There’s only onegood thingabout denied boarding

You can get up to €600 in compensation

Claim Denied Boarding Compensation

Under EU Regulation 261/2004 (EC261), passengers who have been involuntarily denied boarding to their flight could be eligible for compensation for up to €600. In addition, the airline must offer the affected passengers an alternate flight to their final destination.

EC261 applies to all flights within the EU as well as to flights, which depart from outside of the European Union but are operated by EU carriers.

SkyRefund can help you claim your compensation for denied boarding. We will take all of the necessary steps to ensure that you receive what is legally yours. Meanwhile, you can sit back and relax. We will charge a 35% fee only if we successfully protect your right to compensation. Otherwise, you would not owe us anything.

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How much compensation can I claim for denied boarding?

If you are involuntarily denied boarding and meet all of the eligibility criteria (listed below), you can claim compensation for your flight disruption.

The compensation amount you can receive depends on the distance of the disrupted flight. The longer the flight-- the larger the compensation you can claim.

If your journey spans less than 1,500km, you could be eligible for €250. For flights between 1,500 and 3,500km you could receive €400. Finally, your denied boarding compensation would rise to €600 if your trip’s distance exceeds 3,500km.

Amount Distance
checked tick € 250  All flights up to 1500 km
checked tick € 400  ECAA flights of more than 1,500 km and
/all others between 1,500 and 3,500 km
checked tick € 600  All other flights of more than 3,500 km


The only exception to the above-mentioned compensation amounts applies to flights that are above 3,500km in length and begin and end within the EU. For trips within the EU, the maximum claimable flight compensation amount is €400, even when the total trip distance is over 3,500 km.

For instance, if your journey begins in Athens, Greece and your final destination is Ponta Delgada, Portugal, the distance of your journey would be in excess of 4,300 km. If any of these locations had not been within the European Union, the size of your compensation would be €600. But since denied boarding compensation for flights within the EU is capped at €400, you would not be able to claim more than that.

Can I claim compensation for my denied boarding?

Regulation 261/2004 defines denied boarding as the airline’s refusal to board passengers who:

  • Have presented themselves to the gate on time
  • Do not present a security/safety risk
  • Present all of the required travel documents

In order to have an eligible claim for compensation, you need to meet all three of these conditions.

There's only one good thing about a delay

You can get up to € 600 in compensation

Make sure you arrive on time

First of all, to be entitled to a refund, you need to have checked-in and arrived at the gate on time. Airlines are required to compensate passengers only in those cases, in which the flight disruption falls within the responsibility of the air carrier.

For example, if the airline’s representative at the gate denies you boarding because they wrongly thought you do not have all of the required documentation, this will be the airline’s mistake. Therefore, you would be eligible for compensation.

However, the airline would be in its right to deny boarding to passengers who have arrived late for their flight.

For instance, if for personal reasons you arrive at the airport late and you miss the announced check-in time, the airline would not be required to compensate you. Even though the reason for your late arrival might not have been within your hands (there might have been a traffic jam, for example), it would not necessarily be the air carrier’s responsibility either. Therefore, EU rules would not require the airline to compensate you for not boarding you.

After booking your tickets, you will likely receive an email confirming your reservation. This letter will often contain recommendations for when you should present yourself for check-in and boarding. While these recommendations would usually require you to arrive much earlier than you would normally, following them might significantly reduce the likelihood of missing your flight.

Please note that boarding time may be different for different passengers. If you have purchased “Priority Boarding” or similar, you would often be required to arrive at the gate earlier than other passengers. If you do not, you risk being denied boarding and since you weren’t on time, you would not be eligible for compensation.

Follow all safety guidelines

Moreover, according to denied boarding regulations, passengers would not be entitled to compensation if they presented a safety or security threat to the flight, its passengers or crew.

Some of the common reasons for justified denied boarding include:

  • Passenger intoxication
  • Threatening behavior, including disrupting flight operations
  • A perceived or actual safety or security threat based on the passenger’s luggage. Many items that you would be allowed to bring on a train or bus would be prohibited on a flight. 

There are limitations on what passengers can transport both in their checked and their carry-on luggage. These are the most common reasons why you could either get delayed before the gate and miss boarding or be refused access to the plane altogether:

  1. If you plan to bring liquids in your carry-on, make sure each liquid does not exceed 100ml and that all of your liquids can fit in a 1-litre plastic bag.
  2. Do not bring anything that can be perceived as a weapon, even if it is a toy. You may be allowed to check any firearms into your checked luggage.

To find out more, check out our complete list of restricted luggage items

Have all of the necessary documentation

Finally, travellers would not be allowed to board a flight if they lack all of the required documentation. Commonly, this includes but may not be restricted to:

  • Valid travel documents (e.g. an ID card or international passport). Please note that in order to travel to some countries, air passengers would need documents that have an expiration date at most 3 or 6 months after the flight date.
  • A valid entry visa (when applicable)
  • A valid boarding pass
  • If you are travelling with a pet, a valid pet passport or animal health certificate

In a sense, to be entitled to compensation, passengers need to satisfy all three of these conditions. At SkyRefund we have been in the position of having to explain to passengers that under EU law, they are not entitled to compensation for denied boarding if they were not at their gate at the required time.

