UK denied boarding compensation

This is a guide to UK denied boarding compensation.

If you arrive on time for your flight but are still not allowed to board, it's possible that the flight has been overbooked and no seats are available. Overbooking is a common occurrence in air travel industry as well as in travel industry in general. In this case, unless you voluntarily agree to give up your seat and fly later, you may be entitled to receive UK or EU denied boarding compensation of up to GBP 520 per passenger.

The regulations in the UK are very similar to those in the EU.

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 air passenger rights

Air passenger rights are almost identical in Europe (EU, EEA, UK).

That’s why on our website we often refer to them as European air passenger rights. We also have an in-depth guide on UK/EU denied boarding compensation. So, look at this guide here as a summary of the in-depth guide we have created — a summary with a focus on the UK.

Air passengers have rights under the EU Regulation 261/2004, which has been adopted into UK law after Brexit, and is known as the Regulation UK261. Both of these regulations protect passengers in the event of flight delays, cancellations, and denied boarding. Passengers departing from airports in the UK or arriving in the UK are covered by these rights.

Here’s how and when the laws apply to you:

  • In case of UK airlines, these rules apply to all flights to and from the UK
  • In case of EU airlines, these rules apply to all flights to and from the UK, as well as EU
  • With non-European airlines — flights departing from Europe or the UK

When you claim denied boarding compensation, there are cases when you can refer to either UK or EU laws, but sometimes you can only refer to one. If you have a connecting flight, remember that your final destination (last stop) is the relevant destination for the claim, not the layover city. Your destination is your final destination.

1. UK denied boarding compensation: Rules

Denied boarding compensation rules are very simple.

If you're flying to or from the UK, and you have been denied boarding because of overbooking, you are entitled to UK denied boarding compensation of up to GBP 520. Because you were denied boarding due to the airline’s fault, and according to the European regulations, you have to be compensated.

If you are unable to (or simply, don’t want to) give up your seat voluntarily and you are still denied boarding, the airline is still obligated to transport you to your destination or provide a full refund. In addition, you may also be eligible for European denied boarding compensation, which can be up to GBP 520, even if you were given a new flight for free (as you should be).

Apart from that you also have the right to care.

UK flight compensation basics:

  1. It applies to all flights operated by UK airlines (British Airways, easyJet, etc.). This means that if you are flying to or from the UK with any of these airlines, the rules will be applicable. For instance, if you are flying from Singapore to London on British Airways, you can get compensation because British Airways is a UK airline and the rules apply to all of its flights.
  2. Similar regulations apply to EU airlines. If your flight is with a EU airline, these rules apply to all flights to and from the EU, including their UK flights.
  3. It applies also to non-UK, non-EU airlines. These rules apply to airlines registered outside the UK and EU as well. If you are flying with such an airline, you can seek compensation for flights departing from Europe. For instance, if you have been denied boarding due to overbooking on a Qatar Airways flight from London to Doha, you may be eligible for compensation from the airline.
  4. All passengers are equally protected. It includes tourists travelling to, from or within the UK. Everyone is covered by the rules of UK flight regulation/EU flight regulation. UK flight compensation is available to all passengers, regardless of their citizenship status.
  5. All commercial airlines have to follow these rules. The regulations mentioned apply to all commercial airlines operating within, to, or from the UK, including charter airlines like TUI and low-cost airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet.

1.1 When you can get compensation from the airline

You are entitled to compensation if:

  • You are denied boarding due to overbooking
  • You are denied boarding involuntarily (more on this below)
  • You are flying with a UK or EU airline
  • It’s not a EU/UK airline, but the flight departs from the UK/EU

1.2 When you can’t get compensation from the airline

There are situations when you can’t get denied boarding compensation:

  • You are denied boarding due to your own fault — you have no visa or onward ticket, when it’s required, or your passport is about to expire
  • You are denied boarding voluntarily (you agree to give up your seat and travel later)
  • You are flying with a non-EU/non-UK airline, and your flight arrives in the UK

Even if you are not eligible for compensation, it's important to remember that you might still be entitled to care, except in cases where you are denied boarding due to your own fault. Further details on this can be found below. It's worth a read, because most of people are unaware of this — you may also not know this.

