Denied boarding compensation

You have arrived on time. But still they don’t let you on the plane? Most probably your flight has been overbooked and there just aren’t any free seats available anymore. In this case, unless you’ve voluntarily agreed to give up your seat and fly at a later time, you may be entitled to flight delay compensation of up to €600 per passenger.

In most of situations - when something like this happens - airline will first offer compensation in the form of vouchers or cash to anyone willing to voluntarily give up their seat and fly with another flight. If you are offered compensation like this and you agree to it, it’s called voluntary boarding denial.

And in this case you most probably will not be eligible to any other compensations.

I have been denied boarding. Am I entitled to compensation?

If you voluntarily give up your seat - then no.

What if you aren’t willing to voluntarily give up your seat, but you just don’t have any other options? Airline still have to take you to your destination or give you a full refund. Apart from that you may still be entitled to flight delay compensation of up to €600.

The rules are as following:

  • If you are flying to or from Europe* and you have been denied boarding flight because of overbooking, then chances are you are entitled to compensation of up to €600 per passenger.

What else:

  • If you are flying from a country outside the European Union your flight must be with a European airline.
  • You don’t have to be a citizen of the European Union to be entitled to denied boarding / overbooking compensation.

It does include all situations when flight disruption is the airline’s fault, such as overbooking.

If you are still unsure whether you are eligible for compensation or not, fill in our claim form, upload your boarding passes or tickets, including the new one in case you were offered another flight, and we'll take it from there.

Don’t worry, if we find out that you aren’t eligible for compensation, it will cost you nothing.

To learn more about the topic, you can read EU flight compensation regulation 261/2004 (EC 261). But be prepared that it’s gonna be a long read. And not an easy one.

  • In this case, Europe means all EU Member States and Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland.

EU denied boarding compensation: Basics

The exact amount of flight delay compensation varies and is based on the distance of your flight and occasionally some other factors. However, it’s not affected by the price of the flight or airline you are flying with. Which means that under the same circumstances in case of an involuntary denied boarding, your Air France overbooking compensation is going to be the same as someo-ne’s Lufthansa overbooking compensation.

All thanks to Europe's Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004 (EC 261).

How much compensation am I entitled to in the event of an involuntary denied boarding?

So how much exactly is your claim worth? Mostly the answer will be one of these: €250, €400 or €600. Here is how you can calculate it.

When your destination is within the European Union:

  • €250 - if the distance of your flight is up to 1500 kilometres (usually 1-2 hour long flights);
  • €400 - if the distance of your flight is more than 1500 kilometres.

When your destination is outside the European Union:

  • €250 - if the distance of your flight is up to 1500 kilometres;
  • €400 - if the distance of your flight is between 1500 - 3500 kilometres;
  • €600 - if the distance of your flight is more than 3500 kilometres.

Exception. If you are denied boarding because of traveling with invalid travel documents or without a valid visa or visas you will not be eligible for flight compensation.

How to claim compensation for a denied boarding?

One of the options is to contact the airline directly. In a perfect world you would send an email to your airline and receive compensation soon afterwards. Unfourtunately mostly it's way more difficult. And you never know how long is it going to take.

Another option - to seek legal represenation. To put it simply, ask someone more experienced (e.g. Refundor) to do it on your behalf.

When working with us all you have to do is fill in our claim form and upload your boarding pass or ticket. And that’s it. We’ll take it from there. When we are done we’ll ask you to provide your bank account details, so we can send you your funds by bank transfer. As easy as that.

Why work with Refundor

Because it makes things just so much easier. Here is how:

  1. It will save your time. In most of the situations all you have to do is to submit your information once and… wait for the money. That’s it.
  2. It will save your money. Would you sooner or later decide to search for legal advice or help to make a claim against the airline, you’ll have to cover all the related expanses yourself. How much that’s gonna cost you? It depends on a variety of things. But with us you pay only 25% of the amount of the compensation. No administration fees or tax expenses. No upfront fees.
  3. Zero risk. It will cost you nothing, if we're unable to collect your compensation for some rea-son. No win, no fees.

