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Why donít you book flights right now? Covid19 August 2020

Why donít you book flights right now? Covid19 August 2020

Old Aug 24, 20, 11:21 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: HEL
Programs: AY Platinum, AA, BA, SK, DL, NT, WB + hotels
Posts: 5,080
Why donít you book flights right now? Covid19 August 2020

I find myself booking the strangest of airlines, and feel like Iím living in the sixties. The prices arenít expensive, but flights are few and far between, so connections are really long, sometimes over night, even in Europe. Many itineraries require two stops.

I would book AY, but they donít fly where Iím going, because the Finnish government changes their recommendations all the time, and while AY doesnít follow suit, AM does, and AM-heavy flights get cancelled.

(BT is even worse in this respect. They cancel all flights to all destinations that reach 25/100.000/14, and do this weekly, so you canít even consider BT Ė if they get you there, you might be stranded when they cancel your return with zero notice. The 25/100.000/14 is a requirement by the Latvian government.)

So, what could AY, or any airline for that matter, do, to make you book that flight youíre thinking about all the time but dare not book just yet because things may change?

I, for one, donít consider travelling to countries that are otherwise open but require a negative PCR test as an entry requirement. That test result might very well be positive without me having any symptoms at all, or it could be a false positive if Iíve had covid19 months ago, without knowing it. I canít risk getting such a result a day before my trip, and I have no idea what would happen to my flight ticket, should that happen.

So, #1:
- Open up a Finnair Covid Testing Center close to the airport
- Charge Ä100
- Promise results in 24 hours
- Provide documentation (if needed in original form, provide a desk at HEL where one can pick the certificate up before boarding)
- Promise a 100 % refund of ticket, or date change without fare difference, if test result is positive

Secondly, I would not travel to a place that requires a mandatory quarantine or self-isolation on arrival. Right now, AY is clear about this: itís not a valid reason for cancellation. As regulations change all the time, I donít feel safe booking flights to a place that may, or may not, require mandatory quarantine or self-isolation on arrival.

So, #2:
- Create, and update, a list of all destinations that currently require a mandatory quarantine or self-isolation on arrival; when pax books, show this as a pop-up and ask pax to tick box to agree before continuing
- In the above case, all is good and no special cancellation policies are needed Ė if the requirement is there when you book, you know what you get yourself into
- However, if pax books flights to a destination that does NOT require a mandatory quarantine or self-isolation on arrival at the time of the booking, but changes its requirements afterwards and requires this on the dates of travel, promise a 100 % refund of ticket, or date change without fare difference

Thirdly, I am not very convinced by the ever-changing recommendations that our government puts out every so often. They are the strictest in Europe and based on a completely arbitrary figure, which even the Finnish metropolitan area does not meet. They are also only country-based when we know that infections are highly local. In the case of Spain, for instance, the Canaries have been largely (almost) corona-free, but our government puts them in the same basket with Madrid and Catalonia. I would feel very risky booking anything that involves an AM-heavy AY flight, because AM follows those recommendations, whether they make sense or not, and AY cancels AM-heavy flights.

Sometimes, itís difficult to know which flights belong to this group and which donít. AY flies to AGP, which traditionally is AM-heavy, but currently AM doesnít sell holidays to the AGP area. Thereís true scheduled demand, as well. CHQ and RHO, on the other hand, were cancelled right away when AM cancelled. So what about LPA or TFS? Nobody knowsÖ

So, #3:
- Make a distinction between true scheduled flights that donít follow AM and semi-scheduled AM-heavy flights that will only be operated if AM sells holidays

I feel that #1 and #2 are major obstacles right now. No point in booking any longhauls because we donít know when those countries finally open up, and when they do, what kind of requirements they have.
ffay005 is offline  
Old Aug 24, 20, 11:40 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
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Goddamn it took me long to realize that AM is AurinkoMatkat.
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Old Aug 24, 20, 11:49 am
  #3  
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Sorry! The post grew too long, too.