However, in most cases, the passengers would not be to blame for their denied aircraft access.

In fact, most cases of denied boarding would be due to an overbooked flight. If so, passengers can claim denied boarding compensation.

Compensation Eligibility Checklist
Have you checked-in and arrived at the gate on time?  
Did you follow all the safety guidelines?  
Were you able to provide all the necessary documentation?  

Compensation due to Overbooking

Perhaps the most common reason for denied boarding are overbooked flights. Airlines typically sell more seats to their flights than they have available. This ensures that there won’t be any extra seats if there are passengers who do not show up for their flight. In addition, it allows airlines to maximize their profits.

However, if the airline fails to predict the number of passengers who would present themselves for the flight, it will be forced to deny boarding to as many passengers as required.

If you are among the passengers who have been involuntarily denied boarding, you can claim compensation of up to €600 for your disruption.

Check Compensation

Typically, the airline’s representatives will call for volunteers, who would be willing to give up their seat in exchange for benefits. These may include points towards the airline’s frequent flyer program, food or travel vouchers and more.

But remember: if you agree to the airline’s offer, you would also be giving up your right to compensation. Accepting the airline’s offer will mean that you voluntarily agree not to fly on that flight. According to denied boarding rules, you can only claim compensation in cases in which you were involuntarily refused access to the flight.

This is why, in most cases, we would recommend that you refuse the airline’s offer. It is likely that the compensation you receive for your boarding denial would exceed in value whatever the air carrier offers.

If there are not enough passengers who are willing to give up their seats voluntarily, the airline will have to involuntarily bump some passengers by refusing them boarding.

These are the travellers who would be entitled to claim compensation for the overbooking.

Passengers with reduced mobility, their attendants and children travelling alone are protected by EC261 and the airline cannot refuse them access to the flight.

Could I be denied boarding due to extraordinary circumstances?

In theory, your case of denied boarding should not be due to any extraordinary circumstances. In the instance of claiming cancellation or flight delay compensation, this would mean that there was not any bad weather, control tower restrictions or other exceptional events that caused the disruption.

In the case of denied boarding, however, these would rarely apply, as they can be relevant only for the flight as a whole, not for individual passengers.

The only instances where extraordinary circumstances may apply would be if the passenger presents a threat to the safety or security of the passengers.

Needless to say that this would be an extremely rare occurrence.

Denied boarding? You can claim more than just compensation.

As mentioned above, if you have been involuntarily denied boarding, you could claim compensation of up to €600. There is more, however, and if you were refused boarding, you can choose between the following:

  • A full refund of the cost of your ticket and a return flight to your starting point of departure (in case of connecting flights).
  • A seat on a replacement flight (either as soon as possible or at a later date).

Moreover, the airline is required to provide you with meals and refreshments for the duration of your wait for a replacement flight.

In most cases, the airline will offer you a food voucher for a set amount. EU rules, however, do not specify a maximum amount of expenditures that the airline has to cover. Therefore, if your necessary costs exceed the amount covered by your voucher, you can exceed it and receive a refund for the difference.

If so, make sure that you keep your receipts. They will help you prove your expenses and retrieve your rightful refund later on. Bank statements are not accepted as proof of costs.

Free Accommodation

In addition, in some cases your alternate flight would be scheduled for the following day. If so, the airline is required to cover your accommodation expenses as well as the transportation costs to and from the hotel you choose.


Under EC261, if you are seated in a lower class than the one you purchased, either on your original flight or the replacement flight, you can receive a partial refund. As with flight compensation, the size of the reimbursement is determined by the flight distance.

For flights under 1,500km in length, you can receive a refund for 30% of the price you paid for your ticket. Your refund would increase to 50% of your ticket cost for flights between 1,500 and 3,500km. Finally, if your flight was longer than 3,500km, you can claim back 75% of what you paid for your journey.

Conversely, if you are upgraded to a seat on a higher fare than the one you paid, you are not required to pay the price difference.

Visual illustration of the process to claim denied boarding compensation.

SkyRefund can help you claim compensation

Unfortunately, even if your rights entitle you to compensation, the process of claiming it can prove long and frustrating, and very often-- unrewarding.

At SkyRefund, we help passengers who have experienced denied boarding, flight delay or cancellation claim their rightful compensation. All you need to do is submit your flight details and our team will take all of the necessary steps to ensure that your passenger rights are protected. We have helped passengers claim compensation from more than 150 airlines. 

We will take on the endless correspondence with the airline. We will double-check any airline claims with regards to your flight against our databases and press them to respect your right to denied boarding compensation in case their information does not hold.

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In addition, we partner with a leading transportation law firm. We are ready to take your case to court, if this is the only way of ensuring you receive your compensation.

Finally, we work on a “No Win, No Fee” basis. We charge a fee of 35% (VAT included ) of the compensation amount that you receive from the airline. But if you don’t get paid, you would not owe us anything for our work.