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KLM Denied Boarding Compensation

KLM denied boarding compensation.

Are you eligible to it? How much can you claim? What are the rules?

Airlines often sell more tickets than there are seats, and KLM isn’t an exception. Airlines do so because they know that certain percentage of passengers most likely won’t show up for their flights. It’s their chance to make some extra money. However, sometimes these calculations turn out to be wrong, and someone is denied boarding due to overbooking. Whenever that happens, airline is also obliged to pay EU denied boarding compensation

You can claim it yourself, or you can hand it over to professionals.

1. KLM Overbooking: EU Denied Boarding Regulations

What to do if you have been denied boarding? 

What are your rights in these kind of situation? In what situations are you entitled to denied boarding compensation, and in what you aren’t? 

The rules in these situations are super simple.

If you’re flying to or from Europe with KLM, and you are denied boarding due to overbooking — you will entitled to EU denied boarding compensation up to €600. It applies only to situations when it’s due to overbooking. You won’t be entitled to compensation if there are any problems with your travel documents or if you voluntarily give up your seat.

By Europe and EU here on this page we mean all EU Member States, the United Kingdom (UK), Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Reunion, Mayotte, Saint Martin (French Antilles), the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland.

Read more: Regulation (EC) No 261/2004.

1.1 Voluntary Denied Boarding

Here’s how it usually works.

In the event of an overbooked flight, you may also be asked to give up your seat in exchange for a new flight a few hours later and compensation in the form of vouchers or cash. If you are offered compensation like this and you agree to it, it’s called voluntary boarding denial.

In this case you aren’t eligible to any other compensation.

You don’t have to agree to an offer like this.

1.2 Involuntary Denied Boarding

Sometimes you don’t have a choice.

In some situations when there aren’t any free seats left, there also aren’t enough volunteers who are ready to give up their seats. In a case like this, people with confirmed tickets may also be denied entry on the plane against their will. If that’s what has happened to you, know that it’s called involuntarily denied boarding, and you will be entitled to compensation.

What happens in case of involuntary denied boarding?

  1. The airline must provide you with a new flight or give you a full refund for the flight you were denied boarding on (you must be given a choice);
  2. With KLM you still have a right to care*;
  3. You are entitled to compensation up to €600 per passenger. 

*KLM must offer you free meals and drinks in a reasonable relation to the waiting time, two free phone calls, e-mails or faxes. If your new flight is leaving only on the next day, free hotel accommodation (including free transfer) must be offered.

1.3 Right to Care

If you have to wait at the airport, you have a right to care.

With KLM it applies to most of its flights to and from the European Union. For example, if you are denied boarding, or if it’s a last-minute cancellation, and you have to wait at the airport, you have a right to care. It applies to all situations when you have wait for 3 or more hours extra. What does it mean for you?

KLM must offer you free meals and drinks in a reasonable relation to the waiting time, two free phone calls, e-mails or faxes. If your new flight is leaving only on the next day, free hotel accommodation (including free transfer) must be offered by KLM. Mostly all of that is offered in the form of coupons

Agreeing to it doesn’t affect your chances of getting compensation.

Entering hotel room
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

2. How to Claim KLM Flight Compensation?

You can do it on your own, or you can hand it over to someone.

You can contact KLM & claim compensation directly. Contact KLM customer support center via their website, phone call or social media channels, and request compensation for denied boarding, which in no way was your fault. Refer to the above mentioned EU Flight Compensation regulation (EC) No 261/2004, and don’t agree to coupons if what you want is bank transfer. Take into account that it may take months until you receive your involuntary denied boarding compensation.

You can also take the easiest path — legal representation.

Register your KLM compensation claim with a law office. In this case, mostly all you will have to do is to fill in a single form — compensation claim form. So, you only register your KLM claim once, and the rest is done by the company. Our partners offer such services.

When choosing this option, here is all you will have to do:

Go to
this page

Fill in a claim form

Upload documents*

Sign online

And that’s it — the rest is handled by professionals.

* Your boarding pass and passport or ID copy.

2.1 How Long Does It Take?

On average the process takes between 2 to 3 months.

It’s from the moment you file a claim until your KLM denied boarding compensation arrives in your bank account. In some situations it might be necessary to take a case to national enforcement body or court. Mostly it adds at least a couple of months to the whole process. So, yes, it may take quite a lot of time, hence the reason why most people choose to work with flight compensation companies.

Euro banknotes
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

3. How Much Can You Claim?

In the EU compensation amounts are fixed.

In most situations they range from €250 to €600.