By the way, what exactly are the AY policies if someone buys XXX-HEL-XXX and the government changes regulations so that pax resident in XXX cannot travel to Finland anymore? Refund, or no refund?

All in all, the special rules and exceptions are not very well communicated by AY, I'm afraid. I haven't seen much about this in the Finnish press, either.
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Old Aug 24, 20, 11:57 am
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by ffay005 View Post
So, #1:
- Open up a Finnair Covid Testing Center close to the airport
- Charge Ä100
- Promise results in 24 hours
- Provide documentation (if needed in original form, provide a desk at HEL where one can pick the certificate up before boarding)
- Promise a 100 % refund of ticket, or date change without fare difference, if test result is positive
I would think that that is up to the airport, not airlines, and it is dubious that enough customers would be willing to pay to justify the running that kind of show in HEL.

Originally Posted by ffay005 View Post
So, #3:
- Make a distinction between true scheduled flights that donít follow AM and semi-scheduled AM-heavy flights that will only be operated if AM sells holidays
Hmm, have they not been doing that all along? As I recall, AM leisure destinations elicit a warning when selected on booking form. That's from way before Covid.

Also to be fair, I think tour operators are required to cancel tours following government guidelines.
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Old Aug 24, 20, 12:13 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Helsinki-Vantaa APT, Finland
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Not interested much to book Finnair tickets. So tired to play cancel/timetable changed again/contact CS -game.

Finnair made a mistake by planning too optimistic schedules in advance and now they play that idiotic 2 weeks game by cancelling massive amount of flights or re-scheduling those in two-weeks time window. It's annoying.

E-mail full of messages how timetables changed again or some flights are cancelled. Some flights chanced three times already and again contacting CS is needed. When You book AY -operated flights, you can be sure it will change to Norra again. Nothing stays as it was originally.

Then AY's chat is all the time too busy and kicks out.



They cant clear this chaos until they adjust their timetables and reality to meet again.
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Old Aug 24, 20, 1:04 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by OH-LGG View Post
Not interested much to book Finnair tickets. So tired to play cancel/timetable changed again/contact CS -game.

Finnair made a mistake by planning too optimistic schedules in advance and now they play that idiotic 2 weeks game by cancelling massive amount of flights or re-scheduling those in two-weeks time window. It's annoying.

E-mail full of messages how timetables changed again or some flights are cancelled. Some flights chanced three times already and again contacting CS is needed. When You book AY -operated flights, you can be sure it will change to Norra again. Nothing stays as it was originally.

Then AY's chat is all the time too busy and kicks out.



They cant clear this chaos until they adjust their timetables and reality to meet again.
Yeah, my experiences are not quite that bad, but I get your point and I've been affected, too. It's too much of a roulette.

That three-tier traffic light system was promised ages ago when Kiuru babbled away about mandatory quarantines. Now everyone has forgotten about it. It could bring some help to this situation if the tiers are clearly defined and based on something that has scientific support.
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Old Aug 24, 20, 1:15 pm
  #7  
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Originally Posted by Courmisch View Post
I would think that that is up to the airport, not airlines, and it is dubious that enough customers would be willing to pay to justify the running that kind of show in HEL.
That's a sort of civil servant approach, to always find someone else who should do something instead of just doing it yourself. My view is that if this could bring more business to AY, then it is in their interest to do something about it. Those tests are cheap, so if they don't look at extra profits here, Ä100 should be doable. Results are requested not by airports, but by foreign governments, and if AY wants people to fly, it should be in their interest to make flying as painless and smooth as possible.

Originally Posted by Courmisch View Post
Hmm, have they not been doing that all along? As I recall, AM leisure destinations elicit a warning when selected on booking form. That's from way before Covid.
What warning? I've never seen anything like that?

Originally Posted by Courmisch View Post
Also to be fair, I think tour operators are required to cancel tours following government guidelines.
Those guidelines are only recommendations. We also have recommendations not to smoke, or to eat enough fruit. It is up to the tour operators to decide what they'll do Ė hardly can the government force them to close shop, at least not without a specific law.

