UK/EU denied boarding compensation

This is a guide to UK/EU denied boarding compensation.

You have arrived on time. But still they don’t let you on the plane? You are denied boarding? Most likely your flight is overbooked and there just aren’t seats available anymore. In this case, unless you voluntarily agre to give up your seat and fly later, you are entitled to European denied boarding compensation up to €600 per passenger.

This applies to most flights to and from Europe.

Check your compensation online.

Had an issue with a flight recently? You might be eligible for up to 600€ compensation Check your compensation

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UK/EU air passenger rights

Air passenger rights are almost identical in the EU, EEA and UK.

That's why we may refer to them simply as European air passenger rights, and use terms like European flight compensation and European flight compensation regulation. We may also use a word Europe to refer to this whole region, where the flight compensation regulations EC 261/2004 and UK261 are in effect (both of them are almost identical).

  • With European airlines these rules apply to all flights to and from Europe
  • With non-European airlines - flights departing from Europe

1. UK/EU denied boarding compensation: Rules

The compensation rules are very simple.

If you're flying to or from Europe, and you have been denied boarding because of overbooking, you are entitled to compensation up to €600 per passenger. Because it's the airline's fault, not yours.

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 UK/EU denied boarding compensation up to €600. Yes - even if you were given a new flight for free (you should be).

Apart from that you also have the right to care.

UK/EU flight compensation basics:

  1. It applies to all flights with European airlines. If your flight is with a European airline, these rules apply to all flights departing from or arriving to airports in Europe. The same rules apply to all UK airlines.
  2. It applies also to many flights with non-EU airlines. You are protected when flying with Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, Delta, etc. If you're flying with a non-EU airline, these rules apply to flights departing from Europe. You won't be entitled to compensation for flight delay for a non-EU - EU flights, when flying with a non-EU / non-UK airline.
  3. All passengers are equally protected. These rules apply to all passengers on all flights that fall under the European flight regulation. It includes also tourists from overseas travelling to, from or within Europe. You don’t have to be a citizen of the European Union to be entitled to European denied boarding compensation.
  4. All commercial airlines have to follow these rules. Low cost airlines, full service airlines, European airlines, UK airlines, non-EU airlines, non-UK airlines. It includes also charter airlines.
  5. All of this applies to EU, EEA and UK.

1.1 Denied boarding compensation or overbooked flight compensation?

What are the differences?

In Europe there aren't any, because it's the same thing.

It's just that some call it overbooked flight compensation, while others - denied boarding compensation. It's the compensation for overbooked flight, the compensation you can get when you're denied boarding because of that (because of overbooking).

1.2 Could you be entitled to compensation?

If you voluntarily give up your seat, then no.

Otherwise - yes, you might be.

Find out if you are eligible for EU / UK denied boarding compensation Check your flight

EU Flight Compensation Rules - SUMMARY

2. Extraordinary circumstances, problems with passport or visa, etc.

When you can't get compensation from airline?

You can't get denied boarding compensation, if it isn't fault of the airline. All of the above-mentioned applies to situations when it's the airline's fault, such as overbooking. If, for example, due to some unforeseen circumstances the airline has to give away your seat to someone else, or if you don't have a valid visa for travel and you're denied boarding, then you won't get compensation for this.

2.1 Voluntary boarding denial

You may become a volunteer and fly later.

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

Mostly you won't be eligible to other compensation.

2.2 Denied boarding due to visa issues

Don't have a valid visa? Transit visa?

You might be denied boarding because of that.

This applies also to situations when you aren't entering a country, but you are only transferring through. If these are separately booked flights - self transfer flights, you may have to have a visa for that. If you don't have a visa, when you need it, and because of that you're denied boarding, you'll get no compensation. It will be seen as your fault.

Double-check the rules shortly before you travel.

2.3 Still unsure about your situation?

If you are 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 EU denied boarding compensation, it will cost you nothing, not a single cent. The same applies to UK flights.

Calculate your flight compensation for free! It takes less than 2 minutes Calculate compensation

3. EU Denied boarding compensation: How to claim compensation in the EU/UK/EEA?

The most important thing is to do something about it.

If you don't ask for compensation, most likely you won't get it. Even when it's due, and the airline knows they must be paying. The same is true with most flight compensation claims in the EU, UK and EEA. You have to make a claim to get any results.

3.1 How to claim compensation for denied boarding? For overbooking?

In Europe, you have two options.

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. Unfortunately mostly it's way more difficult. And you never know how long is it going to take. False refusals without proper explanations is a very real thing in this industry.

Another option - to seek legal representation (super easy).

