Remember being excited to go on a trip? Back in February, I reported on being offered a Finnair upgrade to business class for €172 which I didn’t take. A couple of weeks later, the other sector had a €124 upgrade offer, so I booked that. Of course, travel stopped and the Finnair refund experience took over.
When it comes to flight refunds, I have had decent luck. British Airways tend to boomerang the cash straight back to you after a phone call, which is appreciated. Qatar Airways have a generous change policy which I used successfully. Finnair is the one that took the most time.
Finnair Refund Experience Timeline
9 February 2020 – I went online and booked flights from London Heathrow to St. Petersburg and back. This cost me £191.24 plus £10.20 for a Smoked Salmon meal one way and £6.80 for a Reindeer Flatbread the other way.
22 February 2020 – Jumped on an upgrade offer from Helsinki to London Heathrow for €124.00 on the Airbus A330. I thought this well worth it for a three hour flight in a flat bed.
26 March 2020 – Finnair notify me that my flights are cancelled.
27 March 2020 – I went online and submitted a cash refund request. The return e-mail states, “Our average handling time is approximately one month.”
1 April 2020 – Finnair e-mailed me asking if I would like to switch to a gift voucher instead of a cash refund. It is also noted here that refunds are now taking up to eight weeks. In return for accepting the voucher, I would get 10% extra value. I’m given until 5 April to do this and I don’t respond to the mail at all.
7 April 2020 – The airline once again says I can take the voucher and get 10% extra value. This time I have until 13 April to accept the offer and once again I do nothing.
26 May 2020 – I receive two e-mails from Finnair. Both state that my refund is still waiting to be processed, both apologising for the delay. Average handling time is mentioned as approximately eight weeks, with some requests taking up to 12 weeks.
28 May 2020 – All the money arrives back on credit cards I used.
For what it’s worth, I’m happy with the Finnair refund experience. They said it would be “approximately 8 weeks” and in the end it took exactly nine weeks. At no time did I contact them to follow up, as I found their communications to me to be more than enough.
I read during that period that Finnair usually process around 10,000 refunds annually and they had a backlog of over 100,000 to get through, which is the reason for the delay. My imagination had visions of two harried staff members in a drab grey room responsible for doing all of this, so I had no plans to get irritated with the airline.
Have you been through the Finnair refund experience yourself and how did you find it? Perhaps you have a story about another airline? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Anna Zvereva from Tallinn, Estonia via Wikimedia Commons.