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Finnair taken to Market Court for breach of air passengers’ rights

Hundreds of consumers have since the autumn of 2015 been in contact with the Consumer Ombudsman and consumer right advisers working at register offices, complaining that Finnair has not paid them the standard compensation for flight cancellation or delay that they are entitled to by law, ranging between EUR 250 and EUR 600 depending on the length of the flight and destination.

In September 2017, the Consumer Ombudsman sought an injunction from the Market Court on Finnair’s practice. The company denies passengers the full standard compensation when the reason for the cancellation or delay of a flight is an unpredictable technical fault caused, according to Finnair, by a manufacturing or design fault. Such a fault, however, does not qualify according to the established practice of the European Court of Justice as a reason for not paying the standard compensation.

Instead of paying the passengers the standard compensation, Finnair usually offers them a voucher or cash that is lower than the standard compensation. A settlement requires passengers to permanently waive their right to the full standard compensation under the Regulation on air passenger rights. When answering consumers, Finnair gives a misleading picture of the requirements of current legal practice, Finnair’s obligations and passenger rights.