What are your rights if you are involuntarily bumped from a flight?

Most airlines will regularly overbook flights. Often the airlines will ask for volunteers to be bumped, however as we have seen in recent news, there are often not enough volunteers. The Department of Transportation requires airlines to give each passenger who is bumped involuntarily a written statement that both describes their rights and that explains how the carrier decides who gets on an oversold flight and who doesn’t.


  • If you are bumped involuntarily and the airline arranges substitute transportation that is scheduled to get you to your final destination within one hour of your original scheduled arrival time, you are not entitled any compensation.
  • If the airline arranges substitute transportation that is scheduled to arrive at your destination between 1-2 hours after your original arrival time (and between 1-4 hours on international flights), the airline must pay you an amount equal to 200% of your one-way fare to your final destination that day, with a $675 maximum.
  • If the substitute transportation is scheduled to get your to your destination more than two hours later (four hours internationally) or if the airline does not make any substitute travel arrangements for you, the compensation doubles to 400% of your one-way fare with a maximum of $1350.
  • If you paid for optional services (seat selection, checked baggage) and you did not receive those services on your substitute flight, or had to pay again, the airline that bumped you must refund those payments to you.

Remember, if you are bumped involuntarily you have the right to insist on a check. They cannot force credits or free flights upon you. The rules are a little more complicated than this, but these are the basics.

If you have any questions about the above information or about any legal matter, call Nathan Nevins Law at 954-249-3144.

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