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JetBlue Overbooking: The Steps in Getting Compensation When Denied Boarding

JetBlue Overbooking: The Steps in Getting Compensation When Denied Boarding
Jeremiah Awogboro
Written By Jeremiah Awogboro
Last Updated: June 12, 2024

2023 turned out well for JetBlue, as the carrier served 42.53 million passengers, a seven percent increase from the previous year. While JetBlue witnessed the third-highest rate of customer complaints in 2022, it performed relatively well in involuntary denied boardings. Indeed, it has moved from recognizing overbooking as a necessity, according to founder David Neeleman, to avoiding the practice.

Involuntary denied boarding might not be regular with JetBlue, but the carrier still struggles with flight delays. Both flight delays and getting bumped off a flight are experiences we’d rather you never have. But, JetBlue’s denied boarding compensation is available if you get the unfortunate bumped flight experience.

Just like there’s a refund policy if JetBlue cancels your flight, a refund is also available when you are denied boarding involuntarily. You can pick a refund or overbooked flight compensation, and this guide will show you when to pick one over the other and the right compensation process to follow.

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What Denied Boarding Entails and Why JetBlue May Do It

According to the Wall Street Journal 2023 report, JetBlue ranked fourth for involuntary bumping. This means that the chances of getting bumped are slim, but our experts at AirAdvisor can help you get complete compensation if this happens to you.

Denied boarding occurs when a carrier refuses you a seat on a flight. It often occurs at the boarding gate, where the staff turns you away or asks you to wait while others board. While JetBlue usually denies boarding to the passengers who show up last, they also have a group boarding policy that may not favor you.

Overbooking is a typical cause for denied boarding. Carriers have overbooked flights because they want to maximize their profits. The overbooking rate often depends on the no-show rate, but sometimes carriers end up with more passengers than they can handle.

If a flight is overbooked, the first step is to provide incentives for volunteers to step forward. JetBlue’s overbooking incidents that result in denied boarding are likely caused by inadequate volunteers showing up. It could be that the incentives aren’t enticing enough, or passengers are not ready to bite because of their travel schedule.

Seeing other passengers board or watching the flight take off when you are prevented from boarding can be disheartening. Our experts have dealt with hundreds of thousands of air travel customer complaints across U.S. carriers.

We want you to remain calm if you’ve just been bumped from your JetBlue flight. The U.S. Department of Transportation has instituted legislation to protect you and ensure adequate compensation. Drawing from that, JetBlue offers denied boarding compensation, but you must be sure you were bumped because of overbooking.

jetblue branded airplane

Regulations and Passenger Rights When JetBlue Denies You Boarding Involuntarily

The boarding agent can provide further details if you were bumped from an overbooked flight. It is JetBlue’s policy to provide as much clarification as possible. Hence, gracefully approach the boarding agent with questions about why you were bumped.

You might wonder if you’re still eligible for compensation if you were bumped a while back, even a year ago. Fortunately, financial compensation is still a possibility, provided you can prove that the flight was overbooked and you were denied boarding. Our compensation experts at AirAdvisor will help you sort out the necessary documents.

Asking the boarding agent is one of your passenger rights when bumped from an overbooked flight. Because JetBlue is a U.S. carrier that operates within and outside the country, U.S. transport law covers you, provided the flight takes off from any of the country’s airports.

With that in mind, here’s what you can expect and demand from JetBlue when denied boarding involuntarily:

Involuntary Denied Boarding

JetBlue provides monetary compensation to passengers bumped from a flight or denied boarding. To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You hold a confirmed reservation with the carrier
  • You presented yourself for the flight at the appropriate time and place
  • You complied with JetBlue’s reservations and check-in requirements
  • The flight was oversold

Passengers who checked in last are most likely to get bumped. Note that showing up late after the boarding gate is closed does not qualify for denied boarding compensation. While JetBlue does not add alternative flights to the compensation, it is obliged to provide them under U.S. and EU/UK laws. Additional compensation packages may follow, depending on how long your alternative flight takes. Notwithstanding, you can accept or reject the alternative flight agreement.

