Delayed or cancelled flights | Finnair United States

In case of disruption

Taking you to your destination safely, smoothly and on time is our top priority. However, sometimes flights may be disrupted. In such situations, we do our best to minimise the effects to you and recover the service for you as soon as possible. Below you’ll find information on what to expect in case of disruption.

Where to find information

In case of disruption, we will share information to you in different channels. We always aim to contact you directly, if your flight is disrupted.

  • We send you SMS and/or e-mail messages to let you know about a disruption affecting your flight and your next steps. To make sure that we have your current contact information, please go to Manage booking or to Finnair app to check your details.
  • Have you already downloaded the Finnair app? It makes your journey smoother and keeps you up to date on possible changes in your travel plan. 
  • You can always check your flight’s status from Finnair flight timetables or on airport's websites.
  • You might also want to follow our travel updates page, where we offer up-to-date information especially on larger disruptions.
  • Our customer service is always at your service via the chat and contact centre.
  • You’ll find disruption information also on our social media channels, especially on Twitter.

What happened?

If your flight is delayed, we will inform you about the delay and the new departure time via SMS and/or e-mail, if we have your correct contact information. You can also find up to date flight information via the Finnair app, flight status updates on the website and on airport monitors.

In case of a longer delay, we will offer you a service voucher for refreshments and/or a meal. To collect a voucher, please follow the instructions sent via SMS or announced at the airport.

If you missed your connecting flight

  • We will re-route you to your destination. As availability of alternative flights may be limited, re-routing may take some time.
  • You will find your new travel plan through Manage booking or the Finnair app.
  • We do our best to inform you about the changes in your connecting flight(s) already during the flight, and our ground crew will make sure that the transfer to your connecting flight goes fluently.
  • Please note that if your journey includes other flights with a separate ticket, you should contact the issuing agency for any changes.

If your connection time is very tight

  • Occasionally it is uncertain, whether you will be able to make to your connecting flight. If there is a chance to still catch the flight, our cabin crew or ground crew at the arrival gate will advise you on what to do.
  • In this situation it is necessary to proceed to the departure gate very quickly. We understand that this may be a stressful situation for you and apologise for the inconvenience.
  • If you miss your connecting flight regardless of a good try, our ground crew at the gate or at the transfer service desk will organise a new flight for you.

Sometimes flights are unfortunately cancelled. We will contact you via text message or email if your flight is cancelled and we have your correct contact information.

In case of cancellation, you normally have these options

  • We will try our best to find you an alternative flight to your destination as soon as possible. Please allow us some time to do this, as flight availability may be limited. Once we have booked the new flight, you can find the updated travel plan in Manage booking and the Finnair app.
  • If the new travel plan is not suitable for you, you can change your travel dates by some days via Manage booking.
  • If you decide not to travel, you can cancel your whole booking and apply for a full refund of your unused flight ticket via Manage booking.
  • If you need to change only some of the flights in your booking or only for some passengers, please contact our customer service.

As an alternative flight or other means of transportation is sometimes not available on the same day, we will seek to arrange hotel accommodation for you in addition to refreshments and/or a meal, according to the situation and circumstances. We do our best to find a hotel for you near the airport, but sometimes, due to limited availability, the hotel may be located further away.

Instead of having to wait for the accommodation and flight, in some destinations it is possible for you to travel to your final destination by land. This includes bus or taxi transportation to the city center and back to the airport.

Our ground crew will help to arrange accommodation or ground transportation for you.

Like other airlines, we sometimes accept more bookings for our flights than there are seats in the aircraft. This is because of the likelihood that all customers with a booking don’t arrive to the flight. This is also called no-show. Using historical data on each flight, we are able to estimate the number of customers who are likely to travel, so it is rare that you wouldn’t have a seat and couldn’t for that reason travel on your original flight.

This is what happens if it appears that the flight is very full

  • We look for volunteers to transfer to another flight in advance via SMS or during the check-in.
  • We ask volunteers to arrive to the airport and to the boarding gate normally, because there might be available seats on your original flight. Our gate agent checks the availability for you, and if needed helps you with a new booking and compensation related questions.
  • If you volunteer to change your travel plans and don’t eventually have a seat on your original flight, we will find you the best possible alternative flight to your destination, take care of you and also compensate the possible delay and inconvenience.
  • It is very rare that we would ask you to change your flight involuntarily. We are genuinely sorry, if this happened to you. We will of course find you the best possible alternative flight and compensate the delay and inconvenience.

There are letters SBY on my boarding pass. What does it mean?

Letters SBY mean that you are on standby, as we were, for the time being, unable to confirm a seat for you on your flight. We look for volunteers to transfer to another flight, and ask you to come to the boarding gate normally, because it is very much possible that there are available seats on your flight after all. Our gate agent checks the availability for you. If the unwanted happens and there wouldn’t be a seat for you, we will of course find you the best possible alternative flight and compensate the delay and inconvenience.

We sometimes lease aircraft from other airlines to cover for a situation when we have a temporary shortage of aircraft, e.g. due to sudden aircraft damage or longer lasting maintenance.

Good to know

  • When buying tickets through our website, the operating airline is shown on the ‘Select Flights’ page.
  • If you have already made a booking on any of the flights with a changed carrier, we will do our best to inform you about the aircraft change via SMS and/or email. Please note that the change can sometimes happen with a short notice.
  • Normally the Finnair service concept is followed also on flights operated by another airline. The cabin crew can come either from Finnair or the operating airline.
  • If you don’t want to fly with another carrier, you can change your travel date or cancel your flight and get a full refund for your unused ticket by contacting our Customer Care.
  • You will find more information about the service on flights with a changed carrier on our Travel updates page.

We understand that any disruption to your journey is an unwanted one, and we do our very best to minimise the effects to you. We would like to hear your feedback on how we succeeded in recovering our service to you to improve for the next time. You can send your message to us via our feedback form.

In customer care and compensation, we follow EU regulation (EC261/2004). You can read more about your passenger rights here.

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