Let’s work together! Click here, enter all the information asked, all of what you can find on your boarding pass and flight ticket. And we’ll get the ball rolling. When we finish the job, you’ll just have to tell us your bank account details and we’ll make the money transfer. Deal?

Claiming denied boarding compensation: Frequently asked questions

How long does it take?

It may take a while, in some cases even 2-3 months. But you can rest assured, because we do finish every case we start and whenever there will be any news regarding your claim we will let you know.

Why does it take so long? A short answer would be - because no one has told airlines how quickly they should respond to such a claim. So, yes, it may take a while. Depending on what time of year it is, which airline you're claiming compensation from and, of course, the number of other people doing the same at the same time.

Speaking of the factors we can control, to achieve the best and fastest results at Refundor we use computer system that allows us to automate one big part of the process. Meaning that your claim can be sent to the airline much faster than if the whole process would be done by a human.

How much does it cost?

We pursue your compensation for a 25% fee.

No hidden administration fees or tax expenses. No upfront fees.

For example, if we will win a 400 EUR compensation for you, we will transfer you 300 EUR and keep 100 EUR for our services. Sounds fair?

At the same time it will cost you nothing, if we're unable to collect your compensation for some reason. No win, no fees.

What if you can’t get my compensation?

It’s a possibility.

As already mentioned, it will cost you nothing. No matter the reason.

How far back can I claim flight compensation?

There is no one answer to the question how far back can you claim compensation from airlines for being denied boarding. It varies from country to country. Mostly it’s at least 2-3 years.

Step by step: What to do if you have been denied boarding

So you have arrived at the airport. You are on time. You have valid travel documents and visas. But still they don’t let you on the plane?

Why? How can something like this even happen? Most probably the reason is - overbooking. It's common practice nowadays that airlines sell more tickets than there are seats on the plane.

Because always there will be someone who can’t make it or someone who changes his mind at the last minute and decides not to show up despite the fact of having a confirmed reservation. These kind of things happen and airlines try to make the most of these situations. By selling more tickets and assuming that there will be a certain percentage of those don’t show up.

  1. Don’t stress over it. Things like this happen every day.
  2. Do you have a next flight that you can’t miss? If it’s a connecting flight (note that two or more separately booked flights doesn’t mean “connecting flight” here) and because of this de-lay you are probably going to miss the next flight, don’t worry, because the airline will take care of that and most probably will put you on another flight for free. If, however, you have a very strict schedule or you have a next flight that isn’t a part of a connecting flight, inform the airline about it right away. Look for an alternative flight or flights to your destination. And if you can’t make it any other way book a new flight.
  3. Voluntary boarding denial. Is the airline offering you compensation of some form if you agree to voluntarily give up your seat and take another flight? If it works for you well, take it, because there may not be any better options. But note that after this you most probably will not be eligible to any other compensations.
  4. Involuntary denied boarding. You don’t want to voluntary give up your seat and take another flight offered or you aren’t asked anything at all. In this case you have to go to the ticket counter of the airline and ask for solution.
  5. Know your rights. In case of involuntary denied boarding the airline still have to take you to your destination or give you a full refund. Apart from that you may still be entitled to flight delay compensation of up to €600.

What else you should know:

  1. After 3 hours. If you have to wait for more than 3 hours the airline must provide you with free meal and drink plus two free phone calls, two e-mails or faxes.
  2. An overnight delay. In case of an overnight delay, when you choose a flight offered by your airline that’s going to leave only on the next day, the airline must provide you with free hotel accomodation and transport to and from it. Ask for it!

How to get a free meal and drink? What about free hotel if it’s going to be an overnight delay? Wait for the announcement from your airline or head over to their ticket counter at the airport and they will help you. They should help you.

Submit your denied boarding compensation claim now.


Have you ever had your flight being delayed? Or cancelled? Here you can learn more about flight delays & flight cancellations. And what to do if that ever happens to you.

In short - in event of this you can get both a new flight (if necessary), which can be another flight operated by your airline or you may be offered to fly with another airline at no extra cost to you, and you can also claim for compensation. That’s if in the end you reach your final destination 2 - 3 or in some cases 4 or more hours later than initially planned.

Has something like this happened to you recently or during the last years? Submit your claim for airline compensation now.