Is Overbooking Legal? What to Do When Your Flight Has Been Overbooked

Airlines usually oversell flight tickets in anticipation of passengers that do not show up. Sometimes all the passengers show up, leading to the bumping of travellers to other flights. While it makes sense for airlines to overbook, you should not suffer from their errors.


What happens when a flight is overbooked?


To some people, overbooking is a nuisance and disruption to their plans. However, others do not mind reaping the benefits of forfeiting their flight plans. When an airline overbooks and all passengers show up, they will bump travellers to other flights. Passengers can volunteer to forfeit their seat for a lucrative payoff. The rewards for voluntary bumping usually include meal coupons, cash, or flight vouchers.


Sometimes, no one is willing to abandon their seat. This leads to involuntary bumping. The airline can bump passengers randomly, or decide who stays based on the booking time and price of the ticket. Therefore, if you check in early or are a frequent flyer, you are unlikely to be denied boarding.


What rights do you have if you are denied boarding?


Every time you purchase a ticket from an airline, you enter into a contract. If they void the agreement, they should be liable for their mistakes. When you are denied boarding, you are entitled to compensation of up to €600. Besides the settlement, you have a right to care. Therefore, the airline should provide meals and accommodation as you wait for the next flight. For you to claim compensation, you need to be present at the airport in time for boarding. That means you have a confirmed flight ticket, the necessary documents, and have gone through security.


When you are denied boarding, do not volunteer to be bumped as it disqualifies you from getting compensation. Besides, the reward may not be worth the trouble. If the reasons for being denied boarding are reasonable, you will not be entitled to compensation. Justifications for denial of a seat usually include invalid travel documents, health issues or security concerns.


What should you do if your flight is overbooked?


Getting to your destination on time is essential. Therefore, being denied boarding can be an unpleasant experience. Here is what you should do when there is overbooking:


Don’t volunteer to get bumped


Do not forfeit your seat for a travel voucher. If being on your original flight is essential, you should not volunteer. While there is no guarantee you will keep your original trip, you have a better chance of receiving compensation. Besides, the airlines usually get away with giving passengers cheap flight vouchers and meal coupons. Compensation can get you a better deal.


Seek an alternative flight


When an airline oversells tickets, it has to re-route all the passengers that have been bumped. The alternate trip should be available as soon as possible or at your convenience. You are also entitled to reimbursement of airfare and the fees incurred.


File for compensation


If you are unlucky and are forcefully bumped, you need to have evidence of your bumping. It can be new boarding cards, luggage check-in, or a written document explaining denial of boarding. If you spent money on meals and accommodation, keep the receipts. With all the evidence, file a claim for compensation with the airline as soon as possible.


Every passenger has a right to compensation for involuntary bumping. GIVT can help you file a claim and get the settlement that you deserve.

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