Delayed, Cancelled and Overbooked Flight Laws

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Do I Have Rights if an Airline Bumps Me off a Flight Because of Overbooking?

Yes.  The airline is required to first ask passengers to volunteer to give up their seats and to take a later flight.  Most likely, the airline will offer a free round-trip ticket to any volunteers.  If this tactic does not work, or the number of volunteers is insufficient, the airline has no choice but to begin bumping involuntary passengers from the flight.   

I Have Been Involuntarily Bumped from a Flight Because of Overbooking.  Am I Entitled to Compensation?

Generally yes, if you have a confirmed reservation on a non-charter plane that has a seating capacity of more than 60 passengers.  However, the airline may nonetheless legally refuse to compensate you if any of the following applies:

My Flight Was Delayed, Diverted or Cancelled.  Am I Entitled to Compensation?

If you are booked on a domestic flight, the answer is no.  However, some airlines do offer meals, hotels and toiletries if you are delayed overnight. If you are booked on an international flight, the answer is also no. Under an international treaty called the Warsaw Convention, an airline is not required to compensate you for inconvenience or damages caused by flight delay as long as it can show:

You may try to persuade the airline to cover any direct damages caused by the delay (e.g., hotel, toiletries, meals) by referring to Article 19 of the Warsaw Convention, which states: "The Carrier shall be liable for damages occasioned by delay in the transportation by air of passengers, baggage or goods." 

Do I Need a Lawyer for my Delayed, Cancelled or Overbooked Flight?

If the airline did not give you compensation you were legally entitled to, a lawyer can help you recover damages.  An experienced lawyer can speak with the airline on your behalf and file a lawsuit if necessary.

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Last Modified: 12-14-2015 06:38 AM PST

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