Here is how you can calculate your KLM compensation:


If the distance of your flight is
up to 1500 km


If the distance of your flight is between 1500 – 3500 km


If the distance of your flight is
up to 1500 km


If the distance of your flight is between 1500 – 3500 km


If the distance of your flight is more than 3500 km

This is also the amount you should be demanding, if making a claim on your own. You don’t have to agree to anything less than that. The compensation amounts are regulated by the European Union.

There’s one exception. When the distance of your flight is 3500 kilometres or more and you reach your destination 3 to 4 hours later, you are entitled only to 50% of the compensation — to €300, not €600. If your total delay is more than 4 hours, you will get full compensation of €600.

3.1 KLM Compensation Voucher or Cash?

There are several ways how airlines pay compensations. 

KLM, just like most airlines, may initially offer you a voucher instead of cash or bank transfer. Most airlines were offering coupons during COVID crisis. You can request a bank transfer instead. Because if we look at the policies and regulations, airline compensation and refunds have to be paid in cash or by bank transfer. Always.

KLM Denied Boarding Compensation: FAQ

Can I get compensation if my flight ticket was very cheap?

The price of your ticket doesn’t matter. 

It also doesn’t affect the amount of the compensation you may receive.

Do I need to have an insurance in order to claim compensation successfully?

No, you don’t need an insurance for that.

It’s all possible thanks to Regulation EC 261/2004. 

Can my child get compensation?

Yes, rules are the same for all passengers.

People of any age can get compensation if they are eligible to it.

Can I claim compensation for other person?

Yes, and you don’t need to have taken the flight yourself. 

You can file a compensation for your relative or friend, as long as this person gives you his or her boarding pass and passport copy. The only thing the person in question will have to do is to sign any documents KLM may ask to sign. When working with flight compensation companies it’s usually only one document

How far back can I claim flight compensation?

It varies from country to country. 

You have to look at the local laws in the country the flight departed from. Mostly, however, you can claim compensation for flights that are up to 2-3 years old. 

What to do if KLM is refusing my claim?

Your KLM compensation claim is refused.

The easiest way to get compensation KLM owes you, is to file a claim against KLM with flight compensation company. Alternatively, if the airline is refusing your claim, you should try and find a solution by contacting respective national enforcement body. There are national enforcement bodies in all EU Member states.

Problems With Visa or Passport

I was denied boarding due to visa / passport issues. Will I be compensated for that?

No, you’ll get no compensation.

If you are travelling with invalid travel documents or without a valid visa or visas you will not be eligible for flight compensation.

Be extra careful when booking connecting flights. Make sure it’s an airline protected connection, not a self connecting flight. If it’s the latter one, if you book your flights separately, you may face problems in case the country you are transiting through requires you to have a visa. If it’s an airline-protected connecting flight, you won’t face such issues, as you will stay in the transit zone and won’t go through immigration control.

EU – Non-EU Flights, Tourists

I’m flying to the EU from Asia / Americas / Africa. Can I get compensation?

If you’re flying with KLM then yes, you can.

KLM is an airline registered in the EU, and in this case EU regulations apply to all its flights to and from Europe. If you’re flying with a non-EU airline, it applies only to flights departing from Europe.

I’m flying from the EU to Asia / Americas / Africa? Can I get compensation?

Yes, even if it’s a non-EU airline.

I am not a European. Can I apply for compensation?

Yes, you can. 

Any national can apply for KLM flight delay compensation. In the European Union these rules are the same for everyone — tourists from overseas and Europeans alike.

Other Situations

My flight was operated by Air France. Which airline is going to pay the compensation?

You booked a flight from KLM, and it was operated by Air France.

In this case Air France is the airline you’ll have to file a claim against.

But it’s only true regarding the compensation. If the first flight of your journey is delayed and because of that you have missed your connecting flight, the marketing airline is responsible for booking you into the next available flight for free. If that has happened, contact the airline  you booked your flight from (KLM in this example).

Airline gave me a free hotel room and took me to my destination. Can I still get compensated for delay?

Yes, you may still receive flight compensation. 

Because that’s your airline’s responsibility — to take care of you. In Europe you have a right to care no matter the circumstances. And if you’re eligible to compensation, it doesn’t affect your chances of receiving it. You should not forget to file a claim, though.

Airline did take me to destination. Can I still get compensated?

If you arrived 3 hours later than planned, then, yes. 

In many situations you may still get compensated. Depending on the distance of your flight, you may receive up to €600 per passenger.

Do you still have questions about KLM compensation policies? Ask in the comments.

Featured photo by Viola ‘ from Pixabay

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