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Consumer criticism over Finnair flight delay compensation flares up

Staff Writer |
The alleged problem that Finnair does not pay customers proper compensation for the flight delays flared again as the airline and the Finnish national consumer association exchanged public statements.

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Earlier this autumn, the Finnish consumer ombudsman took Finnair to the Finnish consumer court, claiming that the airline did not pay the full EU level compensation in all cases required.

The Finnish consumer association reminded that non-Finnish customers could later file claims in Finland, if they could not do it at home.

Finnair acknowledged in its statement Friday that the Finnish consumer ombudsman does not accept the practice that Finnair pays only part of the compensation or gives a gift card in situations where the reasons for the delay are still not clear.

The airline said planning and production errors do not trigger a compensation, and the verification of the cause may take time. Finnair said it was now awaiting the court decision and noted it had paid partial compensations as a "customer service".

Regarding non-Finnish passengers transiting in Helsinki, Juha Beurling, secretary general of the consumer association, told Xinhua that foreign customers of EU-based airlines are entitled to the EU level compensation also when the flights depart from outside the EU.

"If the customers do not get the full amount and cannot pursue the case in their country of residence, they can submit the claim to the Consumer Board in Finland," Beurling said.

"The linguistically challenged foreign customers may have to hire assistance from a service company that charges a fee, but would get most of the compensation anyhow," said Beurling, adding that the compensations range from 200 to 600 euros in the EU norms.

The consumer association noted that complaints against Finnair reaching the Finnish Consumer Board had increased 70 percent from 2015 to 2016. However, Finnair said it had not noticed any increase in customer dissatisfaction.

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