When an air carrier reasonably expects to deny boarding on a flight, it first calls for volunteers to surrender their reservations in exchange for certain benefits. If an insufficient number of volunteers come forward to allow the remaining passengers to board the flight, the air carrier may then deny boarding to passengers against their will, in which case it must compensate them.

Air carriers give priority to persons with reduced mobility and any persons accompanying them. In the event of denied boarding, the passengers concerned have the right to:

  • reimbursement of the cost of the ticket within seven days or a return flight to the first point of departure or re-routing to their final destination;
  • care (refreshments, meals, hotel accommodation, transport between the airport and place of accommodation, two free telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails);

compensation totalling;

  • EUR 250 for all flights of 1500 kilometres or less;
  • EUR 400 for all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres, and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres
  • EUR 600 for all other flights.

This Regulation is applicable to all worldwide airlines when departure takes place within the EU and, in the case of flights from outside the EU to a destination within the EU, only to airlines licensed in a Member State of the EU.

How to complain

Regulation (EC) No 261/2004

Your rights - A summary

You might be entitled to receive compensation for problems with air travel. If the flight is overbooked or cancelled, the passenger is entitled to financial compensation.

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