Finnair had to cancel two flights, AY1023 and AY1019, on Monday from Helsinki to Tallinn due to weather conditions in Estonia and some air navigation equipment that cannot be used due to construction taking place at Tallinn airport.
Estonian passengers were not allowed to enter Finland, although the Finnish border guard (RAJA) policies would have allowed this for extended delays due to flight cancellations. Finnair should have provided hotel accommodation with meals for affected passengers per EU legislation.
Finnair communication told us that roughly 70 affected passengers were provided blankets to sleep on empty chairs at the airport. Most affected passengers were accommodated on the first-morning flight, although some had to wait close to a day.
Finnair did not up the equipment from Norra ATR to a larger Finnair Airbus plane that could have transported all affected passengers as early as possible in the morning.
Here’s the relevant information from Raja (Finnish Border Guard) – Google Translate:
Transit of scheduled services at the airport
In external border traffic and to the extent that internal border control has been restored, transit of scheduled scheduled traffic at the airport is allowed. During the transit journey, in principle, the person remains in the transit area of the airport, but the entry of a person may also be allowed in an individual case for the purpose of carrying out the above-mentioned transit.
For example, a person can stay in a hotel or accommodation facility near the airport, especially if the transit waiting time at the airport becomes long. Such situations include, for example, waiting times due to the cancellation of a connecting flight.
Raja could have allowed these passengers to enter Finland (Estonians by default are under the Schengen agreement – but there are some restrictions in place right now to enter Finland), and Finnair could have placed them at the Hilton and Scandic hotels that are adjacent to the terminal and within short waking distance.
A regrettable situation that Finnair with Raja could have handled better. Affected passengers were only offered a 17 euro voucher to buy food and beverages despite the length of the delay.
Considering that most of Finnair’s Airbus fleet is not utilized, would it have been so challenging to get one crew together in the morning and get all affected passengers home without making some wait for close to 24 hours?
Let’s see how smooth my entering to Finland from Frankfurt is that will take place on Sunday night.
I have mentioned to Raja a few times that the “illegal” Schengen border control should not be in place – it can only be instituted temporarily and has now continued for a year.