Finnair Enters Low Cost Territory: No Free Cabin Bags, Randomized Seating, Devaluing Finnair Plus

Finnair Airbus A330 am Gate Kopie

Oneworld member Finnair has become a reliable source of bad news over the past years. After pioneering the business class light fare (excluding checked bags, priority services or lounge access), the airline has further devalued its cheapest tickets by eliminating free cabin bags from the equation. This change is joined by randomized seating (even in business class), higher award flight and upgrade costs and devaluation of frequent flyer perks.

Changes to Economy Class Fares

For flights within Europe, Finnair will offer the new Superlight fare in relief of the Light fare. The Superlight fare includes a personal item with 40 x 30 x 15 cm measurements. A larger cabin bag (like a trolley) has to be purchased separately. This does not affect Finnair Silver, Gold or Platinum members, as they may bring a cabin bag for free. The same applies to Oneworld tier holders of Ruby or higher.

In addition to that, you can no longer select your seat for free during Check-in. If you don’t want to be seated in a randomly selected seat, you have to pay up. Even your assigned seat on your boarding pass is subject to change if somebody else decides to purchase your assigned seat:

Interestingly, this change will also affect business class passengers.

Changes to Business Class Fares

From June onwards, Finnair business class fares including hold luggage only include one checked bag of 23 kg instead of previously two of 32 kg each. This applies to both short and long haul flights. The cabin bag allowance has also been cut in half – you may only bring one instead of two on board for free.

As mentioned earlier, seat selection for business class light and classic passengers will also be randomized. Passengers won’t be able to choose their seat unless they pay for it or hold a Finnair Plus or Oneworld status. Even when sitting upfront, the surprise seat change is possibility.

Changes to Finnair Plus Award Tickets

While Finnair was busy slapping customers in the face, they figured it might be a good idea to gut punch their loyalty program members, too. The airline adjusted the Finnair Plus award chart, raising mileage prices for almost any reward ticket.

RegionTravel ClassOld PriceNew PriceChange
Within Northern EuropeEconomy7,500 points10,000 points+33%
Within Northern EuropeBusiness12,500 points15,000 points+20%
Within EuropeEconomy15,000 points20,000 points+33%
Within EuropeBusiness25,000 points30,000 points+20%
Long-HaulEconomy45,000 points45,000 points
Long-HaulPremium Eco60,000 points65,000 points+8%
Long-HaulBusiness80,000 points95,000 points+19%

They also reintroduce fuel and other surcharges to award bookings, rising them into triple digits for long-haul flights. The following taxes and surcharges apply to nonstop award tickets from Helsinki:

  • €10 to €45 in economy class
  • €35 to €75 in premium economy
  • €15 to €120 in business class

You can add €10 for economy and €20 for business class connections to Helsinki. Finnair has listed the new surcharges here.

A quick example of how these changes manifest: A oneway award ticket from Berlin to Singapore was previously available for 80,000 points + €82 in taxes. Now it’s 95,000 points + €222.

Increased Upgrade Costs

The blows just keep coming: Not only award flights have become more expensive, the devaluation of Finnair Plus points also includes point based upgrades. From June onwards customers can expect to pay up to 50% more for better seats and service:

RegionUpgradeOld PriceNew PriceChange
Within Northern EuropeEconomy → Business7,500 points10,000 points+33%
Within EuropeEconomy → Business10,000 points15,000 points+50%
Long-HaulEconomy → Business50,000 points60,000 points+20%
Long-HaulEconomy → Prem. Eco20,000 points25,000 points+25%
Long-HaulPrem. Eco → Business30,000 points35,000 points+17%

Reduced Baggage Allowance for Frequent Flyers

While your status may be the only reason left to choose a Finnair flight over Ryanair or other low-cost-carriers, the airline has been busy to reduce perks here, as well.

Firstly, Silver members may no longer check a bag for free. Instead, they now get a 50% discount when purchasing their first checked bag.

Finnair Plus Gold members may no longer bring special baggage, such as golf bags, skis, or heavy bags for free. These have to be purchased extra for the full price.

Platinum members were able to check oversized baggage (size or weight) for free. They are now bound to oblige to the 23 kg like other passengers.

Bottom Line

Whew, this honestly is a mouthful. Finnair has managed to flip off every perceivable part of their customer base at the same time. The only positive thing (for the airline) is that they only garner one negative headline instead of four by announcing these changes simultaneously.

The changes to Finnair Plus will anger their existing customer base and push newcomers to other Oneworld programs like the British Airways Executive Club. The introduction of randomized seating and pay-for-carry-on put them in the same league as almost any other low-cost-carrier. The only remaining reason to choose Finnair over Ryanair, SAS or other competition might be status benefits. Yet, no amount of blueberry juice can salvage this.

Sources: Finnair, Finnair Plus

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Comments (4)

  1. Trapper says:

    So for the last month they have had the 30% discount and 30% bonus miles posted on their website starting on 5/17. Didn’t show on 5/17 or 5/18 available for actual sale and I did the chat both days. Magically on the 19th it goes off the site and they email me back saying it was a mistake and a promo from LAST YEAR. Are you kidding me? Insanity

  2. VM says:

    2 columns in the first table in section “Changes to Finnair Plus Award Tickets” is wrong.
    It is written as New Price = 7500 points, Old Price = 10000 points 🙂

  3. Emm says:

    Booked whole family long haul on Finnair and had to pay $800 extra for seat selection, in addition to tickets themselves! Have seen various YouTube videos praising the Finnair “look” – am curious to see how long that will go on for given the change in the landscape with this airline.

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