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Overbooked flights
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Your overbooked flight rights

What are your rights if you turn up at the airport only to be told by the airline that the flight you’re travelling on is overbooked?

What is overbooking?

Overbooking means that there aren’t enough seats for everyone who has booked tickets for a flight.

If a flight is overbooked, the airline will first ask for volunteers to give up their seats in return for incentives, such as a seating upgrade on later flights.

If not enough people volunteer, the airline has the right to stop passengers from boarding the plane in order to free up seats. This is known as being bumped off a flight.

Knowing your legal flight rights when faced with an overbooked flight means you won’t miss out on compensation.

Which? Legal can help

Our team of specialist advisers provide expert legal advice on dealing with overbooked flights. We can confirm your flight rights including:

  • your rights to a refund when bumped off a flight
  • what you’re entitled to should you voluntarily give up your seat
  • what to expect in terms assistance and compensation if you're denied boarding.
  • the differences in your legal rights when travelling within the European Union and when flying from non-EU countries 

The Which? Legal team of specialist advisers will give you individual, jargon-free advice and step-by-step guidance to help you win your case.

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Meet your experts
Ian Hawkins Ian began advising in the legal expenses industry and joined the Which? Legal team in 2016. See profile
Evgeni Hristov Evgeni joined Which? Legal in December 2017 as a consumer law adviser. Evgeni graduated law at the University of the West of England in 2014. See profile
Sanchia Pereira Sanchia joined Which? Legal in 2018 and is a qualified solicitor. Sanchia has worked in private practice, specialising in criminal litigation. See profile