When travelling around the world, it’s inevitable that things don’t always go as planned. This is particularly true with flying. It’s wonderful how air travel has made journeys of a lifetime more tangible and affordable and the result is that many more people are getting to see different countries and the huge variety of cultures out there. However, as there are an increased number of people travelling by plane, there are more flights – meaning, the likelihood of something going wrong is now much higher. We’re all familiar with delayed or cancelled flights, but when you’re denied boarding, it can be especially confusing and infuriating.
We’ve gathered useful info on what denied boarding actually is, how to handle it and what you can get from the airline when you’re bumped from a flight.
- What is denied boarding?
Let’s start with the easy part. Denied boarding means exactly what it sounds like – you are not permitted to board the plane by the airline staff. This happens when you are ready at the airport, you’ve gone through security and are waiting – passport and boarding pass in hand – at the gate.
- Why was I denied boarding?
The most common reason for being denied boarding is because of overbooking and that’s why this flight issue is hands-down the most frustrating to go through. Overbooking is when the airline sells more tickets than there are seats available, relying on the fact that there will be a certain number of ‘no-shows’ – people who don’t turn up for their flight. When their predictions are off, they first ask for volunteers to give up their flight and if no one steps up, passengers are selected at random. There’s no two ways about it, this just isn’t fair! After all, you’ve purchased the ticket and have turned up on time for your flight – it can seem like you’re being singled out when you’ve done absolutely nothing wrong.
- Was it my fault?
If it’s because of overbooking, not at all – you were just very unfortunate. However, if you were late checking in, you’re in the wrong. Most airlines let you know the check-in deadlines when you purchase the ticket and, let’s be honest, it’s very easy to look this up online if they don’t. Other valid reasons include illness (if there’s a risk to other passengers or yourself), or intoxication. Often this is just common sense – if you have an infectious disease you shouldn’t be around other people anyway, let alone in the closed environment of a plane and it’s never a good idea to get wasted before flying!
- What do I do?
It’s easy to panic in this situation and lose it with the airline staff – but the first thing to do is calm down. Bear in mind that it is the airline that overbooked the flight, not the person standing at the gate in front of you. Plus, although it’s a horrible situation to find yourself in, there are regulations in place to help you out. Firstly, make sure the reason for being bumped was because of overbooking and hold onto all your flight documents. It’s really important to establish that you are not to blame and to ensure you have all the paperwork related to your journey.
- What am I entitled to?
Here’s the good news – finally! You actually have the option between a refund or an alternative flight, plus the airline should provide you with free meals, as well as overnight accommodation if waiting to fly the next day. You can also get compensation of up to 600 €, depending on the situation. To make claiming easier, companies like MYFLYRIGHT can take on your case for you from start to finish, meaning there’s no need to deal with the stress or cost of taking the airline to court yourself.
The next time you’re at the gate, ready to depart and you’re hit with the news that you’ve been bumped, just remember to keep in mind – don’t panic, assess the situation and get the compensation you deserve.