To ask someone more experienced to do it on your behalf. Sounds difficult and expensive? It isn't. We have been offering such a service for years. Work with us, and you'll save a lot of time! And also nerves.

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When working with us, here is all you will have to do:

  1. Go to this page;
  2. Fill in the details about yourself and your flight;
  3. Upload your boarding pass and passport copy;
  4. Sign the claim online.

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. When working with us, you don't have to deal with the airline at all. We do all the communication and negotiations, we prepare all the paperwork on your behalf.

The best part? You pay only for result.

Calculate your flight compensation for free! It takes less than 2 minutes Calculate compensation

How much can you claim - Refundor - ENG

4. How much can you claim for overbooking?

The exact amount of denied boarding compensation varies.

It's 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 someone’s Lufthansa overbooking compensation. The same applies to all low cost airlines and charter airlines in Europe.

You don't need travel insurance for this.

All thanks to the European regulations.

4.1 So, how much can you claim?

Mostly the answer will be: €250, €400 or €600.

Here is how you can calculate it.

When your destination is within the EU/UK/EEA:

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

When your destination is outside the EU/UK/EEA:

  • €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.

The rules are the same for all passengers. No matter the age, nationality, airline, price of the ticket or travel insurance. Your under 2 years old can receive full flight compensation, too. Everyone has the same rights in the EU and UK.

4.2 Exception (you won't get compensation)

If you are denied boarding due to visa issues, you can't get compensation in Europe. If you're travelling with invalid travel documents (see our international travel document checklist) or without a valid visa or visas you will not be eligible for flight compensation.

Had an issue with a flight recently? You might be eligible for up to 600€ compensation Check your compensation

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5. Why work with Refundor?

Because it makes things much easier.

Here is how it makes everything easier.

5.1 It saves your time. Significantly

First of all, it saves your time.

In most situations all you have to do is to submit your information once and wait for the money. That’s it. No negotiations. No emails. No calls with airline. None of that.

5.2 It saves your money

Secondly, we have a simple and honest pricing.

Our fee is only €25 + 25% of the amount of the compensation. No any hidden fees. No upfront fees. And you pay only if we win -- if you're getting the money.

Doing everything yourself? Would you sooner or later decide to search for legal advice to make a claim against the airline, you’ll have to cover all the related expanses yourself. No matter the outcome of these actions. How much does it cost? It depends from case to case. But with us you always know exactly how much you are paying.

5.3 It saves your nerves

Last but not least, it's zero risk for you.

It will cost you nothing, if we're unable to collect your compensation for some reason. No win, no fees. Simplicity and transparency.

Let's work together?

Click here. This is our compensation claim form.

Fill in this one form, and we’ll get the ball rolling. When we finish the job, you’ll just tell us your bank account details. And we’ll make the money transfer. You will receive compensation in your bank account. Not coupons, but money.

Deal? It is very easy.

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6. Claiming denied boarding compensation in the EU/UK/EEA: Frequently asked questions

Most of the following is gonna be more relevant if you work with us. If you decide to make a claim yourself, it will depend from situation to situation, the experience with law that you have, and also from your experience in dealing with similar matters.

Here are some of the most popular questions we're receiving.

6.1 How long does it take?

On average it takes around 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 compensation claim we will let you know by sending you an e-mail.

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

Sometimes it takes longer.

6.2 Will you take my flight compensation case to court on my behalf?

Yes, we do that as well.

The whole process usually looks like this - we first start by reaching out to an airline and initiating a negotiation process; if it doesn't bring any results, we take a case to NEB; and the last step is court. The sooner airline agrees and actually makes a compensation payment, the sooner you receive the money.

6.3 What airlines does Refundor work with?

We work with following types of airlines (from around the world):

  • Low-cost airlines
  • Full-service traditional airlines
  • Public charter airlines

Here's a list of some of the most popular airlines that we work with. We work also with airlines not listed on this page. Just fill in our claim form and we'll get back to you. UK/EU/EEA regulations applies to all airlines operating flights from or to Europe.

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6.4 How much does it cost?

Our service costs €25 + 25%.

We pursue your compensation for a €25 + 25% fee.

No hidden administration fees or tax expenses. No upfront fees. For example, if we'll win a 400 EUR compensation for you, we will transfer you 275 EUR and keep 125 EUR for our services.

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

6.5 How far back can I claim flight compensation?

Mostly it’s at least 2-3 years.

But it depends from the local laws of the country your flight is from. In some countries it is possible to make a compensation claim for flights that are up to 5-6 years old. Hence a tip - if you want to be confident you aren't too late, make a claim asap.

