Denied Boarding

    It implies the refusal to carry a passenger on a flight, although they have presented themselves for boarding under the conditions laid down in the Conditions of Carriage, except where there are reasonable grounds to deny them boarding, such as reasons of health, safety or security, or inadequate travel documentation. An example of denied boarding is overbooking.

    In the event of a denied boarding, for example by overbooking, the airline should ask for volunteers among the passengers for not to fly on that flight. In the case that there are volunteers, the airline should agree with them which compensation they will receive for the denied boarding. These volunteers will also be entitled to receive information and reimbursement or alternative transport.

    If finally there are not enough volunteers and boarding is denied against the passenger will the rights applying are:


Right to Information

    Passengers are entitled to information, for this purpose the airline should provide them with a form with the rights assisting them. If such a form is not delivered, ask for it to the airline. The information contained in that form shall be similar to the following one.

Right to Care

    Passengers also have the right to care while waiting for their return or alternative flight, i.e. the airline has to offer and provide:

    • Enough food and drink
    • Two phone calls or access to e-mails
    • Hotel accommodation if overnight stay is required or if an additional stay longer than the one planned by the passenger is required.
    • Transportation between the Airport and the place of accommodation

    Do not forget that if the airline does not comply with its obligation to provide the indicated care free of charge, the passenger should keep the receipts for the expenses incurred and subsequently make a complaint to the airline.

Right of Reimbursement or to Alternative Transportation

    Passengers have the right to be offered by the airline to choose from one of the following options:

    • Reimbursement of the cost of the ticket within the following 7 days (with return to the airport of origin in case the passenger is on a connection and the flight is no longer serving any purpose). Reimbursement may be made in cash, by bank transfer, cheque or travel vouchers or other services (after agreement signed by the passenger)
    • Alternative transport to your final destination as quickly as possible and under comparable conditions of transport.
    • Alternative transport at a later date suitable for the passenger. (Choosing this option, the passenger no longer has the right to care as from that moment).

    Do not forget that if the airline does not comply with its obligation to provide you with the choice between the 3 options above and you decide to purchase your own ticket, you should keep the receipt and the new boarding pass to make a complaint to the airline.

    Remind that the alternative transport offered by the airline should be the one that allows you to arrive as quickly as possible at your destination, including flights with other airlines and other possible modes of transport with comparable conditions.


Right to Compensation

    Passengers are entitled to financial compensation ranging from 250€ to 600€, depending on the distance of the flight, although these amounts can be reduced by 50% if the airline offers you alternative transport and meets a number of requirements regarding the time of arrival at the final destination.

    Flight distance


    50% reduction if the arrival delay of the alt. transport is less than

    Up to 1,500 km

      250 €

     2 hours

    All intra-community flights of more than 1,500 km and for all other flights between 1,500 km and 3,500 km


     400 €


    3 hours

    More than 3,500 km

     600 €

     4 hours

    Remind that financial compensation in the event of denied boarding should be paid to the passenger concerned immediately (this is understood that the passenger does not have to carry out any additional formalities in order for such compensation to be paid)

On which flights does Regulation 261/2004 apply?

    Passenger rights are regulated by European Regulation (EC) 261/2004 . Regulation 261/2004 regulates passenger rights for cases of denied boarding, long delay, cancellation and upgrading and downgrading.

    The Regulation applies to all flights that:

    • Depart from a European Union airport as well as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland;
    • Depart from an airport in a third country and are bound to a European Union Airport as well as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, when the airline is a Community one (Of the European Union)

    In particular, the Spanish Aviation Safety and Security Agency has jurisdiction to ensure compliance with the obligations laid down in Regulation (EC) 261/2004 on flights that:

    • Depart from an airport located in the Spanish territory and are bound to any destination;
    • Depart from an airport in a third country and are bound to an airport located in the Spanish territory, when the airline is a Community one (Of the European Union).

    The Spanish Aviation Safety and Security Agency cannot act when the airline operating the flight is not of the European Union and the flight on which the incident occurred departed from an airport outside the European Union; consequently, the infringement of passenger rights is subject to the provisions of the International Conventions or, where appropriate, to the rules of the State where the incident occurred.

    Remind that the Regulation will not apply if you travel with a ticket free of charge or with a reduced-price ticket that is not directly or indirectly available to the public. Otherwise, the Regulation will apply to tickets obtained through frequent-flyer programs offered by airlines.

    Click here to access the procedure to file a complaint with AESA due to an incident covered by Regulation 261/2004.



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