If I was a tour operator, I'd place current covid19 figures on the front page: Helsinki, Rhodes, Crete, Canary Islands etc. It would sure be an interesting comparison and very different from the numbers Sanna and her colleagues are staring at. And when the government de-greenlists something, as a gesture of goodwill, I would offer a refund for those who want to follow the recommendation.

Of course, it might be that so many people want to cancel that three weeklies to CHQ turn into just one, but still that one is better than zero.
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Old Aug 24, 20, 1:40 pm
  #8  
 
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Originally Posted by ffay005 View Post
That's a sort of civil servant approach, to always find someone else who should do something instead of just doing it yourself.
Thing is, quite a few European airports in and out of Finland have PCR test service, and it's organized by the government and/or the airport authorities.

And it makes sense - it's useful not only to one airline...

What warning? I've never seen anything like that?
For instance, when you could select HER in the booking form, it was explicitly stating that it's primarily a tour destination that should be preferably booked through AM. And then Finnair.com gave an insane price.

Those guidelines are only recommendations. We also have recommendations not to smoke, or to eat enough fruit. It is up to the tour operators to decide what they'll do Ė hardly can the government force them to close shop, at least not without a specific law.
I'm pretty sure the tour operators are legally required to cancel tours to destinations deemed unsafe by the government in some European countries. There may also have insurance problems. Don't know about Finland legislation in this respect.
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Old Aug 24, 20, 3:00 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
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To keep it short:
- No reasonably priced J tickets - my last 3 flights were great with a private J cabin
- No double tier points promotion
- No flights from September 1st from my preferred airport - I could live with the reduction of flights even on two weeks notice, but no flights means I fly only when it is absolutely necessary
- Worst: no flights, no trust - if the destination is still served even with a triangle flight, I would be ok
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Old Aug 24, 20, 4:53 pm
  #10  
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Emirates and Virgin offer a free covid19 health insurance that covers emergency medical expenses if you become ill due to coronavirus during your journey, including treatment, transport and accommodation costs. Even repatriation.
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Old Aug 24, 20, 7:27 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 153
-----

Last edited by Bdsm; Oct 20, 20 at 5:40 pm
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Old Aug 24, 20, 7:36 pm
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by Bdsm View Post
Yes and they pay for your funeral too!
Always good to see you!
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Old Aug 25, 20, 12:31 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
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Originally Posted by ffay005 View Post
Of course, it might be that so many people want to cancel that three weeklies to CHQ turn into just one, but still that one is better than zero.
What I've understood from the news is that there are not much reservations to begin with and as the infection rates in Finland or in the destination country start going up, there are massive cancellations, so they wouldn't be able to fill even that one weekly.

I guess the people taking package tours are more risk averse in general than the average traveller.
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Old Aug 25, 20, 2:22 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: TLL
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I really tried to put an effort in and book some flights during double points campaign, to support my points balance and to support AY during these times.
In the end I have one booking left from what was 5 from the begining and even the last one has had 2 schedule changes done to it.
For me it is just impossible to deal with these constant timetable changes. And the fact that service both on the ground and in the air is almost zero still, doesnīt make it any more fun. I have settled with the fact that other than work related flights (maybe 2 flights a month) I wonīt be flying until things settle down and return to more "normal".
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Old Aug 25, 20, 3:36 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
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  1. Risk of cancellation too high.
  2. Risk of no good remaining alternatives after cancellation too high + hassle with contacting the CS, first navigating through the utterly useless Sisu chatbot (and it's not entirely smooth to get past that annoying obstacle anyway) only to be kicked out from the chat, somehow just adding insult to injury.
If we had a guarantee that flights for the coming 3 weeks from the day of booking, booked through the AY booking engine, will not be cancelled other than for technical reasons or exceptional circumstances (low amount of butts-in-seat would not be a reason to cancel beyond that point), then I'd happily book 3-4 returns a month. AY would have until T-3 weeks to decide whether to cancel and pull the flight from the booking engine, whilst giving us flyers certainty.
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