I'm booked on a flight departing from am airport where, IME, the relevant handling agent is incompetent with document control (I had to ask an airline's docs unit to send them advance notice of their error in order to secure boarding).

As I could use extra cash atm, I intend to line up among the last at the gate, and, should they not accept my documentation, only insist once that it's definitely sufficient, and then let them do what they like. If denied boarding, once the flight's left I'd search out the station manager, sit down with them and show using TIMATIC that they were wrong to deny me.

Once that is established, they'd have to re-book me on a later flight to a nearby destination (I have a specific one in mind - same airline), give me around 2 meal vouchers and €400 in denied boarding compensation.

My question is: can handling agents pay out EC261 compensation to a bank account on the spot (if the bank card is physically present), or does it invariably have to be done by e-mailing a claim to the airline?

  • 8
    This would depend on the airline and potentially the airport. But even then, the answer is still going to be somewhere between "no" and "hell no".
    – Doc
    Mar 6, 2020 at 0:28
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    I agree, the probability of a third party agent handing out cash (or a bank transfer) at the checkin desk is going to be effectively zero. Mar 6, 2020 at 1:11
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    Airlines aren't known for their largesse. They won't pay compensation unless they have no choice. and certainly not immediately. And if they have even a whisper of a suspicion that you've engineered this, they won't pay at all.
    – user105640
    Mar 6, 2020 at 1:56
  • @Arthur'sPass They have no choice - it's laid down in EC261 along with a complimentary court ruling. And I've seen many people line up at the gate last to avoid standing more than needed, so don't see how that should raise any red flags.
    – anon
    Mar 6, 2020 at 10:35
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    The airline may have no choice about ultimately paying the EC261 compensation, but you are asking them for a really big favor in terms of getting it paid immediately, not though their normal process. Mar 6, 2020 at 16:39

1 Answer 1


All airlines will have their own policy on exactly how the refund/compensation process is handled. If you want a real firm answer, see the policies of your chosen airline for details and contact them to clear up any questions you still have after doing so.

But having said that, what you're asking about is extremely unlikely to differ between airlines. This is just not going to happen.

Airlines don't make a habit of paying out fees where it's avoidable. Even small airlines have entire accounting departments whose jobs include - amongst other things - verifying that all refund/compensation claims are valid before they're paid out. You may know perfectly well that they have no choice but to pay out in your particular circumstances, but you could claim they have no choice regardless of whether you're right or not. Doing so won't stop the airline from making sure of it themselves before approving your claim. It's unlikely that anybody you speak to at the airport is authorised to approve EC261 payouts (and even if they may be authorised to offer general 'goodwill' compensation for other matters), and it's not a given that they'll be particularly inclined to do so there and then even if they are authorised, especially if they suspect you've intentionally manufactured the situation.

Even if you do find somebody who can authorise the compensation, I still wouldn't expect to receive it instantly. I made a claim after a cancelled Easyjet flight in 2018, the message notifying me its success stated that I would receive the sum "within 14 days". I don't remember how long it actually took, but it was certainly several days and possibly close to the end of the 14 day timeframe. I see no reason that handling it at the airport would speed up that process - they're certainly not going to just give you cash.

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    In addition, time is money, so the interest of the airline is to pay as late as possible, just barely within the legal requirements.
    – Aganju
    Mar 7, 2020 at 0:17

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