Boarding denials happen more and more frequently. There are airlines that sell more tickets than seats available (“overbooking”), because they assume some passengers will not show up. The airline will first ask for volunteers to give up their seat in exchange for something else. If nobody volunteers, a passenger will be randomly picked and refused to board the plane against their will, without any reasonable grounds.
Which flights are covered under the EC 261/2004?
In order to claim compensation for a denied flight, you must comply with a number of conditions based on EC 261/2004.
- The flight is within the EU and the operator can be an EU or non-EU airline;
- The flight departs from an EU country to a non-EU country and the operator can be an EU or non-EU airline;
- The flight departs from outside the EU to an EU country and the operator is an EU airline.
To summarize, all flights departing from the EU and all flights departing out of the EU operated by an EU airline are covered under this regulation. This regulation covers 28 EU countries and also includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
In addition, the right to file a claim for your denied flight is also limited in time. The time limit to submit a claim depends on the country of the operating airline. In the table below, you can find a full list showing the time limit per country.
|3 years||Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany,
Lithuania, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Sweden
|2 years||Iceland, Latvia, Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia ,Switzerland|
|1 year||Belgium, Poland|
|5 years||France, Hungary, Greece, Spain|
|6 years||Croatia, Ireland, United Kingdom|
|No limitation period||Malta|
The right to compensation for a boarding denial
When you are denied boarding, you are entitled to either a full refund within 7 days or an alternative flight (re-routing) under comparable transport conditions. If you choose for a refund, the airline must also provide transportation back to the original point of departure. In addition, you have the right to care when you are delayed by at least 2 hours due to the boarding denial: meals and refreshments, means of communication (phone/e-mail), and even hotel accommodation and transportation to and from the hotel if you are delayed overnight.
More interestingly, you may also be entitled to a financial compensation. In this case, it must be a delay of at least 3 hours as a consequence of the boarding denial. The exact amount of the financial compensation depends on the flight distance.
|Flight Distance||Length of Delay||€|
|< 1.500km||0 – 3 hours||no compensation|
|3 – 4 hours||€250|
|Between 1,500 и 3,500km||0 – 3 hours||no compensation|
|3 – 4 hours||€400|
|> 3.500km||0 – 3 hours||no compensation|
|3 – 4 hours||€300|
When are you NOT allowed to claim a compensation for your boarding denial?
Based on EC 261/2004, the airline is not obliged to pay compensation when:
- you arrive late at the check-in counter or gate;
- you voluntarily give up your flight;
- you are refused boarding for a legitimate reason (for example due to health, safety, or inadequate travel documents).
This above points are not covered under the EC 261/2004, because they are not considered “involuntary denied boarding”.
Claim a boarding denial with Claim24
Claim24 is here to protect the rights of air passengers and claim a flight compensation from the airline. We file the claim on behalf of the passenger, get in touch with the airline, and take care of everything using inhouse legal and aviation expertise. No payments upfront, no payment if we lose, and no financial risk – we work on a ‘no win, no fee basis’. When we win, we take a 24% commission fee from the total compensation amount (incl. VAT).
Interested? Use our free claim form to find out if you are entitled to a flight compensation for your denied flight!