offers a significant advantage for affected passengers. We are a legal partner who can put pressure on the airline and take the case to both local and national judicial bodies, so we can ensure you get the highest compensation possible when denied boarding on your flight.

How much can I receive in compensation?

Compensation depends on the planned flight distance and is divided into the following three categories:


  • 250 EUR for all flights of 1500 km or less.
  • 400 EUR for all flights within the EU of more than 1500 kilometres and all other flights between 1500 and 3500 km.
  • 600 EUR for all flights outside the EU, or above 3500 kilometres.

Additional expenses in case of overbooking

If your flight is delayed by more than two hours, you are entitled to accommodation, including lodging and meals. The airline have a duty of care and must accommodate the passengers by offering:


  • Food and drink that is reasonable for both the time of day and duration of the delay
  • Hotel accommodation, if necessary
  • Transportation between the hotel and airport, if necessary
  • Two telephone calls, faxes, or e-mails.


It is important to bear in mind that airlines are required to cover passengers' meal expenses, hotel costs, etc., even if a flight is delayed by exceptional circumstances which do not entitle passengers to compensation under EC 261/2004.

If a passenger is not offered meal expenses, accommodation, etc. in connection with an overbooking and has incurred additional costs associated with the overbooking, the passenger can seek reimbursement for those expenses from the airline. We are happy to assist with reimbursements as well.

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