The first and most important thing is that you must not have voluntarily given up on your seat on the airplane. In such a case, this means that you exchanged your seat for a travel voucher, miles, cash allowance on the spot so you are not entitled to any compensation. Also, there are some other cases you cannot file a claim – if you didn’t check-in time, weren’t at the exit to take the plane in time or have all the necessary travel documents (boarding pass, visa, passport, etc.) or you have endangered the safety or the health of other passengers.
In other words, your case is covered by European Regulation 261/2004 if you were denied access to the board because of a commercial overload against your will. This usually happens if the airline has sold more tickets than there are seats on the plane to compensate passengers who won’t show up for their flights.
The amount of compensation for denied boarding will vary between € 250 and € 600 and depends on the total distance between the airport of departure and the final destination. Here is, in the principle, how much you are entitled to for your denied boarding:
- 250 € for flights less than 1,500 km
- 400 € for intra-EU flights over 1,500 km
- 400 € non-EU flights between 1,500 km and 3,500 km
- 600 € non-EU flights over 3,500 km
In addition, you are also entitled to alternative transportation to your final destination. If your trip consists of more flights, the amount of compensation will depend on several factors:
All flights must be on one reservation, entitled to compensation according to the section above “In which cases are me denied access to the board?”. When calculating the distance, account shall be taken off the denied flight onboard and the flight (s) that follow it, whether operated by the same airline or not, plus previous flight/flights if operated by the airline responsible for denied boarding. When you have flights all on the same reservation, the amount of compensation is calculated based on the total distance between the start point of departure and the final destination, regardless of how many transfers are between them. The airline causing the breach is liable and must pay compensation.
A simple example: trip from Varna to Toronto with stops in Milan and Paris – all in one reservation. Then, you have been denied access to an Alitalia-operated flight from Milan to Paris which means you miss your flight from Paris to Toronto with Air France. The amount used for calculating compensation is between Milan and Toronto, though Alitalia did not operate the last flight. The amount of compensation is 600 euro.
In another case, there could be a flight from Sofia to Paris with a transfer in Milan – again, all in one reservation. There, if Alitalia is the operating airline for the first flight, the amount for compensation would be 400 euro for the distance of Sofia to Paris. But, if we had the opposite situation, another airline operating the first flight, the compensation would be 250 euro because Sofia is less than 1, 500 km away from Milan.
Keep in mind that in cases when the flights are booked separately, the airline does not owe you compensation.
What’s more, depending on the country where the airline is headquartered, there are certain time limits for filing a claim called limitation period. This means that if you have flown in or out of any of the countries below, you can file a claim for a flight that took place a couple of years ago – depending on the country.
|Czech Republic||3 years|
|United Kingdom||6 years|
In addition to the right to claim financial compensation for denied boarding, you also have other rights under the Regulation. You may be entitled to a full or partial refund of the ticket amount, plus a free return to your original departure destination or the fastest possible way to get to your final destination – if there is no such flight, the airline has to pay for alternative transport (bus, train, etc.) or new ticket to your final destination for another date.
These additional rights do not affect the amount of cash compensation the airline owes. It is not a good idea to accept travel miles or cash value vouchers. In addition to that, you must know about your right to care in case of a denied boarding.
If this happens, the airline is compelled to take care of you. Your “right to care” is an obligation for the airline to provide food and drink as well as access to phone calls and/or emails, so you can make arrangements (warn relatives supposed to pick you up, cancel a rental car, etc., as well as accommodation and transfer between the airport and the hotel, should you be delayed overnight. As it’s possible that the airline staff refuses to cooperate and to take care of you, feel free to make arrangements yourself: buy a meal, and if necessary, book a hotel room. Just don’t forget to keep the receipts: you can ask the airline to refund you afterward. Again, these rights depend on the length of the delay until your next flight.
Please, make the difference between these additional rights and compensation – they are completely separate and even if the airline paid for the hotel and food, you are still eligible for full cash benefits.
However, if the only alternative flight seats available are in a higher class than you originally purchased, the airline is not entitled to a surcharge. Nevertheless, if you were to fly in first-class and you ended up in economy class during the alternate flight, you are entitled to claim a refund ranging between 35% and 75% of your original ticket price. You can also file a claim for additional compensation. A great example of this is missed an important business meeting. The procedure for this is a little bit longer but you must not give up on your rights. Unfortunately, if you have agreed to give up you’re seat on the plane voluntarily, you cannot claim compensation.
