In a few days, I will be traveling from San Francisco -> Helsinki -> Moscow (Sheremetyevo) with Finnair (economy class).

A month ago passengers started to experience substantial delays to pick up their baggage and based on my understanding the situation has not fully been resolved. It looks like the airport tried to alleviate the situation, deploying some measures:

  • additional dispatchers and supervisors are deployed in the baggage claim area to interact with passengers and to provide them with the most recent information;
  • if the waiting period for baggage exceeds 30 minutes, passengers who can no longer wait can submit applications for the free delivery to their indicated addresses at the counter in the baggage claim area.

Being in a foreign country, after a long flight, I am not really a fan of spending a few unnecessary hours in the airport. So, the first solution is not really helpful for me, the second might be helpful depending on how is it implemented.

Being aware that the airport/airline will try to downplay the situation as much as they could, I wanted to ask:

  • what are my rights regarding the delayed baggage?
  • how much wait time is acceptable and what can I do to keep airport/finnair accountable?
  • if I have any rights, what is the right approach to enforce them?

P.S. I read a similar question about potential delays, but my situation is different. I do not have separate tickets. I bought everything via Finnair (just the second leg will be administered via Aeroflot)

  • I don't see what you're expecting us to say. If your baggage is not in the baggage hall, no amount of asserting your 'rights' will make it magically appear. The airport seems to have taken reasonable steps to assist. If your baggage doesn't turn up, claim under the airline's lost baggage policy or your travel insurance.
    – user90371
    Commented Jul 22, 2019 at 3:52
  • 2
    @ReddHerring usually the rights specify the penalty if one of the parties is unable to do something. For an analogy, if the flight is cancelled, usually a passenger should be provided with a compensation. I know, that the flight will not magically appear, but some rules prevent the airline from completely ignoring me. Going forward with an analogy, for a cancelled flight situation, the reasonable steps taken by a company might be 'we will put you on a new flight in 5 days', but if the rules requires the company to do something else, I would like to know them. Commented Jul 22, 2019 at 4:09
  • Related question travel.stackexchange.com/questions/116245/… I don’t think it’s possible to define “How much wait time is acceptable” - I’m pretty sure we’d all like our baggage to be waiting for us the moment we clear Immigration and step into the baggage reclaim area but that rarely happens. What’s acceptable to one passenger might be intolerable for another.
    – Traveller
    Commented Jul 22, 2019 at 5:46
  • @Traveller thank you very much for the link. I was not looking for 'how much time is acceptable for me or any other passenger'. I was curious whether there is a law which states that is the maximum time after which the company/airport is liable. For example, probably it is fine if the baggage is later for an hour, but is it fine if it is late for 5 hours? 8 hours? What if the airport claims that they will deliver the luggage to your hotel (because the wait time is too long) and after 3 days it is not delivered or it is not delivered in 7 days and I already have to fly back? Commented Jul 22, 2019 at 6:40
  • 1
    IIRC the limit between “delayed” and “lost” is 21 days.
    – jcaron
    Commented Jul 22, 2019 at 9:42

1 Answer 1

  1. What are my rights regarding delayed baggage?

    Finnair’s baggage policy states their liability for baggage delay is limited to 1,131 SDRs (approximately EUR 1,200). The air carrier is liable for destruction, loss or damage to baggage up to 1,131 SDRs (approximately EUR 1,200). In the case of checked baggage, it is liable even if not at fault, unless the baggage was defective. In the case of unchecked baggage, the carrier is liable only if at fault. If the baggage has not been insured for its full value the passenger can benefit from a higher liability limit by making a special declaration at the latest at check-in and by paying a supplementary fee.

  2. How much wait time is acceptable?

    I could not find a definitive answer other than the timeframes in (3) below

  3. How do I enforce my rights?

    Finnair’s baggage policy states that if the baggage is damaged, delayed, lost or destroyed, the passenger must write and complain to the air carrier as soon as possible. In the case of damage to checked baggage, the passenger must write and complain within seven days, and in the case of delay within 21 days, in both cases from the date on which the baggage was placed at the passenger's disposal.

See also EU air passenger rights

  • Whilst this answer isn't wrong, it doesn't really answer what the OP is asking. The fact that delayed baggage compensation is limited to 1131 SDR's doesn't mean that the fact it takes your bag an hour to come out means that you get that much!
    – Doc
    Commented Jul 22, 2019 at 18:08

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