Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Follow-up: Notes on my recent flight with Finnair

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Three follow-ups to my complaints about a recent flight:

Firstly, my chronology* in Stockholm appears to be off: Add half-an-hour to 12:15 and we might still have taken off more-or-less on time. However, we arrived in Helsinki with a delay of, possibly, twenty minutes. Exactly when and where these twenty minutes were lost, I can no longer reconstruct; however, chances are that they took place in Stockholm, as airline schedules tend to have time buffers, and they might well have taken place as I waited to board. In that case, the time waiting and standing must be increased; if not, then some other time interval.

*I only began to takes notes once on board the second-leg airplane and went by memory for the earlier phases.

Secondly, the overall delay, relative my travel time, was shorter than it felt: about an hour in the air; about an hour lost due to the re-scheduled meal. With hindsight, I wrote as if I had lost twice that amount of time, and might have been more forgiving, had I written the same text today. However, as with a working day, every extra hour hits home that much harder the longer the day has already been. Moreover, the circumstances, especially the screaming babies, made it that much worse—and, indeed, much of the earlier text was directed at the circumstances and the mishandling by Finnair (as opposed to just the delay).

Thirdly, Finnair has continued to give a poor impression, even after the flight: I sent a link to my text as a courtesy information. In order to do that, I had to visit the imprint to find a usable and even semi-relevant email address—the official contact channels pushed those user-hostile contact forms. It then took more than a week before I had any type of reaction* and the reaction was a complete disaster: Half the (short) answer was in German, informing me that email support was only available in English—despite my having used an email address for Germany and/or Germans. (And what about Finnish?) The other half claimed that

*I did not necessarily expect, let alone require, a reply, but given that one was sent, I would have expected something much more professional.

Could you please attach a file with your notes? Due to security reasons we do not have access to this webpage. As soon as you send it to us, I will forward your Email to our responsable department.

This made clear that English was not a strength of customer support either. Moreover, the approach to online access is inexcusable and amateurish (if, admittedly, not uncommon). Now, if Finnair wants to deny their “first-level support” Internet access, it is of no concern to me. But: if so, Finnair must take measure to ensure that e.g. blog entries and similar linked-to material can be read when needed, e.g. by providing a means to request retrieval by staff members with greater rights. To push the extra effort onto the customers is ridiculous. (And, no, I am not going to comply.) Moreover, either this woman is too daft to just forward the link to “our responsable department” or there are restrictions on Internet access well beyond first-level support. And: what if my “notes” had been in German too? (And: what if some customer does not speak English at all?) Either Finnair would now have demanded a translation, which would be far too much effort, or the original claim that support was only available in English would be proved incorrect.


Written by michaeleriksson

March 13, 2020 at 12:22 am

2 Responses

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  1. […] returning from Sweden more than a month ago ([1], [2]), I have had continual bouts of “cold-like symptoms”, culminating in a fever and a somewhat […]

  2. […] with FinnAir a few years back, as described in [4] with a follow-up and timeline correction in [5], and a correction of terminology in [6]. A number of other texts deal with poor experiences as a […]

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