Trial web service to help passengers recover confiscated items at Helsinki airport

The Helsinki-Vantaa airport is testing a new service whereby travelers can reclaim personal belongings confiscated by airport security instead of having to kiss them goodbye forever. The price of the service depends on how the items are retrieved once they are in safekeeping, and their weight.

Have you ever had to relinquish forbidden items at a Helsinki-Vantaa airport check? Now you have a better chance of getting them back. Image: Petteri Juuti / Yle

The Helsinki-Vantaa airport is Finland's busiest by far, and some 400,000 prohibited hand luggage items are confiscated in security checks each year.

Almost none of the objects taken from passengers at safety checks have ever made their way back to their original owners – until now, claims airport operator Finavia.

Finavia is testing a collaboration with a startup firm called Cotio, which is responsible for the software involved in the online service designed to help passengers reclaim their belongings.

"Previously this has also been technically possible, but very difficult," says Cotio Oy CEO Kimmo Collander.

Sentimental value

Many of the items confiscated tend to have personal significance to their owners rather than having high monetary value. Collander says that price and value are two different things.

The trial run for the retrieval service will last until the end of 2016. Passengers are given a receipt for those items seized by security, and they may then use the information on the receipt to access the service – and their stuff – online.

"The price for this service starts at five euros and the total depends on whether the customer comes to get their belongings or if they want it to be delivered. Size and weight also factor in," says Collander.