Thursday, April 22, 2010

Helpful Hints from Heloise

The ash cloud stubbornly hanging over Finland is causing havoc for visitors to Finland. I know nothing about aviation, but I want to put in my two cents to Finnair anyway. After all, I have something in common with Finnair: we both love Finland and want more people to come here on vacation.

1. Update your web site! On Wednesday, we found out by telephone about a flight to the States. That information didn't make it to the web site for another hour.

2. American tourists probably don't have usable cellphones with them in Finland. If you are going to rely on overbooked phone-lines as the sole method of communication, don't charge for those calls. This kind of message can be daunting:

Those returning passengers/homebound whose flight has earlier been cancelled to above destination, please call +358 10 808 045 (from Finnish landline 8,21 c/call + 5.9 c/min; all mobilephones 8.21 c/call + 16.9 c/min), open 24/7.

An American visitor might not be able to run to the R-kioski with 20 euroa every time they want to place a call. The call will not even connect unless the cell phone has at least 20 euroa on the card.

3. If you ask your passengers for a cell phone number for text messages, then text them. I used my cell phone number for my friend and I received the first text message yesterday afternoon. Luckily I was in my Finnish class and could ask my teacher to translate it. Most tourists don't speak Finnish. I think the texts should be in Finnish and English or I should have had the option of choosing English as the language for the text messages on your web site.

I am sure the people roaming around the Helsinki airport can add some more pointers to this list. Send them some salmiakki and a questionnaire so you have some direction for when the next volcano blows!

Post Script:

Just to add the note that Felice is home in the Granite State. She says that Finnair treated her very well once she was in the airport for her long wait. They provided her with a hotel and with food vouchers. She spoke with Europeans who had been stuck in the States and were not treated so well by American Airlines. Air passengers in Europe have greater rights than air passengers in the United States.

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