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What To Do If You Get Denied Boarding On An Overbooked Flight

By Nicole Cord-Cruz


It's common practice for airlines to overbook flights to maximize revenue, so there's always a risk of being bumped. If it happens to you, you may be eligible for compensation.
You are entitled to compensation if you get bumped against your will, but not if you volunteer to get off. In this case, you're entitled to denied boarding compensation (DBC).
By law, U.S. airlines must compensate you twice the value of your one-way fare if you get bumped and arrive 1-2 hours late on a domestic flight or 4 hours internationally.
If your delay surpasses those times, you can get four times your ticket price, capped at $1550. If your arrival time is delayed by an hour or less, you're not entitled to payment.
To be eligible for compensation, you must have had a confirmed reservation for that specific flight, checked in on time per the airline's rules, and waited at the gate.
DBC doesn't guarantee receipt under certain circumstances, such as changes in aircraft, weight and balance issues, traveling on a chartered flight, or getting your seat downgraded.
Be sure to claim a denied boarding form as proof that you were involuntarily bumped. Also, do not accept travel vouchers, as they could make you ineligible for cash compensation.