Your flight is booked, you pack their bags and stand at the airport ready for departure. The big shock is that you are not allowed on the flight. The reason: your flight was overbooked.
You know the problem?
If the airline has overbooked your flight, you are entitled to up to 600 euros in compensation under EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation 261/2004.
Flight overbooking means that the airline has sold more seats than are available on the plane. To ensure that planes are optimally utilized, airlines use elaborate and detailed forecasting models. To solve the problem of flight overbooking, airlines hope for volunteers to give up the flight or agree to rebook on an alternate flight. However, you may also be denied boarding against your will. In both cases, you are entitled to compensation.
Your rights in the event of overbooking
Your rights in the event of an overbooked flight or denied boarding are governed by the EU Passenger Rights Regulation. Depending on the flight distance traveled, you are entitled to up to 600 euros in compensation per person. This also applies if your replacement flight is delayed by at least 3 hours at your destination. Directly on site, depending on the waiting time, you are entitled to adequate supplies such as food, drinks and communication facilities. In addition, the airline is obliged to organize a replacement flight or another transfer, e.g. by train, or to reimburse you for your ticket costs. A claim for compensation also exists if the airline offers you vouchers, cash or flight points. The claim expires after three years.
Waiting times at airports
If you have to wait for a long time at the airport due to overbooking, you are entitled to assistance in the form of meals and communication facilities. The airline is obliged to provide you with these services. If the airline does not comply with this, travelers can provide for themselves. It is important to collect the receipts of the purchased products. If your flight has been postponed to the next day, you are entitled to an overnight stay in a hotel, including round-trip transportation to the airport.
Overbooking and business travel
The same regulations apply to business travel as to private travel. If your plane arrives at its destination more than 3 hours late, travelers are entitled to compensation. It should be noted that the private individual and not the company is entitled to this payment.
Tips before overbooking flights
Early check-inYou should have checked in at least 90 minutes before departure for intra-European flights and 2 hours for international flights. A more relaxed alternative is to check-in the evening before or check-in online.
Reservation of seatsYou have a good chance of being allowed to board a flight if your seat has been reserved in advance. However, with some airlines this is associated with additional costs.
Priority BoardingWith priority boarding, you are allowed to enter the gate or aircraft first. This minimizes the chance of being left behind.
Use frequent flyer bonusMany airlines offer bonus miles and frequent flyer programs. If you fly more frequently with a particular airline, you will have a higher status there and therefore the chance of being left behind on the ground will decrease.
Unattractive flight timesTake advantage of flight times that are unattractive. Examples are night flights or flights from Monday to Friday.