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Finnair blacklisted by consumer protection agency

The national airline has been blacklisted by the Consumer Disputes Board for failing to provide standard compensation for cancelled or delayed flights.

Matkustajia lentokentällä.
Image: Elina Ervasti / Yle

The national carrier Finnair has been blacklisted as the only state-owned company by the Consumer Disputes Board for failing to follow the board’s recommendations on consumer protections.

All in all, 19 companies are included in the list. The chairman of the board Pauli Ståhlberg considers the case of Finnair significant, because state-owned businesses should serve as an example when it comes to protecting consumer rights.

”In contrast, it seems that on average Finnair fares worse in following customer protection rules,” Ståhlberg said.

The case that lead Finnair to the black list concerned a traveler who missed her connecting flight from Hong Kong to Melbourne, because her Finnair flight to Hong Kong was delayed due to technical fault. Finnair refused to pay the customer the recommended 600-euro compensation, arguing that the delay constituted ”an unforeseen circumstance.”

The Consumer Disputes Board disagreed, saying that an unforeseen circumstance is only rarely related to a technical fault.

Finnair has become a regular at the Consumer Disputes Board, which last year received 700 complaints against the carrier, double the amount from five years ago.

Instead of paying the passengers the standard compensation of 600 euros, Finnair usually offers them a voucher or cash that is lower in value, Finland's Consumer Ombudsman said last year. In addition, Finnair gives consumers a misleading picture of the current legal practice, the carrier's obligations and passenger rights, the board added.

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