So you have a ticket, a boarding pass, and a seat assignment.
But here’s the bad news: you still have no guarantee you’ll be on that flight when the plane takes off.
It’s all spelled out in the fine print, buried in an airline’s contract of carriage. Every airline reserves the right to deny boarding to passengers if the flight is overbooked, for mechanical, safety, or weather reasons.
Involuntary Denied Boarding
This procedure is known in the industry as Involuntary Denied Boarding (IDB) and gained attention after a United passenger was dragged off a flight, leading to viral videos, a PR debacle, and calls in Congress to further regulate or ban the practice.
Passengers who are denied boarding on a flight for which they have a confirmed ticket are due up to $1,350 depending on the cost of the original ticket and the length of delay, according to rules by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Airlines, however, initially rarely pay full compensation to fliers who are getting bumped, USA Today found in 2014.