Hotel accommodation, meals, refreshments, phone calls, emails, etc., are in the compensation package. These will be offered when the delay is long enough to require them. For example, an overnight delay will always come with hotel accommodation and meals, but if you have to pay for these things out-of-pocket, be sure you save your receipts so you can submit them with your claim. 

Did you spend your money on accommodation for an overnight stay or meals and refreshments while you waited? We understand if you were unaware of your rights at the time. Fortunately, our AirAdvisor experts can guide you on getting reimbursement for your expenses while getting compensation.

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Voluntary Denied Boarding

Giving up your seat will make you ineligible for overbooked flight compensation. Nonetheless, you may get a chance to get a good offer from JetBlue. We can’t guarantee that JetBlue’s offer for volunteers will always be good, but we know the carrier will try its best to avoid bumping passengers.

The carrier may allow you to negotiate compensation if you volunteer otherwise, they will present a fixed offer.

The volunteer offers may include tickets, vouchers, and care packages. A few things you can do to assess the offers quickly include the following:

  • Inquire about any limitations or restrictions on the tickets or vouchers
  • Inquire about the next available flight if you agree to defer your travel plans
  • Inquire if the tickets or vouchers are usable on holidays
  • Inquire about when the incentive will be available

Voluntary denied boarding compensation is often available on the same day. JetBlue might provide it on the spot or defer the date. Contact AirAdvisor if you received a compensation deal but have not received it.

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Your Other Rights When Bumped

U.S. laws prevent involuntary denied boarding if you check in on time and the boarding agent accepts your boarding pass. You can refer to this law if the carrier wants to bump you after overselling flights.

Refunds are also available if you do not wish to continue your journey. This right often applies if you have several connecting flights to your destination. You can get a complete refund of the unused part of your ticket.

person waiting for boarding

JetBlue Overbooking: How Much You Will Get as Compensation

The carrier’s compensation for involuntary denied boarding is $1,550. However, U.S. laws divide the compensation into domestic and international flights as follows:

Flight type

Delay time


Domestic flight

1 to 2 hours

200% of one-way fare up to $775

Domestic flights

Over 2 hours

400% of one-way fare up to $1,550

International flights

1 to 2 hours

200% of one-way fare up to $775

International flights

Over 2 hours

400% of one-way fare up to $1,550


Compensation will be unavailable if JetBlue provides an alternative flight that takes you to your destination within one hour of the original arrival time.

If you are denied boarding while flying from the EU/UK, the following compensation will apply:

Flight type



Flights within 1,500 km

Within 2 hours


Flights within 1,500 km

2 hours or above


Flights from 1,500 km to 3,500 km

Within 3 hours


Flights from 1,500 km to 3,500 km

3 hours or above


Flights above 3,500 km

Within 4 hours


Flights above 3,500 km

4 hours or above


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Steps to Take if JetBlue Overbooked the Flight and Denied You Boarding

Whether you were just bumped, or the incident occurred a while ago, here’s what we recommend doing:

  1. Obtain a statement from JetBlue stating why you were denied boarding. This step is crucial if the incident just occurred.
  2. Gather your travel-related documents that confirm your eligibility for the flight. These include the flight ticket, reservation confirmation, baggage tag, etc.
  3. Produce copies for receipts of additional expenses incurred while waiting for the alternative flight. This can include meals, accommodations, refreshments, phone calls, etc.
  4. Contact an AirAdvisor compensation expert for further action.

Exceptions: When You Are Ineligible for Compensation

The U.S. law leaves most of the ineligibility to JetBlue’s Contract of Carriage. Notwithstanding, you will be ineligible if you are bumped for safety reasons.

Airline Policy

JetBlue will not compensate you if the following occurs:

  • You do not comply totally with the carrier’s Contract of Carriage
  • The original aircraft  was substituted for another with a lesser seating capacity
  • You were offered seating in another section, maybe a lower seating class
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Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if the alternative flight after getting bumped is delayed?

Compensation will depend on how long the flight is delayed. You can refer to the compensation table if the delay is within four hours. Otherwise, flight delay compensation will apply.

How long should I wait for the denied boarding compensation before submitting a complaint?

You should wait for 24 hours after the incident or obtain a timeline from JetBlue’s staff at the airport. Notwithstanding, we recommend contacting an AirAdvisor compensation expert as soon as possible.

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