Air travel can be a stressful experience for many people. From the pushing and shoving at baggage claim, the indifferent attitude of the immigration officers to the pressure of boarding on time, motion-sickness, and the fear of turbulence, your entire journey can be spent in a state of anxiety. The one thing you definitely can do without is getting bumped due to overbooking.
Overbooking of flights is a common policy practised by different airlines. By overbooking flights, airlines ensure the maximum number of people are present within each flight. This is done to avoid loss of revenue incurred due to some passengers opting not to show up after booking a flight.
Why Are Flights Overbooked
Each aeroplane has a certain number of seats per flight. When the airlines know this, how can they sell more tickets than there are seats? Many airlines overbook the flights to generate the maximum amount of revenue per flight. Each empty seat per flight is a loss the company has to incur because a customer booked a seat and did not show up. When multiple seats go vacant, airlines lose money. In order to avoid this, flights are often overbooked by airlines. But how do the airlines know how many seats may go empty per flight?
Airlines make a calculation based on how many seats have gone empty per flight in the past. For example, if a flight from Madrid to Paris had eight to ten vacant seats per flight the last ten times, the airline will now overbook at least five or more seats. However, this process is not very accurate and not all airlines do this. Many times, all the passengers who booked the flight show up. In this case, some of the passengers get ‘bumped’.
What You Are Entitled To If Your Flight Was Overbooked
When a flight is overbooked, the airline has no choice but to deny boarding to some passengers. By no fault of your own, you might be asked to stay back because a flight was overbooked. Not only will this cause unprecedented delays, but it will also lead to the additional hassle of finding a new flight, extra expenses, long waiting periods, and just general anxiety. Not to mention that you have some critical work to take care of, which will inevitably get delayed too. So what does one do when they get bumped despite having purchased a ticket and reaching on time?
You can contact the employees of your airline and find out what their policy is regarding bumped passengers. Many companies offer complimentary refreshments while you wait, and some even offer phone calls. Make use of these facilities. You are entitled to a ticket refund, alternative transportation or a reimbursement in cash ranging from €250 to €600.
The amount of money you are entitled to depends on the distance that was to be travelled and not on the amount the ticket was purchased for.
Alternative Airline Offers
If the airline offers alternative options such as giving you vouchers or free air miles, consider them. Make sure only to accept the vouchers that reimburse you for a full monetary value of your ticket. Some airlines may try to swindle you out of what you are entitled to. In such a case, it is important to know your rights and options.
What To Do If The Flight Is Overbooked
The most important thing in such situations is to stay calm. Consider your options and weigh them carefully. Make sure to gather all the evidence. Get a confirmation from the flight about the change in your booking and why it happened. Take pictures of your ticket, boarding pass, and any other documentary evidence that might be relevant.
You should also use their facilities, receive refreshments and inquire about their policy regarding bumped customers. If you have a booking confirmation, and you checked in on time, and after that are denied entry due to airline overbooking, you are entitled to monetary compensation as per the law. If you are confused about whether you can receive money or want to know your rights as a bumped passenger, you can visit our page and read up on all the latest regulations regarding flight rebooking and even make use of the free compensation calculator to know how much money you might be entitled to receive!