6.6 The new flight was only the next day, I had to book an accommodation for the night. Can I claim extra expenses with you?

Yes, you can claim extra expenses with us.

As you may already know, in some situations airlines are obliged to take care of their passengers. That includes long waiting at the airport and last-minute flight cancellations. And if they fail to deliver that, you can cover these extra expenses yourself, and later file a claim.

We talk more about right to care further below.

6.7 What if you can’t get compensation?

Things like this happen.

On some days 1/3 of claims we receive turn out to be invalid. Other times during an investigation we find out about previously unknown details, and it turns out that you can't get compensation in this particular situation.

No matter what, it will cost you nothing.

If you don't get compensation, you do't pay.

Find out if you are eligible for EU / UK denied boarding compensation Check your flight

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7. Right to care from airline

If you have to wait at the airport, you have a right to care.

Most of the above mentioned on this page is possible thanks to the EU regulation 261/2004 and Regulation UK261. The same regulations give you right to care from airlines whenever there's a long waiting at the airport. In this case it doesn't matter what is the reason of this waiting -- airline's mistake or something unavoidable like extreme weather conditions.

Generally speaking (there are exceptions):

  • If it's a 3-hour wait, you have a right to free food and free drink. Mostly it's provided in a form of coupons that you can exchange at the airport.
  • If it's more than 3 hours and overnight, you have a right to free accommodation. Airline has to provide both a room and free transfer to and from the hotel.

Contact your airline to request this.

Or, if it's impossible to contact the airline, pay for the services yourself and then request a reimbursement. Take into account, that it's supposed to be necessities. You won't get a reimbursement for a lawish dinner and a luxury 5-star hotel stay.

Flight information screen at the airport

8. 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, yet still they don’t let you on the plane? Most likely, it's because your flight is overbooked. Why do airlines overbook flights?

It's a common practice nowadays for airlines to 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 and decides not to show up despite the fact of having a confirmed reservation. And airlines try to make the most of it -- by selling more tickets and assuming that there will be a certain percentage of those who don’t show up.

What should you do next?

Step 1 - Don’t stress over it

Things like this happen every day.

Step 2 - Do you have another flight?

Do you have a next flight that you can’t miss?

If it’s a connecting flight, and because of this delay 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.

Note that two or more separately booked flights isn't a connecting flight, it's a self transfer flight. Self transfers are less safe than connecting flights.

Step 3 - Voluntary boarding denial

You may become a volunteer and fly later.

It's not necessarily a bad decision. Sometimes it makes a lot of sense. 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.

Flight information screens at the airport

Step 4 - Involuntary denied boarding

You may not have a choice at all.

You don’t want to voluntary give up your seat and take another flight offered or you aren’t given a choice. In this case you have to contact your airline and ask for solution.

You have a right to be taken to destination.

Step 5 - You have a right to care

It's a long waiting time.

After 3 hours of waiting you have a right to care.

If you have to wait for more than 3 hours extra, the airline must provide you with free meal and drink plus two free phone calls, two e-mails or faxes. In Europe that's called the right to care. All passengers have a right to care when travelling by plane.

Step 6 - Free hotel accommodation

Let's assume, your new flight is only tomorrow.

In case of an overnight stay, the airline must provide you with free hotel accommodation and transportation to and from it. You also have a right to at least one free meal and drink from the airline. In Europe this is airline's obligation to take care of its passengers.

How to get all of that? Wait for the announcement from your airline or head over to their counter at the airport and they will help you. They should help you. Contact your airline via phone if you can't reach them any other way.

Know your rights under EC261/UK261

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 denied boarding compensation up to €600. You may have a right to all of this.

Make sure to make a claim when it's necessary.

Read more: You have been denied boarding. What to do next?

Submit your denied boarding compensation claim now.

Passengers on the plane

Have you ever experienced a flight delay? Or last-minute cancellation? Here you can learn more about flight delay compensation and flight cancellation compensation. What are your rights, and what to do if that ever happens to you. In short - often you can get both a new flight (if necessary), and you can also claim for compensation. That’s if in the end you reach your destination 2 or more hours later than planned.

The alternative flight can be another flight operated by your airline, or you may be offered to fly with another airline at no extra cost to you. Both options are equally possible.

Has something like this happened to you?

Submit your claim for airline compensation now.

To learn more about the topic, read the regulation we're referring to, here. But be prepared that the EU Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004 (EC 261) is a long read. Click here to see our summary of the same European flight compensation law. See our summary of the Regulation UK261 here.

By Europe and EU we mean all EU Member States, the United Kingdom (UK), Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Reunion, Mayotte, Saint Martin, the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland.