You have indeed heard about overbooking before, as it is a common practice in the modern airline industry. In particular, it means that an airline sells a bigger amount of tickets than the actual number of seats available to compensate for passengers who don’t show up on the day of the departure.
There’s, of course, a flipside – problems occur when all the passengers show up and a part of them don’t get a seat even though the booking was confirmed correctly. The best case is when some people voluntarily give up their reservations to fly later, which is considered “voluntary denied boarding”. Such passengers get numerous compensatory perquisites as vouchers, cash, miles, free upgrades yet they cannot legally claim ticket compensation for flight overbooking. However, it also happens that no passengers agree to fly later – and that’s when the time comes to get acquainted with “involuntarily denied boarding” when airlines are forced to bump some passengers to a later flight. In this case (if the flight is within EU jurisdiction), any passenger involuntarily denied boarding on a flight departing from an EU airport, regardless of airline or destination, is eligible for airline compensation of up to €600. Likewise, if an EU carrier operates the flight, overbooked passengers can legally claim compensation for airline Overbooking.
In the cases of delays and cancellations, passengers have to deal with numerous conditions to even claim compensation, and claiming does not always mean you will actually get recompenses. But in the case of involuntarily denied boarding, overbooked passengers are automatically eligible for airline compensation. As well, the airline is still obliged to provide alternative modes of transport or a 100% refund of the ticket.
Being bumped from a planned flight is an unpleasant occasion. Nonetheless, you should remain calm and react as follows:
1. Talk to consultants of your airline. They will notify you of alternative flights and provide additional information.
2. Don’t forget about acquiring written evidence of your denied boarding. Otherwise, you will likely be rejected to get compensation. It may be in the form of your new boarding cards (if such were printed) or your luggage receipts. You can also have airline staff put your circumstances in writing.
3. It’s extremely important to keep all the receipts to receive compensation from the airline for accommodation, food, transportation, or any other services.
Consider the exception: Passengers denied because of traveling with invalid travel documents or without a valid visa will not be eligible for a refund for overbooking. That is why you should keep an eye on your documents.
As a conclusion, we would like to remind what you get in case of denied boarding: 100% ticket refund, a re-routing, and compensations for services during the waiting period. Do not get stressed! If the airline rejects your claims, use compensation claiming services to get everything you legally deserve.