1.3 Denied boarding compensation or overbooked flight compensation?

Is there a difference between denied boarding compensation and overbooked flight compensation? In the UK and the EU, they are the same thing.

Some refer to it as compensation for an overbooked flight, while others call it denied boarding compensation. It's the same compensation you can receive when you're denied boarding due to overbooking (involuntarily) through no fault of your own.

2. How to claim UK denied boarding compensation?

How to claim UK denied boarding compensation?

2.1 You can do it by yourself

If you have been denied boarding, you can try contacting the airline directly to claim compensation. You can send an email to their customer service or use the compensation claim form on their website. However, it's important to note that this process may not be easy and may take some time and effort.

Don't be surprised to be getting a refusal.

2.2 Work with Refundor

Another option is to work with us (i.e., to seek legal representation).

We offer such a service, both in the EU and UK. To work with us, you just need to have your passport or ID and boarding pass or flight confirmation available. Then, you can fill out one form and we will take care of the rest on your behalf.

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

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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.

This is all you need to do; we’ll take it from there.

Read more: How to claim UK flight compensation?

3. How much is denied boarding compensation in the UK? How much can you claim?

The compensation you are eligible to claim is determined by the distance of your flight, similar to the regulations in the EU. The greater the distance you are travelling, the higher your claim amount will be from the airline. The cost of your ticket and insurance coverage are not factors in this calculation — they don’t matter at all.

Compensation amounts for denied boarding in the UK:

  • 1,500 km or less (mostly 1-2h) — GBP 220
  • Between 1,500 km and 3,500 km - GBP 350
  • Greater than 3,500 km - GBP 520

As the flight distance increases, the compensation amount also increases accordingly. The further you are travelling to, the bigger will be your flight compensation in the UK/EU.

Denied boarding compensation for old flights? It’s possible

3.1 Exception (you can receive only 50%)

There is an exception to the compensation amounts.

It only applies to long-haul flights that are typically at least 4-5 hours long. If your flight exceeds a distance of 3,500 kilometers and you arrive at your final destination with a delay between 3 to 4 hours, the compensation amount will only be GBP 260 instead of GBP 520.

4. How long does it take to get UK denied boarding compensation?

What is the typical waiting time to receive UK denied boarding compensation?

It usually takes a few months for the funds to be sent to your bank account. Although airlines are required by law to pay compensation promptly, it may not seem very prompt to wait two to three, or even more months. While some individuals are fortunate enough to receive their compensation in a matter of weeks, it is best not to have high expectations — most people wait for around 3 months before receiving any payment, sometimes 6+ months.

Do not anticipate receiving compensation right away, as it requires time.

It is the same with flight delays and cancellations.

Read more: 

Had an issue with a flight recently? You might be eligible for up to £520 compensation Check your compensation

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5. Right to care in the UK

What does “right to care” mean?

Passengers in the EU and the UK are protected under the EU Regulation 261/2004 and the UK 261, respectively. If your flight is delayed or cancelled, or you have been denied boarding due to overbooking, you have a "right to care". This means you are entitled to certain rights as a passenger such as assistance with food, lodging, and transportation from the airport.

If you have to wait at the airport, your airline has to take care of you.

  • If you have to wait for 3 hours, you are entitled to receive free food and refreshments. Usually, you will receive coupons that can be exchanged for these items at the airport.
  • If your flight delay exceeds 3 hours and is during the night, the airline is obligated to provide free accommodation. This includes a room as well as transportation to and from the hotel.

Or you can pay for the services yourself and then request a reimbursement.

To get any of the above-mentioned, start by contacting the airline and requesting the services you need. If you are unable to get in touch with anyone or your requests are not fulfilled, then pay for the additional costs like meals or hotel rooms yourself. Make sure to keep the receipts and make an extra expenses claim later. Remember that expenses for extravagant items such as fancy dinners or luxurious hotel stays will not be eligible for reimbursement.

Has something like this happened to you?

Submit your claim for UK denied boarding compensation.

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.

Featured photo by Matt Key