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Denied Boarding

There are two type of denied boarding:

  1. Involuntary; and
  2. Voluntary.

Involuntary Denied Boarding

You are involuntarily denied boarding if your air carrier refuses to allow you board your flight even though you pose no health, safety or security risk to the air carrier and you arrived at the airport with;

  • a confirmed reservation;
  • the travel documentation required to complete your journey;
  • sufficient time to complete check-in, security and boarding procedures. 

Where involuntary denied boarding occurs, your air carrier must offer you the choice between;

  • re-routing as soon as possible;
  • re-routing at a later date at your convenience; and
  • a refund of the full cost of the unused flight ticket.

If you choose to be re-routed as soon as possible then the air carrier must provide you with care and assistance whilst you are waiting on your alternative flight. Care and assistance consists of:

  • meals and refreshments (in reasonable relation to the waiting time);
  • hotel accommodation (where an overnight stay becomes necessary);
  • transport between the airport and the hotel (where necessary); and
  • 2 telephone calls/ faxes/ emails.

If the airline does not provide the above assistance to you and you are forced to make your own arrangements, you should retain all your receipts as you will be entitled to reimbursement of your expenses.

The air carrier must also compensate you for involuntarily denying you boarding. The amount of compensation varies depending on the distance of your journey and the timeframes within which you were re-routed.

Voluntary Denied Boarding

If your flight is overbooked, the air carrier will call for volunteers to surrender their seats in exchange for benefits.

If you agree to give up your seat you are voluntarily denied boarding and in addition to the aforementioned benefits, your air carrier must offer you the choice between;

  • re-routing as soon as possible;
  • re-routing at a later date at your convenience; and
  • a refund of the full cost of the unused flight ticket.

It is up to you what other benefits you agree with the air carrier.

Remember that if an air carrier calls for volunteers, and an insufficient number of passengers offer to give up their seats then those passengers who did not volunteer but who are refused boarding anyway are ‘involuntarily' denied boarding.