When there is a flight the access to which has been denied in the United States, airlines have the practice to compensate passengers who do not show up for flights and to maximize their profits from the tickets sold. Particularly of the European Union, the United States laws give passengers rights in the event of denied boarding. The US Passenger Rights Regulation covers two types of denied boarding – domestic flights operated by a US airline and international flights departing from the United States. If your flight is outside the United States and you have been denied boarding, you are not entitled to compensation.
|Flight itinerary||Air Carrier||Cover|
|Domestic US flight (ex. New York to Las Vegas)||Irrelevant||yes|
|From the US abroad (ex. New York to London)||US (ex. Delta)||yes|
|From the US to abroad||Non-US||yes|
|From abroad to the US (ex. London to New York)||US (ex. Delta)||no|
|From abroad to the US (ex. London to New York)||Non-US (ex. British Airways)||no|
Please, keep in mind that you are entitled to compensation only if the refusal of access to the board was due to commercial congestion and you did not voluntarily give up your seat. If your case meets the criteria listed, the amount of compensation will depend on whether the flight is international or domestic to the US; time of arrival at your final destination if you are offered an alternative flight and the price of your ticket.
If the airline does not provide you with alternative transportation, you are entitled to 400% of the price of your one-way ticket (maximum $ 1350). In addition, if you have purchased additional services (special seats, checked luggage, etc.) and do not receive them on your new flight, the airline must reimburse you for the costs.
In case your ticket is not priced (for example, purchased with travel miles or a voucher), the compensation will be calculated on the basis of the price of the cheapest ticket sold for the same class of your flight.
It is quite important for you to keep all of the documents related to fields and/ or alternative flights – boarding pass, e-ticket, booking confirmation, luggage tag and evidence of additional costs if such occur. Moreover, the US Department of Transportation obliges all airlines to issue a document to affected passengers certifying denied boarding. It contains a detailed description of your rights.
In order to know how long after the flight you can claim compensation, you must be aware of the terms of the airline. You can check on their website. Nevertheless, whatever the case is, file a claim as soon as it happens that you can check on their site. You have to know that the airline may offer you a check on the spot – if you do not want it but to negotiate for more compensation, you have 30 days to decide whether you accept the check.
Access to international flight board denied – what to do?
Like Regulation 261/2004, the Montreal Convention of 1999 establishes common rules for the compensation of passengers on international flights between participating countries. This includes flights between the Member States as well as domestic flights within one Member State that involve a transfer to another State, regardless of whether that State has ratified the Montreal Convention.
|Country of Departure||Planned Stopover|
|From State Party to the State Party||irrelevant|
|Within a single State Party||no|
|Within a single State Party||yes, in another State Party|
|Within a single State Party||yes, not in a State Party|
Like the regulations in the EU and the US, the Montreal Convention only covers cases of denied boarding due to commercial congestion.
You are not entitled to compensation in the following cases:
- You did not check-in or weren’t at the exit to take the plane on time *
- You did not have the necessary travel documents (boarding pass, passport, visa, etc.)
- You have endangered the safety or health of other passengers
- You have given up you’re seat on the plane voluntarily
Let’s make it clear – on time means the time specified by the airline. Information about that is available on the airline’s website and on the boarding pass.
Unlike the EU Regulation, denied boarding under the Montreal Convention does not guarantee you the right to compensation, because only covers “harm” as a result. Now, this “harm” can be interpreted in different ways from different sides. Most countries recognize financial losses and physical injuries as harm, but not the psychological stress caused by denied boarding. This is also important and if you have suffered harm during or after the flight, you may file a claim for damages. The International Monetary Fund has created a special currency called Special Drawing Rights (SDR) to calculate the amount of compensation.
As of December 2019, the exchange rate is:
1 EUR = 1.10 SDR
$ 1 = 1 SDR
The Montreal Convention allows you to claim up to 4694 SDR for delayed flight damages up to 2 years after the date of the flight. So, we recommend that you file your claim as soon as possible. First of all, make sure you keep all “evidence” – booking confirmation, e-tickets, boarding card, additional costs incurred as a result of denied boarding if exist. What’s more, request a document station the reason for denying the boarding. YourFlightRights is there for you – turn your bad experience in a weapon and don’t give up your rights.