How to avoid getting bumped from overbooked flight

Last updated on May 27, 2019

There is nothing worse than waiting in the long security lines, spending your time in congested airports, and finding out that your flight is delayed for 3 hours? And after all of this – you can’t board your flight because you’ve been bumped as the flight was overbooked.

Being bumped means that the flight is overbooked and airline staff needs to move somebody out. And even though you might get some cash as compensation for overbooked flight, sometimes, taking a later flight isn’t worth it. You might get an alternative flight, not with one, but two layovers, would need to spend time in the airport overnight or book a hotel room. Thus if you want to avoid a similar scenario, it is better to prepare for your flight in advance.

Fly a different airline

Some airlines overbook more flights than others, so it is important to do some online research. If you really want to make sure you’ll make it on your flight, try to book your flight departing at an off-peak hour. As flight compensation company AirHelp suggests, you might be more fortunate flying in the morning than flying in the evening. Delays and cancellations have a snowball effect, thus in the evening it is more likely that flights will be full or overbooked.

Reserve a seat in advance and check-in early

If you have an assigned seat, this will guarantee you’ll actually depart with your flight. In fact, if a flight’s full and every seat is reserved, it is possible that those passengers who do not have a reserved seat would be bumped off the flight first.

After booking a flight it is important to get a reserved seat as soon as possible. If you can afford it you may reserve a premium seat and spend a little extra cash on it, especially if the only seats left are premium seats. There are flights when you have to wait for a better seat to open up 24 hours before the flight, so as earlier you will check-in, more likely you won’t be denied boarding.

Don’t buy the cheapest airline tickets

Cheap tickets are cheap for a reason. This is a sign that the airline wants to make a profit and make sure all seats will be booked and sometimes overbook flights. It is your choice and worth to consider which seat to buy. Furthermore, there is written in some airlines’ rules, that passengers with economy fare are more likely to be denied boarding. You might also won’t have an option to reserve a seat with some basic tickets with the consequence that your flight might depart without you.

Ask for compensation if you’re denied boarding

Under EU Regulation EC 261, air passengers who were denied boarding due to overbooked flight are entitled up to 600 euro compensation. The airline should pay you in cash at the airport. It is better not to accept vouchers or discounts for future flights instead of compensation as they might be less valued than you might receive compensation. Furthermore, if you did not get your compensation at the airport, you may still claim it by filing a claim form on your own or using a claim company service. In fact, the fastest, time-saving way to claim is to use flight compensation company service as many of the airlines are not willing to pay.

To conclude, it is better to avoid being bumped off your flight, but it if happens there is no reason to worry. Ask for airlines to provide you with an alternative flight or full ticket refund and don’t forget the overbooked flight compensation you are entitled to.

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