A very last-minute flight to Helsinki to save a tight schedule

SAS ATR-72 at Helsinki Vantaa airport
SAS ATR-72 at Helsinki Vantaa airport

Sometimes things really do not go as planned, but being proactive, rather than waiting for others, helps a great deal.

Booked on the 6 pm flight with Finnair from Stockholm to Helsinki, however some technical problems with the air traffic control system in Finland causes delays and the Finnair flight from Stockholm goes from being on time to two hours delayed due to a late incoming aircraft and a mess at Helsinki airport. A two-hour delay will completely screw up my plans for the next 24 hours.

But there is an SAS flight leaving Stocholm for Helsinki an hour later at 7 pm and when looking at the departure screens it does seems to expected on time and not affected by the air traffic control problems in Finland.

Too late to book a ticket on the SAS webpage, apparently the cut-off time for online bookings is 60 minutes before departure. Apparently it is not possible to book a ticket over the phone either when I tried to call as they have a similar cut-off time and the flight is now on airport control.

Last option, take the airside transfer bus from terminal 2, the terminal Finnair uses, to terminal 5, the terminal used for all international SAS flights, which is on the completely opposite side of the airport. Fingers crossed, nothing to lose. My original flight has not even left Helsinki yet.

32 minutes to go when I reach the airside SAS service desk in terminal 5, 2 minutes left until the check-in deadline for the flight. But I explain the problem and a similing and very helpful agent calls the gate, taps on the computer and a couple of minutes later, with 24 minutes to go I have a confirmed reservation for the flight and reach the gate in Concourse F just in time for boarding.

SAS ATR-72 at Stockholm Arlanda airport
Boarding the SAS ATR-72 in Stockholm

No margin to speak of but there is no delay for our flight. We depart on time and land in Helsinki an hour later right on time, and the evening is saved.

These are the moments when you really appreciate travelling on a full-service airline and being assisted by some truly helpful staff members who actually make an effort to help you and go the extra length when you really need it.

The agent at the SAS service desk was very helpful and although this meant having to buy a new ticket and even having to pay a surcharge for it (there is an extra fee when purchasing a ticket at the airport) it was definitely worth it.

No hard feelings for Finnair though. The delay was beyond their control and they really did their best. Lots of flights out of Helsinki were delayed and although things would have been a lot easier if I had got the information about the two-hour delay a bit earlier, in practice they probably did not know either.

SAS ATR-72 at Helsinki Vantaa airport
The SAS ATR-72 just after landing at Helsinki Vantaa airport
About MorePremium.com 1018 Articles
My interest in premium travels and frequent travels started in the 90’s, so to date I have over 20 years of premium travel experience. MorePremium.com will mostly be about my own experiences, based on my own knowledge and my travel history, but you will also find news items, analyses, tips and tricks and reports from events.

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