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Finnair taken to Market Court over passenger compensation dispute

The Consumer Ombudsman wants Finnair to give up the practice of offering alternatives to a standard compensation for delays, a custom it says is unlawful.

Finnairin kone Embraer 190 OH-LKE
Image: AOP

On Friday Finland’s Market Court began hearing a case brought by the Consumer Ombudsman against national airline Finnair over its compensation practices when passengers suffer delays caused by equipment malfunctions.

The Ombudsman wants the court to prohibit Finnair from the practice of offering alternatives to a standard financial payout, a custom it says is unlawful.

National carrier Finnair has clashed with the Consumer Ombudsman over whether or not the airline has a duty to pay a standard compensation in cases where passengers are delayed due to technical malfunctions caused by design or manufacturing flaws.

The consumer rights advocate said that in such cases passengers have a right to reparations. However Finnair sees the situation differently and has argued that it does not need to introduce a practice of paying a fixed compensation for these situations.

Both sides are also at odds over whether or not the airline can offer gift cards that may not have the same value as a financial settlement.

The Ombudsman claimed that a settlement offer should require the consumer to give up the right to a standard compensation. Finnair said that it has provided lower levels of compensation or even gift cards “because determining the nature and reasons for technical malfunctions due to possible design or manufacturing flaws typically takes a long time”.

The national carrier said that based on its research, the Ombudsman’s recommendations for offering an alternative form of recompense is different from practices in other EU countries.

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