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I am about to book a cruise that finishes in Helsinki at 11:30 am. My flight back to Munich will depart at 4:20 pm on the same day. Since cruise ships can hardly get stuck in traffic and the bus ride from the harbor to the Helsinki-Vantaa airport seems to take about 1.5 hours, I should be fine. Do you agree?

However, if I happen to miss that flight, what are the other options of getting home? A flight booked for the same day might cost about 500 euros and I did not find any connections by bus, train or car. I'd be fine with travelling longer if the price is not too high.

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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    rome2rio.com/s/Helsinki/Munich – choster Sep 15 '17 at 18:58
  • The ferry to Travismunde takes 29 hours. And costs more than €120 if booked now for tonight. I do not think this is a good option, but maybe you do think differently. – Willeke Sep 15 '17 at 18:58
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    If you miss your flight, your best option is likely another flight. That, yes, could cost more at the last minute, and it's possible you will have to stay overnight if no suitable flights are available. You could purchase travel insurance to cover this risk if you wish. – Zach Lipton Sep 15 '17 at 19:28
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    5 hours between debarkation and flight time is something I would plan. Also note, the train takes just under 45 minutes from Helsinki to the airport. – Johns-305 Sep 15 '17 at 20:29
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    Which harbour? Anyway, you'll want to take the airport train. It's about a half hour from Helsinki station and you'll have some tram connection from where your cruise arrives to there (look for the Rautatientori tram stop). – Louis Sep 15 '17 at 20:30
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Short answer

If there isn't a long delay you should be fine. Use online check-in and make sure you're using the fastest way to reach the airport which is most likely by train. If you provide details about which harbour you'll arrive at we could verify that.

Longer answer

Let's play devil's advocate and assume the worst case scenario (missing your flight to Munich and no goodwill on your airline's side to rebook you free of charge or offering you a cheap alternative). Here are some ideas to consider combining flight and ground transport:

  • Munich is well connected to the European rail network and there are plenty of cheap buses (e.g. FlixBus) connecting it to other cities in many European countries. My advice is to use Google Flights to check connections to the following cities (and then Momondo to book them, usually even cheaper): Salzburg, Vienna, Budapest and Prague. Flights there could be significantly cheaper than a direct one and you could connect to Munich by train, bus or rideshare. It would also offer a chance to visit another city if that's something you're interested in.

    enter image description here

    Flight prices can be much cheaper than in the above screenshot from Google Flights. It's hard to predict them (especially if booked last minute) but a quick check today showed prices as low as € 85 for a flight tomorrow (2017-09-17, Helsinki to Prague with Smartwings) compared to € 337 for the cheapest direct one to Munich.

    enter image description here

    There are also some cheap flights (below € 50) on Norwegian for various dates.

    enter image description here

    I've linked Rome2Rio route suggestions to Munich for each of the cities above but in many cases, you can do better than the prices stated here. For example, for Budapest and Prague train tickets to Munich are considerably cheaper if bought through the Hungarian or Czech railway services, either online or at the station. You can also check Seat61 for more information on Prague-Munich and Budapest-Munich.

  • Another option is to use an AirBaltic flight with a stopover in Riga (there are both flights with rather short as well as overnight stopovers). They are around € 130 so probably a good compromise between being fast and reasonably cheap.

    enter image description here

  • Or if you have a Russian visa, you could take a train to St. Petersburg or even Moscow. For example, Pobeda flies from Moscow to Memmingen (1 1/2 hours west of Munich) from around € 50.

    enter image description here

  • If you want to skip flying altogether, you could take a ferry to Tallinn. From there it's an "epic" bus ride to Munich, for example with Ecolines (€ 120.50).

    enter image description here

Of course, you need to weigh cost against comfort but with some research, there are plenty of interesting options. The above is how I would do it. If it suits your way of travelling I hope it helps as a starting point.

Conclusion

That said, have a safe trip and fingers crossed you reach your flight and won't need to use any of the information above.

2

There are plenty of options going by sea and land from Helsinki to Munich. You need a lot of time, but they are perfectly doable and probably a bit cheaper than booking a new flight on short notice.

You can take the Finnlines ferry from Helsinki to Travemünde and then continue by bus or train. The ferry departs daily at 5:00pm and arrives in Travemünde 9:30pm the next day. If you continue by train, you will have to change trains and also spend the night in Hamburg. If you continue by bus, you will have to spend the night in Travemünde or Lübeck and take the bus with transfer in Berlin the next morning. Even short before departure, ticket prices are changing, but expect to pay about 120€ for the ferry and about 40€ for the bus.

You can also take a train to Turku and the ferry from Turku to Stockholm, which departs twice daily at 8:15am and 8:15pm. You write that there is an hour and a half drive from your cruise ship port to Helsinki airport. Perhaps your cruise ship is disembarking in or near Turku anyway. From Stockholm, you can then either continue by train with transfer in Copenhagen and Hamburg or by bus with transfer in Hamburg or Berlin or even a combination of train and bus. The cheapest option is likely to take the train from Helsinki to Turku (20€), the ferry the next morning from Turku to Stockholm (15€) and then continue by bus (Flixbus) to Munich (about 75€) for a total of 110€. The night ferry is more expensive, since you need to pay at least 70-80€ extra for a compulsory bed or cabin. Going by train from Stockholm to Munich is quite a bit faster than by bus, but tickets can be expensive on short notice, up to 340€ depending on exactly which connection you book.

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If you miss your flight, the airline will generally put you on the next available one at no cost to you. Worst case scenario is that yours is the last flight for the day - in that case you'll have to spend the night in Helsinki on your own expense and fly back the next day.

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    "will generally put you on the next available one at no cost to you" is certainly not true for many airlines, especially with cheaper ticket categories. – djr Sep 15 '17 at 20:12
  • It's more likely that they would allow you to fly standby. But during a busy time of the year, or if flights are impacted by weather or other events, it could days and days to clear. – choster Sep 15 '17 at 20:22
  • "will generally put you on the next available one at no cost to you" Only if the cruise and flights are in the same booking – Crazydre Sep 15 '17 at 20:23
  • ...and airport transfer is part of that package.... – Johns-305 Sep 15 '17 at 20:29
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    It depends on the airline. Some full service carriers will honor what is known as the (usually unwritten) "Flat Tire Rule" if you're an hour or two late through some calamity: they'll put you on standby for the next flight at no charge (if flights are full or not until tomorrow, this could take quite a while). Many airlines, especially low-cost carriers but an increasing number in general, will not, and will make you pay, usually for a new ticket at a high last minute fare, which they are perfectly entitled to do under their contract. – Zach Lipton Sep 16 '17 at 4:33

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