Denied Boarding Compensation
Passengers who arrived on time for the flight and had all travel documents in order, but got denied boarding due to overbooking are entitled to compensation.

In what cases can a passenger be denied boarding?

  • For safety, security or health reasons
  • For not having the correct travel documents
  • When a passenger didn't take a flight included in a  reservation
  • Due to overbooking or for other operational reasons

EU air passenger rights for involuntary denied boarding apply:

  • If the flight is within the EU and is operated either by an EU or a non-EU airline
  • If the flight arrives in the EU from outside the EU and is operated by an EU airline
  • If the flight departs from the EU to a non-EU country operated by an EU or a non-EU airline
  • If the passenger has not already received benefits (compensation, re-routing, assistance from the airline) for flight-related problems for this journey under the relevant law of a non-EU country.

EU rules also apply to flights to and from Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland.

Travelling from the UK to an EU country

From 1 January 2021, EU rules on air passenger rights do not apply to cases of delays to flights from the UK to the EU if the flight was operated by a UK or non-EU airline, even if the flight was booked before this date. 

EU rules continue to apply from 1 January 2021 if the flight from the UK to the EU was operated by an EU airline unless the passenger has already received compensation for an overbooked flight or other benefits under UK law.

However, UK rules on air passenger rights (UK 261) are mostly similar to EU 261 and apply:

  • to passengers departing from a UK airport
  • to passengers departing from outside the UK to an airport situated in:
    • the UK if the operating airline is either an EU/EEA airline or a UK airline
    • the EU/EEA if the operating airline is a UK airline.

One of the major differences is the replacement of the Euro value of the compensation with new Sterling amounts.

Passenger rights in case of denied boarding

If a passenger has presented themself on time for the check-in with a valid flight reservation and travel documentation and been denied boarding due to overbooking or for operational reasons and did not voluntarily give up their seat, they are entitled to:

  • compensation
  • the right to choose between reimbursement, re-routing, or rebooking at a later stage and
  • assistance from the airline

Compensation - denied boarding due to overbooking

Amount in EURDistance
2501 500 km or less
400More than 1 500 km within the EU and all other flights between 1 500 and 3 500 km
600More than 3 500 km

One should always receive compensation if denied boarding.

Reimbursement, re-routing, or rebooking in the event of denied boarding

If an airline denies a passenger boarding, it is obliged to offer a choice between:

  1. the refund for the ticket and, in case of a connecting flight within one reservation, a return flight to the airport of departure at the earliest opportunity
  2. re-routing to the final destination at the earliest opportunity or,
  3. re-routing at a later date at the passenger’s convenience under comparable transport conditions, subject to the availability of seats.


The passengers of the cancelled flight are also entitled to free assistance at the airport, which includes:

  • Refreshments
  • Food
  • Accommodation (if a passenger is rebooked to travel the next day)
  • Transport to your accommodation and return to the airport
  • 2 telephone calls, telex, fax messages, or emails

If assistance is not offered and the passenger paid for their own meals and refreshments, the airline should reimburse them, provided the expenses were necessary, reasonable, and appropriate. It is important to keep all receipts for this purpose. 

Denied boarding on Turkish flights

When the flight is overbooked, the airline will try to find volunteers to give up their seats in return for certain benefits. If a passenger is involuntarily denied boarding, they have the right to compensation, reimbursement of the ticket price or its unused part, or route change at the earliest or later date and assistance.

The compensation amount, in Turkish Lira equivalent, is as follows:

  • €100 for domestic flights
  • €250 for international flights up to 1500 km
  • €400 for international flights between 1500 and 3500 km
  • €600 for international flights longer than 3500 km

Denied boarding on Canadian flights

In case of denied boarding for the flights under Canadian laws passengers are entitled to the following: 

  • the standard of treatment
  • alternate travel arrangements or a refund
  • the compensation for the inconvenience

The compensation for an overbooked flight ranges between 900 and 2,400 CAD and depends on the delay of the passenger’s arrival to their final destination.


Why do airlines overbook flights?

Airlines overbook flights to compensate for potential no-show passengers and optimize seat utilization, in order to maximize revenue by ensuring full flights. It is legal to deny the passenger boarding, so in general, suing an airline in the case of denied boarding due to overbooking is not reasonable.

What to do when airlines overbook flights?

Depending on the following plans and connections, different options might be considered. Starting from volunteering to giving up the seat for certain benefits from the airline to discussing possible rerouting options with the possible compensation afterward.

How to claim compensation for denied boarding?

To claim for a denied boarding compensation with Compensair it is only necessary to complete a brief online form, upload required documents, and monitor emails/profiles for application updates. Passengers do not have to pay anything unless compensation is received.

Check your compensation in case you have been denied boarding:

Compensation calculator


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