How to Claim Compensation for Denied Boarding

How to Claim Compensation for Denied Boarding?

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Last Updated on March 27, 2024 by Rick Spiegel

Many times airlines deny boarding for reasons that could be overbooking or something else. In this situation, you need to know what should be the first step in your favor. If the airline denies you boarding on your booked flight, especially in the event when it’s not your fault, then you must understand the right steps to get compensation. Yes, you are entitled to get a refund for boarding denial. But, the question arises is how to claim compensation for denied boarding from the airline.

It can be a challenging task but you just need to gain the proper information that will enable you to sue the airlines for being denied boarding without your consent. 

Get to Know When You Will be Eligible for Denied Boarding Reimbursement

Airlines support their passengers when they face any struggle because of them. According to the airlines’ rules and regulations, you can ask for reimbursement on the condition of refusal of boarding. But you can not claim for it all the time. You must be eligible for it.

  • When the airlines deny boarding because of overbooking, you will be entitled to reimbursement.
  • Also, if the airline switches your booking to a smaller aircraft.
  • If you did not accept the voucher, miles, or upgrades and the airline refuses you to board the plane, then you can apply for compensation.
  • If you have all the documents and have arrived at the gate on time, even after that airline rejects the boarding request, then you can claim a refund.

Conditions When You Are Not Qualified to Claim Compensation

There are some situations where you can not claim for compensation on denied boarding. Take a look and clear your doubts.

  • If you arrive late at the airport gate and you are being stopped for boarding the flight, the airline is not responsible for it. You can not ask for reimbursement in this particular situation.
  • Besides this, if you don’t have the required documents, the airline will not permit you to board the plane. Hence, you will not be qualified for any refund.
  • The airlines have the right to refuse the passenger to board the plane due to security and health concerns. Under this condition, airlines do not provide compensation.
  • Also, if you have voluntarily surrendered your seat and think that you can claim their refund, then you must know that you are not eligible for any reimbursement.

Ways to File a Claim When You Are Not Allowed for Boarding

You can ask for reimbursement from the airline when you are being refused to join the flight you have booked. If you are confused about how you can claim it, take the following steps and get the payment back.

Contact the Airlines Directly 

You can connect directly to the airline from which you have completed your reservation. You can call the airline, write to them, or chat with the representative and ask them about your claim. They will guide you all the claiming process and help you to solve your problem. Just make sure that you have the required documents before dialing an airline help line number. For instance:

  1. Your flight details like flight number, date, and time of the flight.
  2. Your ID and flight itinerary.
  3. Keep the reference of the law near you that talks about the compensation rights of the flyer. 

When the Airline Fails to Provide Compensation

If the airline is not providing you the reimbursement and you are feeling that they are also not taking any further steps to help you out, you can take the claim to the regulators. In the US, you can complain to the ACPD (the Aviation Consumer Protection Division). If you are tackling these circumstances in Europe and the UK, you can complain to the CAA. Both provide the contact number on their official website. You can call them or fill out the form of complaint. They will look into the issue and help you to receive the compensation you deserve.

If these methods do not work for you and you do not receive the reimbursement then you can take the final step. You can take the issue to the small claim court. But make sure that you fulfill all the eligibility and do not forget to review the air passenger rights. This way you can ask for a refund when you are not allowed to your flight.

Claim Compensation for Denied Boarding on EU Flights/ US Flights

You can claim reimbursement when you are facing a frustrating situation of being denied boarding. If you do not know how to claim compensation for boarding rejection on EU/US flights, then the following points can help. Take these steps to receive the compensation you deserve. Apart from that learn how to navigate this particular situation confidently. You can call the airlines or go to the airport to claim the denied boarding.

Keep Your Boarding Pass in Your Hand

When you miss your flight, even when you arrive on time and looking to assert a refund then you need your boarding pass for the process. You will have to provide the booking reference number to claim reimbursement. So, keep your boarding pass near you. In case you do not have your boarding pass, you can use any documents that have your booking reference number. 

State the Reason for Denied Boarding

When you are going to file a claim for denied boarding, be clear about the reason for your refusal of embarkment on the flight. The most common condition on airlines is overbooking. The airline bumps the passenger when their flight is full. Apart from this, there might be other reasons too. So, make sure that you know the cause of boarding denial. You will need to mention it with your claim. 

Ask for an Alternate Flight to Your Destination

You can demand the booking of an alternative flight from the airline when you have to deny your boarding but the fault is not yours. The airline is responsible to shift you to the other flight as soon as possible. If you do not get the flight, you will get a full refund of your reservation.

However, airlines generally book you another flight. The cost might be different from your previous flight. So, make sure that you do not lose your receipt of the payment. This will help you to claim the difference.

Fulfill the Eligibility Criteria for Reimbursement

Ensure that, you are qualifying the eligibility criteria for asserting the compensation from American Airlines. If you are fulfilling it then the airline will refund the amount you deserve upon boarding refusal.

Claim to Cover Your Meals and Refreshments From the Airline

When you have to wait for more than 2 hours at the airport, you can also ask for food and drinks from the airline. The airline will make you comfortable by providing you with meals and other essential needs. Besides this, they can also arrange accommodation for overnight stays.

