Overbooked Flight

The practice of overbooking flights isn’t illegal and is relatively common. Overbooking a flight means selling more places than there are seats on the plane. Airlines gamble on the fact that around 15 to 20% of passengers on average don’t show up to catch their flight. They therefore sometimes risk selling around 5% more seats than the capacity of the aircraft.

Overbooked Flight

The practice of overbooking flights isn’t illegal and is relatively common. Overbooking a flight means selling more places than there are seats on the plane. Airlines gamble on the fact that around 15 to 20% of passengers on average don’t show up to catch their flight. They therefore sometimes risk selling around 5% more seats than the capacity of the aircraft.

Claim and compensation for overbooked flight

What the law says

If nobody volunteers to disembark, the airline is authorized, in all countries that have signed the Montréal Convention, in case of overbooking, to select passengers at random who will be offered a reasonable alternative.

What should I know about flight overbooking?

If a passenger refuses to disembark after this random selection, the use of law enforcement is possible.
Reserving a seat online does not protect you from overbooking.
Overbooking is not covered by the Compensation Fund for Customers of Travel Agents.

Examined from this angle, it would seem that there is no possible recourse. Think again!

What the law says in Europe and the United States

For all flights to or from Europe, Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 specifies that compensation up to 600 Euros (around $900) be paid to each affected passenger.

In Europe, while waiting for the next flight, the airline must take care of you: accommodation, meals, phone calls, refreshments. The airline must refund your ticket if you don’t want to or can’t wait for the next flight. When denied boarding, the airline must provide you with a written notice that indicates the methods for claiming compensation.

In the United States:

  • if the airline finds you another flight within an hour, there is no financial compensation;
  • in 1 to 2 hours, compensation of 200% of the ticket price, to a maximum of $675 US;
  • in more than 2 hours, 400% of the ticket price, to a maximum of $1,300 US.

How to file a claim for an overbooked flight

Many scenarios are possible when an overbooking occurs and you feel that you’ve been wronged or poorly compensated.

A concrete case

You’re randomly selected to disembark from an overbooked flight. Should you accept or refuse? A refusal could result in your removal from the aircraft. If you accept, you’ll have the cards to negotiate in your hands!

Don’t be like 98% of travellers.

Claim!

No passenger’s bill of rights is planned for Canada before 2018, or even later. However, you still have rights under the law. In addition, you may not be aware of all the possible reimbursement or compensation scenarios that apply to your trip.

Various insurance can be obtained through:

  • your travel agency
  • your credit card company
  • your bank
  • your employer
  • your own insurance policies

The benefit of relying on a specialist who will assist you with your compensation procedures (overbooking, cancelled flight, delayed flight, etc.) is that all possible cases can be studied with the aim of getting you the full amount to which you’re entitled.

Good to know

Air carriers are free to follow their own rules within the context of the Air Passenger Rights established in Canada in 2008. Since then, compensation amounts have been set by airlines in Canada for overbooking, and they must compensate customers up to $800.

In the event of a dispute, only mediation via the CTA (Canada Transportation Agency) is possible. These procedures may be daunting for a passenger facing a carrier alone.

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