Background of the events that unfolded today are that I am travelling to Vienna, Austria, with my bicycle. I decided to opt for Finnair since they had a direct route to Vienna and the price for the fare was reasonable. Since I wanted to bring my bicycle on the plane I knew I first had to check with them (I have on previous trips travelled with bicycle without hassles).
First I checked their web page and yes, you can bring bicycles. To be sure I called their service center and they confirmed that I can bring my bicycle as long as I a couple of weeks before actual departure confirmed that I was bringing my bicycle.
So far so good.
Today I wanted to call Finnair to confirm my flight with them and that I was bringing my bicycle. I tried for 1 hour to reach the service center and no answer. Then I tried to email them, no answer. Finally I brought my questions to their Facebook page and within minutes their representative answered. Below is our conversation:
My reservation number is xxxxx
We are leaving on the 8th July from Stockholm to Vienna.
The bicycles will be packed in 2 boxes.
I have travelled with bicycles before.
Unfortunately this is not Finnair operated flight and according to agreement with Niki airline, bike transportation is not possible when flight has been booked as Finnair marketed flight.
Best regards, Finnair
But I booked with Finnair. Do you really mean that we cannot bring our bikes on this flight?
Also I called to check with Finnair prior to this booking.
Please double check this. If we cannot bring our bicycles then our trip is ruined!
Hi, this flight is marketed Finnair but operated by Niki airlines and yes unfortunately when booked like this bikes can not be confirmed and transportation isn´t ok.
when you say “booked like this”:
You are referring to my booking when I first read on your homepage about bikes, then called your service center (that answered) and they said no problem, only that I should call again after I booked so that they have info about it. Which I have now been trying to do without getting through (still), only to be told by you that I cannot bring bikes on this flight, since you are not actually the ones flying this flight and I should have somehow known this, and somehow should have worked out myself that the information on your homepage is false and that the person in your service center did not know what they are talking about.
You mean like that?
I have now spent 35 minutes talking to Niki Air a.k.a. Air Berlin that have accommodated my request to bring bicycles on the plane. I will have to pay 120 Euro (I knew I had to pay something). The service-guy at Niki was helpful and tried his best to calm me and to make sure that I will get on this flight with my bicycle. Jan you are my new hero!
Some lessons for Finnair are in order:
1. Do not write stuff on your homepage that is not true.
2. Do not instruct your staff to say stuff that is not true.
3. Do not push responsibility to the customer for fares you have sold in your name.
4. When you have sold a fare in your name that turned out to be wrong or have some errors then at least try to help.
Finnair is a reputable company that should know better. To market fares without direct control of the details in the fare is a bad move. A quick win can also lead to a greater loss – they have now lost my trust.