Tips And Advice

Denied Boarding: When Your Airline Decides To Bump You

January 6, 2016
Passengers queue for check-in at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport

There are several occasions where passengers check-in 90 minutes before the scheduled time of flight departure, not knowing if they would never take off. None of my others posts are audience specific, but I dedicate this article to readers from my country

Many passengers departing from Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, Male’ often engage themselves in heated arguments with airline or airport staff over denied boarding against their will. In most cases, denied boarding situations escalate from bad to worse when an airline passenger sales or ticketing office fails to provide passengers it’s Conditions of Carriage, an airline industry term used to refer to the contract between a carrier of goods or passengers and the consignor, consignee or passenger. It define the rights, duties and liabilities of parties to the contract, and are usually evidenced by standard terms and conditions printed on the reverse of a ticket or carriage document.

There are some vital information you should know as an airline passenger including your rights. What happens if you get offloaded from a commercial flight without a choice or against your will? Are you eligible for any kind of compensation? And where can you file a complaint?

First of all, it is completely legal for a commercial airline to sell more tickets than there are seats on a plane; to account for no-show passengers, people booked, paid and holding confirmed seats to travel who neither cancels his or her reservation nor shows up for the flight at the check-in counter. The airline will cancel his or her flight reservation (such as for connecting flights, if any) if not otherwise notified. Please remember that airlines will not make revenue on seats that go empty, they will sell it to last-minute passengers to fill the flight. Many airlines overbook their flights based on manual and computer generated predictions against the number of no-show passengers, some airlines use revenue management systems built on cutting edge technology, this means very sophisticated computer models that can predict a lot of things: how many seats should the airline sell on lower fares to people who buy early? How many seats can they sell on higher fares for last-minute passengers? For no-show predictions, these systems have large historical databases of no-show rates and records from earlier departures of the same time of day and in the same markets, used to build forecasts.

However, during the check-in process, if passengers are in excess of the number of seats on the plane, the airline is compelled to ask for volunteers to give up their seats. Passengers who agree to be offloaded from a flight may receive incentives from the airline, such as vouchers for future travel in the same airline or it’s partners, hotel accommodation or cash sometimes. These are usually negotiable on an individual basis with the airline.

Passengers who get offloaded from the plane against their will should expect compensation in accordance with the airline’s denied boarding compensation policy (this policy states the passenger’s rights) to the extent it is applicable and are usually available upon request from the airline. Some airlines allow its passengers to keep the tickets for future travel within a specific date range or eligibility for an “involuntary refund” of the ticket should the passengers prefer own arrangements. There are also few exceptions in a denied boarding compensation policy; for instance, if the airline provides another carrier or medium of air transport for the passenger’s destination within an hour of the original scheduled arrival time, or compelled to fly a smaller aircraft than originally scheduled, the airline does not have to provide compensation. The passenger should also meet all check-in time-limits and have a confirmed reservation to be eligible for compensation for being offloaded from an overbooked flight.

Have you ever being denied boarding? Why not share it in the below comments?

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  • Reply Rimah January 6, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    I am person who did face offloading situation … But I don’t want to talk about it or how it went … But I must say this article is great and such information to travellers or passengers … Great one Ija … Cheers

  • Reply Mohammad Sirajum Munir November 19, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Thank you for this article but what about if i done my web check in/online boarding? Still airline can offload me? These days there are most airlines has web check in system few hours to 48 hours before the flight.

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