16 May 2017

Getting ‘Bumped’ – The Overbooked Flight Scandal And What You Can Do About It

Airport QueuesSo you’ve booked your flights, scoured through countless hotels, done your final holiday shopping and you’re ready to go! The day arrives with an air of excitement. You check in, pass through security and are ready to board.

You are at the final hurdle, plane in sight, visions of relaxing in warmer climes only a flight away, to then be told that you no longer have a seat on the plane! How could this happen? You booked the flight, you received confirmation from the airline and you checked in on time.

If this has happened to you, unfortunately you were the unlucky passenger to be denied boarding due to overbooking of the flight. This contentious subject has made an appearance in the tabloids recently with American Airlines dragging off Dr David Dao from an overbooked flight and Easyjet bumping a couple off their flight from Luton to Catania as there simply were not enough seats.

It is common practice for airlines to sell seats that simply do not exist based on the assumption that there will be ‘no shows’ on the day of departure. This helps the airlines to maximise profits, but often causes real problems for passengers. There are some benefits to saying ‘grounded’. The airline can offer monetary incentives and vouchers and are liable for food and drink expenses until they can offer you a seat on an alternative flight. However, the knock-on impact and stress the delay could have on your holiday may outweigh these goodwill gestures.

Make sure you know your rights before voluntarily giving up your seat or like Dr David Dao on the American Airlines flight you may not have a choice. Airlines are allowed by law to bump people, but passengers in the EU have certain protections. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) confirm those travelling from an EU country or to an EU country operated by an EU airline are entitled to a refund or to choose an alternative flight.

Provided you checked-in for your flight on time, you are entitled to compensation for the inconvenience the delay has caused you.

The level of compensation depends on the length of your flight and the timings of the alternative flight you are offered:

• Flights that cover less than 1,500km:
o If the delay is less than two hours, you can claim €125
o If the delay is more than two hours, you can claim €250

• Flights that cover 1,500km – 3,500km, or flights within the EU of more than 1,500km:
o If the delay is less than three hours, you can claim €200
o If the delay is more than three hours, you can claim €400

• Flights that cover more than 3,500km:
o If the delay is less than four hours, you can claim €300
o If the delay is more than four hours, you can claim €600

So if you get bumped don’t forget to claim what you deserve. You kept your side of the bargain!

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Big thanks for the £304.70 transferred to my bank account today. My claim related to a three-leg flight from Norwich UK to Phoenix USA via Schiphol. The CAA suggested I had a good case but could do nothing because the delay occurred within Dutch jurisdiction. I twice did battle with KLM/Delta myself but they would not budge. Another claims firm tried but threw in the towel. So congratulations to Claim4Flights for taking it on and winning – and for getting the money transferred into my bank account within two days of notification. Very impressed!

Delta Airlines Flight – Andy, Norfolk from Delta Airlines £304.70 won 11th April 2017
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