What are your rights when you are denied boarding

  1. What are your rights when your flight is delayed
  2. What are your rights when you are denied boarding
  3. What are your rights when your flight is cancelled
  4. What are your rights when you are downgraded
  5. How to claim and overview

This is the second post on EU261 which states the rights travellers have when flying. This post will outline what happens when you are denied boarding. Most airlines oversell flights as they expect a certain percentage of passengers to be no-shows. In the case where more passengers turn up than there are seats on the aircraft the airline will need to offload the excess passengers. EU261 states that before the airline can involuntarily deny boarding to passengers they must solicit volunteers to give up there seat on the flight in exchange for benefits. In the case of voluntary denied boarding, the benefits are to be agreed between the passenger and the airline. It is important to use the compensation for a involuntary denied boarding as a baseline when negotiating compensation.

Compensation is not due in the case of denied boarding where there are reasonable grounds to deny boarding, such as reasons of health, safety or security, or inadequate travel documentation. The compensation payable in the case of denied boarding depends on the length of delay and the length of the flight.

Voluntary Denied Boarding

 

If you volunteer to give up your seat on the aircraft you are still entitled to benefits listed in Article 8 in addition to agreed compensation with the airline.

  1.  You can chose not to take the flights in which case you are entitled to:
    • Reimbursement within 7 days for the full cost of the flights not taken and for the part of the journey already taken if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the original travel plans AND
    • When relevant a return flight back to the first point of departure at the earliest possibility.
  2.  You can chose to be rerouted to your final destination in which case you are entitled to:
    • Rerouting to the final destination under comparable transport conditions at the earliest possibility OR
    • Rerouting to the final destination under comparable transport conditions at a later date at the passengers connivence subject to availability.

Involuntary Denied Boarding

 

If you are involuntarily denied boarding you are entitled to benefits listed in Article 7, 8 and 9 of the regulation

Article 7

Article 7 deals with the compensation due when you are denied boarding. The compensation depends on the length of the delay in reaching your final destination and the length of your flight. This compensation is due immediately. This is made very clear in Article 4 of the regulations “If boarding is denied to passengers against their will, the operating air carrier shall immediately compensate them in accordance with Article 7 and assist them in accordance with Articles 8 and 9.

Distance Delay Compensation
<1,500KM < 2 hours €125
<1,500KM > 2 hours €250
1,500KM – 3,000KM < 3 hours €200
1,500KM – 3,000KM > 3 hours €400
>3,500KM* < 4 hours €300
>3,500KM* > 4 hours €600

*Excludes Intra-Community (EU) Flights. Intra-Community flights are compensation at the 1,5000KM-3,000KM rate even if longer than 3,000KM

Article 8

Article 8 explains the choice a passenger has between either accepting the rerouting or refusing and receiving a refund.

  1. You can chose not to take the flights in which case you are entitled to:
    • Reimbursement within 7 days for the full cost of the flights not taken and for the part of the journey already taken if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the original travel plans AND
    • When relevant a return flight back to the first point of departure at the earliest possibility.
  2.  You can chose to be rerouted to your final destination in which case you are entitled to:
    • Rerouting to the final destination under comparable transport conditions at the earliest possibility OR
    • Rerouting to the final destination under comparable transport conditions at a later date at the passengers connivence subject to availability.

Article 9

This article refers to the ‘care’ you are entitled to should you be denied boarding.

You are entitled to the following free-of-charge:

  1. Meals and refreshments in a reasonable relation to the waiting time
  2. If the delay results in an overnight stay, you are entitled to a hotel accommodation and transport to the accommodation from the airport.
  3. Two phone calls, telex or fax messages, or emails

 

There are things to keep in mind that apply to all aspects of EU261 which I outlined on my first post. Only flights departing from the EU -or- arriving into the EU AND operated by an EU airline are covered by this regulation. The compensation seems fair enough in the case of denied boarding however, the fact the compensation is the same whether you are delayed 4 hours or 24 hours for long haul seems a bit off. Although, if they stagger the compensation due more it will just add more confusion to the matter. If the airline is looking for volunteers to miss the flight make sure you negotiate well. I would expect at the minimum the compensation amounts listed above and would normally try to wrangle an upgrade thrown in as well.

I’ve heard of a guy flying Dublin – London – New York on British Airways. The flight was overbooked Dublin – London. Instead they put him on Dublin – Manchester – New York on Aer Lingus and American Airlines. He arrived into New York 20 minutes earlier than he was due. He maintains he is entitled to compensation, I say he isn’t (this is where the idea of these posts came from). I’ve reached out for clarification on the matter. I believe the clause ‘final destination’ means the destination on the ticket presented at the check-in counter or, in the case of directly connecting flights, the destination of the last flight; alternative connecting flights available shall not be taken into account if the original planned arrival time is respected;  excludes this incident from compensation. However, I am by no means a lawyer. I will update once I hear back from the CAR.

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