By being well-informed, passengers can claim compensation for lost time and inconveniences caused by airlines.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on July 31, 2023. It has since been updated.
Airlines are infamous for overbooking flights, aiming to maximize profits, as it is expected that at least one passenger might not show up for their booked flight. However, when all passengers show up, those who have paid in advance and rightfully expected to be accommodated as agreed are often denied boarding due to lack of space. This issue of airlines overbooking flights has been a long-standing challenge in the aviation industry. It is unfair, to say the least. A viral video by Erika Kullberg—who goes by @erikakullberg on TikTok—a lawyer and advocate, reveals the hidden clause that enables passengers to claim compensation when denied boarding due to airline overbooking.
This informative video has garnered over 30.3 million views, highlighting the potential for significant payouts beyond the ticket value in such situations, which occur frequently. For the affected passengers, being denied boarding can be a highly frustrating and inconvenient experience. They might have important commitments or time-sensitive appointments at their destination and the denial could lead to missed opportunities or disruptions in their travel plans.
For the affected passengers, being denied boarding can be a highly frustrating and inconvenient experience. They might have important commitments or time-sensitive appointments at their destination, and the denial could lead to missed opportunities or disruptions in their travel plans. Airline staff are trained to appear helpless, but they are obligated to compensate passengers for lost time, as stated in the fine print.
Erika Kullberg effectively demonstrates this scenario, equipping over 30 million viewers with the knowledge to claim proper compensation for falling victim to the airline's profit-driven tactics. In the video, she acts it out by saying, "Actually, I've read the terms. This is called 'involuntarily denied boarding,' and in this case, I'm eligible for compensation," to the airline employee version of herself. Kullberg guides viewers on the exact amount they can claim from airlines in such instances, empowering them with the necessary information to assert their entitlements confidently.
She references the Department of Transportation guidelines, stating that due to a two-hour delay for the next available flight, she is entitled to receive four times the one-way fare she paid, totaling $1000. Although the fine print suggests a maximum payment cap of $1550, it remains a significant payout for a few hours of delay. Sadly, many passengers remain unaware of their rights, and airlines often take advantage of this, leaving them with no compensation at all. Airlines prioritize profit over fair treatment, making it crucial for passengers to be informed and assert their entitlements.
Shoutout to Erika, fine print free game 🤍 pic.twitter.com/C1H7frasCy— Beyoncé!!!!!!! ok girl! (@breeashhh) December 27, 2021
As the video gained traction on Twitter, people shared their experiences, revealing instances where passengers were able to secure compensation well beyond the $1550 limit, along with additional perks. These anecdotes shed light on the potential for passengers to receive generous compensation and special benefits in certain cases. By being well-informed and assertive about their rights, passengers have turned unfortunate flight disruptions into more favorable outcomes, compelling airlines to go above and beyond the mandated compensation.
On TikTok, a lot of users chimed in with helpful comments. @missmonalisasmiles shared, "And if your plane is delayed too... just email them a complaint and you will surely get vouchers." Another user, @vocknier, pointed out, "That's why some airlines simply don't do involuntarily denied boarding and will hold the plane until they get a volunteer."