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I'm trying to help a friend of mine. He was supposed to travel from Berlin to Amsterdam with Easyjet along with 3 other people. At the time of boarding, my friend and one of his companions (along with other people) weren't allowed to board because there was no more place in the plane, apparently the plane was smaller than what was sold, his friends did fly. They didn't offer a flight for the same day so he was forced to flight with another airline that he paid. Now they don't want to refund because in their system it says there's no registry of board denial and he's marked as a no-show so terms don't apply. How can he prove or make them pay a refund?

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    It looks like your friend is not alone: theguardian.com/business/2015/dec/05/… – Revetahw says Reinstate Monica Oct 3 '16 at 9:52
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    If your friend payed for the flight using a credit card he should dispute the charge. – Kris Oct 3 '16 at 10:09
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    Could be a long shot but you could request CCTV footage of yourself at the gate at that specific time (using the freedom of infomation act). I would think that most gates would have CCTV on them. Even then it may still be a longshot – user1 Oct 3 '16 at 10:10
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    What happened exactly? In my experience (including with EasyJet), there would be several calls for volunteers to take the (EU-mandated) EUR 250 compensation and hotel night (they have to do that under regulation 261/2004). As EasyJet only operates two aircraft types and has very high passenger load factors, you have to be unlucky to be the only four passengers to be denied boarding if they switch an A319 for an A320 (and surely they would have a record of doing this). They would typically need 10-20 (which was also the case of the EasyJet flight on which it happened to me). – Relaxed Oct 3 '16 at 13:36
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    @Relaxed Wikipedia says that EasyJet currently flies A320s with two different interior configurations: one with 180 seats and one with 186. So a change of plane could very well result in being overbooked by exactly four people. – David Richerby Oct 3 '16 at 13:41
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As proof your friend could sure use his friends/companions/colleagues eyewitness accounts of his denied boarding, plus his printed boarding pass and transportation tickets to the airport, even though as @chx points out, this may not be convincing them enough. Also worth enquiring with the airport if they have any records that they are able to share in a court case, but I would not expect much from that.

As a strategy I would go for a combination of these steps,

  • insisting on his claims via customer service
  • insisting via social media, especially facebook & twitter
  • after step 1 fails, ask for a conciliation by the Schlichtungsstelle

if even the last step fails (it takes a while but I have made excellent experiences), I would threaten and go for legal action. Plenty of lawyers have specialized on similar claims and their willingness to take up the case is a good indication of your chances of success.

Also if what you say is true, your friend would have right to EU compensation payments.

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    These issues are complicated, and the customer always loses, every single time. For example: did Friend actually get processed by the staff member - or instead - is it the case that the staff member just generally stated, to the crowd as it were, "no more places, sorry" and Friend did not actually get processed through the computer as checking-in-but-no-seats? It's tricky. – Fattie Oct 3 '16 at 13:13
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    (+1) Given EasyJet's usual fares, a lawyer might be a bit expensive and they probably know it (although if you add the €250 compensation times three, you might be getting somewhere). – Relaxed Oct 3 '16 at 18:25
  • Before going to a lawyer, get a written statement of their decision not to compensate, and then don't try getting compensation again, just file a lawsuit. You win, easyJet pays your lawyer. – Alexander Oct 5 '16 at 9:29
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You can't prove it, at best -- I do not know how Berlin has this -- you might have a record of passing through security if the boarding pass was scanned. But even so, it'd be very hard to prove your friend haven't passed the time drinking in the bar and became a no show. If you go for a full blown court trial then witnesses might help of course but otherwise...

If his boarding pass was scanned as everyone else's during boarding at the gate then it should be a slam dunk and the airport should have a record for sure but I suspect that wasn't the case.

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  • Agreed. In addition to that Easyjet is known for having an unscrupulous behavior. Perhaps this has to do with Easyjet being a low cost airline.. – MopMop Oct 3 '16 at 9:50
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    @Agathe: it “has to do with it”, but it’s not excused by it. If a low-cost airline has no food and terrible legroom, that’s fair enough — you get what you pay for. But when an airline is systemically dishonest and breaks its own rules, that’s not ok, low-cost or otherwise. – PLL Oct 3 '16 at 11:55
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    @PLL I know ... Unfortunately these days when you pay less you rarely have what you expected.. – MopMop Oct 3 '16 at 11:57
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    @PLL It's not "breaking its own rules", it's breaking the law. – David Richerby Oct 3 '16 at 12:39
  • so, whenever that sort of thing happens, make sure to get processed, and to get a written statement of the processing staff – njzk2 Oct 3 '16 at 20:03
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It's not clear from your question whether you did that already or not but the first thing to do is probably to send a letter (preferably by registered mail) to lay out your claim to reimbursement and compensation, citing EU regulation 261/2004. Interaction on the phone or what you may have been told at the airport carries less weight.

Best case scenario, the fact that you appear to know your rights might convince them it's easier to get rid of you by paying a few hundred euros. Worse case scenario, you have something a little stronger than your word to buttress further action (it's not unimpeachable proof of anything of course, but it counts).

See also the EU Air passenger rights page for more details on the regulation and some other actions you might take.

Others have reported getting a good response by turning to social media (as opposed to private communication through emails and phone, which often leads nowhere in my experience).

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