If you are traveling on a US domestic flight and encounter the frustrating situation of being “bumped” because the flight is overbooked then the airline will compensate you through a check, or travel credit on the same day or will mail you within 24 hours. It’s important to know that you have the right to get repayment for being refused onboard.

Get Claim Reimbursement for Boarding Denial on International Flights

When you are traveling on international flights and tackling a situation of denied boarding, you can claim compensation there too. You will get a refund based on international guidelines.  

  • Do not volunteer to give up your seat in exchange for vouchers or perks.
  • Safeguard Your Travel Documents.
  • Seek Clarity on the Denial’s Cause.
  • Request an Alternate Flight.
  • Document Your Expenses.

What Compensation Do Airlines Provide for Denied Boarding?

You should also be aware of the amount you can receive as reimbursement when the airline denies you to board the plane. The compensation depends on the distance and the destination.

Reimbursement According to US Regulation

The flights departing from the US come under the US rules and regulations related to the airline’s compensation, whether they are domestic or international flights. Also, if you are refused to board when the flight departs from the US to Europe, then both US and EU laws will apply to it. But you can claim only through one. So, do not forget to compare that which will be more beneficial for you. You can receive 400% of the ticket price which will be limited to $1,350 and the extra fee will be refunded to you.

Delay at Arrival0-1 hour1-2 hours2-4 hours4+ hours
US domestic flightsNo compensation200% of the one-way fare can not exceed $675400% one-way fare can not exceed $1,350400% of the one-way fare can not exceed $1,350
International flightsNo compensation200% of one-way fares can not exceed $675200% of one-way fares can not exceed $675400% of the one-way fare can not exceed $1,350

Denied Boarding Compensation According to EC261

EU regulates some laws to protect the rights of passengers. While traveling on flights that depart from the EU route and tackling the denied boarding situation, you are entitled to claim reimbursement according to EU laws.

EU not only covers the European Union but also includes Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and the outermost reign. So, as it covers a large area of flights, the number of flyers also increases. That is why, The airline ensures that no passenger’s air rights are infringed upon.

Check out the following information regarding the compensation the flyer can claim based on the distance and the itinerary.

Flight Distance and ItineraryCompensation Cost
All flights 1,500km or less250€
Internal EU flights over 1500400€
Non- Internal EU flights between 1,500- 3,500km400€
Non-internal EU flights over 3,500km600€

Reimbursement in Canada

Just like the US and EU, Canadian airlines also have laws related to compensation when flyer deals with denial for boarding. They are completely entitled to ask for repayment at Canada Airlines.

On Canadian flights, the compensation is based on the length of the delay. Take a look at the amount you will be paid from the airline side when your flight is overloaded or changed and you are unable to fly.

Length of the DelayCompensation Amount
0-6 hoursCAD 900
6-9 hoursCAD 1800
9+hoursCAD 400

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I get compensation for denied boarding?

Yes, you are entitled to get compensation in case of denied boarding. The US Department of Transportation forces regulations on the airlines to compensate passenger when they have been denied boarding their flight and the fault is not from their side.  

How do I file a claim for airline compensation?

You can claim the compensation when airlines denies you boarding the plane. You can take the following steps to get the compensation.

  • Firstly, you can call your airline’s customer service line and ask them about the flight and file a compensation claim.
  • Another way is to go to customer service at the airport, tell them about your issue, and ask for a reimbursement for denied boarding.

Remember, you will receive the compensation only when the denial is under the airline’s control instead of the weather-related problem.

What is the maximum compensation for denied boarding?

When the airline denies boarding, then the compensation is your right. In the United States, the refund reaches around 200-400% of your one-way cash fare which will be up to a certain limit. Besides this, if boarding is denied due to an oversold flight departing from the US, the airline will pay you back up to $1,550 in cash. 

What are the rights of passengers after being denied boarding?

When the flyer makes a reservation for a flight and is ready to fly but has to wait or face the denied boring from the airline side, then it is their right to receive compensation according to rules and regulations. The flyer will get the reimbursement in the form of a check or cash depending on the traveler’s ticket and the length of the delay.

Can I get compensation for a 2-hour flight delay?

No, if your flight is delayed for two hours only, the airline does not provide any compensation in this situation. But you can ask for different services. For example, if your flight is delayed, you are entitled to get care from the airline side with support services.

Can airline staff deny boarding?

On airlines, flyers can be denied to board by the airline’s staff. Yes, they can refuse a passenger’s journey and remove them from a flight in case they act disruptive. So, just because a passenger had a board that does not mean they can not be removed from the flight.

What if I am denied boarding?

If you are denied boarding, the airline will provide an alternative flight approximately within an hour. They will not charge for it. However, if they find themself unable to provide you flight then the airline will refund the full amount of the ticket.

Is there a time limit to claim flight compensation?

The time limit to claim compensation changes according to region. Travelers can claim compensation for denied boarding by providing the relevant documents. Some airlines provide the window up to three years back. However, it will be in the best interest of the flyer to claim sooner.


Rick Spiegel

I'm Rick Spiegel, a dedicated traveler and writer with a passion for all things related to airline travel. My love for exploring new destinations and my commitment to helping fellow travelers navigate the skies have led me to create a space where you can find all the information you need to contact airlines and resolve air travel issues seamlessly. With years of experience in the aviation industry, I've made it my mission to provide you with expertly crafted airline travel guides, ensuring that your journeys are as smooth as possible.

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