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Finnair Flights Cancelled Due to Ground Handling Operations Walkout at Helsinki Airport: What You Need to Know

Several Finnair flights were canceled at Helsinki Airport amidst a labor action on 19 September 2023. This afternoon, ground handling operators staged a walkout at Helsinki Airport. As a result, many of the airline’s critical ground handling processes are adversely impacted, forcing the airline to cancel several European flights today and tomorrow.

Updated: The ground services staff returned to work on September 20, 2023. Finnair expects flights to return to normal throughout Wednesday. However, baggage delays may still occur as staff catch up to the backlog. Finnair will arrange baggage deliveries for customers whose bags are delayed. For more information on baggage delivery, check the airline’s website here.

Finnair ATR
Finnair ATR

The airline has been compelled to cancel numerous flights today and a few for tomorrow. In addition, passengers should prepare for other potential disruptions, such as delays and increased congestion.

Canceled Finnair Flights on 19 September 2023:

  • AY441/2 Helsinki – Oulu – Helsinki
  • AY993/4 Helsinki – Keflavik – Helsinki 
  • AY1255/6 Helsinki – Budapest – Helsinki
  • AY1755/6 Helsinki – Milan – Helsinki
  • AY1513/4 Helsinki – Zürich – Helsinki
  • AY345/6 Helsinki – Joensuu – Helsinki
  • AY1075/6 Helsinki – Riga – Helsinki
  • AY415/6 Helsinki – Kajaani – Helsinki
  • AY1105/6 Helsinki – Vilnius – Helsinki
  • AY1023/4 Helsinki – Tallinn – Helsinki
  • AY315/6 Helsinki – Vaasa – Helsinki
  • AY369/70 Helsinki – Kuopio – Helsinki
  • AY1373/4 Helsinki – Edinburgh – Helsinki
  • AY1425/6 Helsinki – Hamburg – Helsinki
  • AY1395/6 Helsinki – Düsseldorf – Helsinki
  • AY915/6 Helsinki – Oslo – Helsinki
  • AY815/6 Helsinki – Stockholm Arlanda – Helsinki
  • AY1385/6 Helsinki – Dublin – Helsinki
  • AY632 Kokkola – Kemi – Helsinki
  • AY1581 Helsinki – Paris
  • AY1549 Helsinki – Brussels
  • AY961 Helsinki – Copenhagen
  • AY1145/6 Helsinki – Warsaw – Helsinki
  • AY1223/4 Helsinki – Prague – Helsinki

Furthermore, for 20 September 2023, the following flights have been canceled:

  • AY1582 from Paris to Helsinki
  • AY1550 from Brussels to Helsinki
  • AY961 from Copenhagen to Helsinki

How to Prepare Even if Your Flight Has Not Been Cancelled

For those traveling on flights that remain operational, arriving at Helsinki Airport at least two hours before departure is advised. You can access updates on departing and arriving flights at Helsinki Airport through the official website.

The airline actively monitors the situation and promises to update information frequently for the benefit of its passengers. Finnair expressed deep regret for the inconvenience and difficulties this may cause.

What To Do If Your Flight Is Canceled:

Passengers booked on any of the disrupted flights will be personally informed through SMS and/or e-mail. The airline advises passengers to:

  1. Check their contact information is correct in the ‘Manage booking‘ section.
  2. If a flight is canceled, passengers can reschedule their journey +/- 14 days from the original date. This can be done online or by reaching out to Finnair Customer Service.
  3. Efforts are being made to re-route passengers to their respective destinations. Given the limited availability of alternative flights, re-routing might require some time. Passengers will receive new flight details through SMS and/or email.
  4. Passengers can apply for refunds online if their entire booking is canceled or if they decide not to use any of the flights in their booking. If only a part of the booking is disrupted, passengers should contact Finnair customer service for a refund.
  5. Those who made flight ticket purchases via travel agents or other service providers should contact them directly for any alterations or refund requests.

It is crucial to note that delays in baggage deliveries are anticipated due to the disruption in baggage handling services. Travelers are encouraged to pack essentials in their carry-on and consider traveling with just hand luggage.

How to Reach Finnair Customer Service:

For those who have booked tickets via travel agencies or tour operators, it’s advisable to approach them directly for booking changes or refunds. However, if the booking was made directly through Finnair, their customer service is ready to assist, though there may be some congestion due to high demand. The chat service on the airline’s website or the Finnair mobile app is recommended for a faster response.

If passengers require hotel accommodations due to rebooking and have already embarked on their journey, efforts will be made to provide hotel lodgings. For any compensation claims for reasonable hotel and ground transportation expenses, passengers should retain their receipts and approach Finnair directly for compensation.

Passengers can also acquaint themselves with their rights as travelers by checking the dedicated section on passenger rights on the official website.

Updates from Finavia

Ground handling staff walkout affects baggage handling at Helsinki Airport.

The walkout of ground handling staff started today, on the 19th of September, at 15:00 and is affecting baggage operations, complicating flight service. This may lead to longer baggage claim times and delays in check-in. Passengers affected should contact their airline regarding baggage.

Passengers traveling with only carry-on luggage who have checked in for their flight in advance (confirming its operation) may proceed straight to security control upon arrival at the airport.

Finavia, Helsinki Airport’s operator, added, “We apologize for the inconvenience caused to the passengers. Finavia is not involved in the walkout. Finavia has no information on the duration of the situation. We are updating this page as we receive more information on the effects of the walkout.”

Why IAU Workers Walked Out

As reported, the spontaneous walkout involved 500 members of the Aviation Union’s IAU’s Civil Air Traffic Workers branch 012. These employees work for Aviator Airport Services Finland, Swissport Finland, and RTG Ground Handling.

The protest followed immediately after Finnair announced its decision to stop offering zone flight tickets as incentives to the workers of companies responsible for its ground handling services. Zone flight tickets allowed workers to purchase unsold seats at a discount on ‘Finnair flights.

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