I am a Hong Kong citizen and was looking for a HKG-LHR return ticket. I found an offer from Finnair, of which the outbound flight from HKG to LHR combines two of their flights and has a stop at HEL. Despite being appealing to me, the 55-minute transfer time really concerned me. After I've done some research on their website, I realised that I will have to go through a security check, passport control, and also a health check under the COVID situation. May I know is 55 minutes enough for me to catch the connecting flight? Thank you.

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    Anecdotal, but (due to delays) I have made connections through Helsinki in significantly less than that. It seems to be a well organised airport. Commented Dec 31, 2021 at 7:55

3 Answers 3


With the two flights on a single booking, it means the airline thinks it’s possible, and will usually do all they can so that it happens (because they have a liability of it doesn’t).

You won’t go through passport control in Helsinki: you are coming from a non-Schengen country, going to a non-Schengen country, there’s no reason for anyone to check your passport there.

If your incoming flight is on time, I would expect deplaning, going through security, and going to your gate to be well under 55 minutes. No idea about the Covid-related checks (I don’t even know if they would actually happen in Helsinki in your case).

Note that if you miss your outbound flight, the airline has a duty to rebook you on the next available flight (there seems to be one about 3 hours later). If for some reason that flight is full or you don’t make that one either then they have to pay for hotel and meals until the next available flight.

So I wouldn’t worry too much. Worst case is that you are delayed (and in that case you may be able to claim compensation for the delay). Best and most probable case IMHO is that it all goes as planned.

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    Note that European airlines do this on purpose. They are competing with airlines offering direct flights, and thus like to keep stops as short as workable. They do have a strong incentive to make this work, so you can assume that it does. Commented Dec 31, 2021 at 5:15
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    ‘Pay for hotel and meals until the next available flight’ While true, being laid-over long enough to need a hotel may be problematic. I don’t know about Finland, but I know a number of other Schengen countries require non-citizens to actually go through entry control (and then exit control) if their transit takes too long or you have to leave the airport. Commented Dec 31, 2021 at 13:43

As @jcaron has written, theoretically, it should be possible in case your first flight is not delayed. However, I would not count on that. Very recently I had two flights with Finnair (one within the EU, one outside), both were delayed.

If your first flight is delayed, will you be allowed to enter Finland? Currently, due to the pandemic, there is a single cafe working until 10 pm if I am not mistaken (the kitchen closes earlier) in the third (international) terminal. The Helsinki airport is quite comfortable to sleep in there if needed but the single hotel that is in the airport is closed; all lounges are closed as well. Clearly, this is the responsibility of the airline to provide you with the next flight available but I don't know how they will deal with the situation if you are not allowed to enter Finland.

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    Good point that this may be more uncomfortable for a non-Schengen resident
    – Dragonel
    Commented Dec 31, 2021 at 12:22
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    Why do you think OP would have to stay in the airport or enter Finnland? OP is most likely not on the last flight out for the day, so they will just be rebooked on a later flight.
    – Hilmar
    Commented Dec 31, 2021 at 14:31
  • I have randomly checked the available HKG-LHR flights via the Finnair website: the next available flights have (i) 4 h 25 min or (ii) 16 h 45 min transfer time. There might be the case the first option is totally booked.
    – colombien
    Commented Dec 31, 2021 at 23:05

You'll be fine. Even if you miss the 16:00 flight they will simply put you on the 19:30 flight, so you still will get to London the same day.

CAVEAT: Please double check the later HEL -> LHR flight for your specific flight date.

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