Finnair aircraft at Helsinki Airport on 30 March 2023. The Finnish majority state-owned airline has announced changes to the carry-on baggage allowances of its most affordable ticket types on flights within Europe, describing the changes as an attempt to ensure smooth boarding and passenger comfort. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)


FINNAIR on Tuesday announced it will rein in the amount of carry-on baggage on its flights by trimming the baggage allowances for its most affordable ticket types.

The Finnish majority state-owned airline revealed that it will replace its economy light ticket type with a new ticket type called superlight on all journeys within Europe. Passengers with superlight tickets will only be allowed to carry on a single bag, which must be stowable under the seat in front of them.

Passengers who want to carry on both a regular carry-on bag and an under-seat bag will have to purchase a light ticket, which are available on long-haul flights and, for business-class customers, on flights within Europe.

The maximum dimensions of an under-seat bag are 40 centimetres by 30 centimetres by 15 centimetres. A regular carry-on bag, meanwhile, must not exceed the dimensions of 55 centimetres by 40 centimetres by 23 centimetres.

The airline will also reduce baggage allowances for business-class customers on continental flights and adopt additional fees for all special baggage, such as golf bags and ski equipment.

The adjustments to ticket types and baggage restrictions will enter into effect on 1 June.

Finnair on Tuesday said the adjustments were made due to the impact excess carry-on baggage has on the punctuality and passenger comfort of flights.

“The objective is to ensure smoother boarding, on-time operations and comfortable travel on all our flights. The amount of excess carry-on baggage is a visible challenge on all flights, affecting both flight punctuality and travel comfort,” commented Valtteri Helve, the director of products at Finnair.

“We are regularly receiving feedback about this from our customers and staff.”

Helve said the airline will step up the monitoring of carry-on baggage at airports in order to ensure boarding is smooth and flights depart on time during the busy summer season.

“Excess carry-on baggage will be checked in for an additional charge,” he stated. “It is advisable to check the baggage allowance associated with your ticket and abide by it. Charges for additional baggage are higher at the airport than in advance.”

Finnair also announced that passengers travelling with superlight, light or classic tickets will have to cough up an additional charge in order to choose their seat. Passengers opting not to do so will be assigned a seat by the airport staff.

Heidi Lemmetyinen, the director of communications at Finnair, told Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday that the airline has received both positive and negative feedback for the changes. She reiterated that the changes are designed to improve customer service, rather than squeeze more money out of passengers.

“Passengers have at times really had a lot of baggage, which has slowed down boarding as people have tried to make their baggage fit. Flights have been delayed as we’ve had to move baggage to the cargo hold at last minute,” she said.

Delays at any stage of the process can have ripple effects across what is an operation of small margins.

“There’s a butterfly effect. Passengers are late for their connecting flights. Or flights have to wait for passengers. At worst, a delay in one stage is repeated for other airlines’ flights and passengers,” she reminded.

Although pilots can sometimes make up for delays by flying faster, that is neither easy nor particularly responsible, according to Lemmetyinen. “Flying faster uses up more fuel, which raises both flight costs and carbon-dioxide emissions.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT