Finnair to Charge for Carry-On Luggage

Finnair to Charge for Carry-On Luggage

DALLAS – Finnair (AY) is introducing a new “Superlight” fare, which will only include a small bag, switching the carry-on bag as an additional purchasable option on their flights. Finnair is the first premium airline worldwide to offer this new service to customers.

The main reason behind this decision is the reported issues with punctuality, as excess carry-on baggage can cause delays in boarding. For the moment, the “Superlight” ticket will only be offered on Finnair flights on the Intra-European market, replacing the current “Economy Light” option for passengers.

Ole Orvér, Chief Commercial Officer at AY, said, “Punctuality is very important for our customers, and the target of the changes we are now making is to ensure smooth boarding, on-time departures, and comfortable travel for everyone. Excess carry-on baggage on board is a known issue, impacting both punctuality as well as travel comfort.”

Starting on June 1, 2023, the airline will also decrease the baggage allowance for Business Class passengers, which currently offers two carry-on bags and two checked bags of 10kgs and 32kgs total, respectively. Free seat selection during check-in will also disappear with the introduction of the upcoming “Superlight” fare in Economy Class.

Finnair Passenger Helsinki Airport Overview
Finnair has launched a new fare that segregates their Economy Class passenger clients according to their needs in terms of baggage. Photo: Finnair.

More Passenger Experience Changes

A secondary collateral effect of this new “Superlight” fare on European flights will undoubtedly reduce weight per passenger on board the aircraft. This aspect will considerably impact not only the overall performance of flights but also allow a decrease in fuel consumption and, thus, a reduction of carbon emissions to the atmosphere.

Finnair has placed the environment as one of the key terms in its strategic plan for 2023. To achieve the goal of cutting CO2 emissions by half compared to 2019, the airline has also recently announced the elimination of inflight and preorder retail sales of cosmetics, accessories, gifts, and other products for their flights, which also add up to the weight of aircraft in the end.

As well, AY has also declared plans to modify their inflight experience on Economy Class long-haul flights by dropping the second meal service on routes such as Helsinki (HEL) to New York (JFK) or Dubai (DXB).

Finnair Airbus A350 Business Class Cabin
The brand new long-haul Business Class Cabin is Finnair’s latest and most attractive product, offering an innovative and very comfortable no-recline seat. Photo: Finnair.

A Drop in Airline Prestige?

Finnair is making history by eliminating the carry-on bag from their complementary product range in Economy Class. This practice has previously been an aspect exclusive to low-cost carriers such as Ryanair (FR), EasyJet (U2), or WizzAir (W6). However, to what extent is this method a real drop in airline prestige for Finnair?

Adding an additional fare without a complimentary carry-on bag allows AY to create a special ticket for a quickly-rising section of leisure passengers, which usually looks for cheap and short journeys for which a small bag is sufficient. On many occasions, despite offering an additional bag, this type of passenger will not make use of this advantage, as it would mean 10kg more to carry around the airport, airplane, and destination.

On the other hand, passengers wanting to fly the traditional way, with a carry-on bag included in the ticket, will still have this possibility by purchasing the bag additionally with their ticket. The real question is if this change in fares will impact the pricing of tickets on European flights flown by Finnair, a topic for which the airline has yet to give further details.

Featured image: Finnair OH-LKH Embraer E190. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways.

Deputy Reporter - Europe & Middle East
Commercial aviation enthusiast from Madrid, Spain. Studying for a degree in Air Traffic Management and Operations at the Technical University of Madrid. Aviation photographer since 2018.

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