The strike and passengers’ rights

The strikes scheduled for February will affect the availability of transport and accommodation services.

Read this page for information about the passengers’ rights during the strike.

General principles during a strike

  1. While service providers have no obligation to compensate you for losses caused by a strike, you do have a right to compensation for a defective service.
    • An operator is not usually obliged to compensate the consumer for any losses caused by a strike, such as additional costs of using a taxi instead of cancelled bus or train services.
    • If the service the consumer purchased does not meet reasonable expectations during a strike, the consumer is entitled to compensation, for example a price reduction or cancellation of the sale.
  2. If you think your trip might be cancelled, keep an eye on any information sent out by the service provider and, if necessary, contact the company organising the trip or providing the accommodation.
  3. You should not cancel your trip, such as a flight or travel package, yourself as this might mean you will not get a full refund. If the company offers the right to cancel without a charge, you can cancel your reservation if you wish.
  4. Travel insurance does not usually cover your losses if services are cancelled due to a strike. You should check the terms and conditions of your insurance policy, however.

Cancellation of a flight due to a strike

If your flight is cancelled, you can demand that the airline give you one of the following two options:

  • Flight re-routing
    The airline must offer a replacement flight on similar terms to your destination as soon as possible or at a later date that suits you if seats are available. If you are already at the airport when your flight is cancelled, you have a right to care provided by the airline responsible for the flight while you are waiting for a re-routed trip. The duty of care includes:

    • meals and refreshments in a reasonable relation to the waiting time
    • hotel accommodation if you need an additional overnight stay
    • transport between the airport and a hotel
    • two free telephone calls or e-mails.

OR

  • Refund of the ticket price within 7 days.The airline must refund the ticket price for each part of the journey you did not make and for any parts you have already made if the flight no longer serves a purpose considering your original travel plan.

If your flight is cancelled due to a strike that is beyond the airline’s control, you are usually not entitled to standard compensation or damages.

  • If you have opted for re-routing and the airline neglects its duty of care, however, you can demand that it reimburse your additional costs, including meal and accommodation costs. These cost must be within reasonable limits, however. If the airline does not provide care, keep receipts of your purchases.

A flight delayed due to a strike

If your flight is delayed, you have a right to care provided by the airline responsible for the flight. The duty of care includes:

  • meals and refreshments in a reasonable relation to the waiting time
  • hotel accommodation if you need an additional overnight stay
  • transport between the airport and a hotel
  • two free telephone calls or e-mails.

An air passenger’s right to care in case of a delay depends on the length of the flight and the duration of the delay as estimated by the airline. Read more about your right to care on our website at Delayed flight

If the airline estimates that the flight will be delayed by at least 5 hours, you can choose to either cancel the flight altogether and have the cost of the ticket refunded, or to go ahead with your trip.

When a flight is delayed due to a strike that is beyond the airline’s control, you are usually not entitled to standard compensation or damages.

  • If the airline neglects its duty of care, however, you can demand that it reimburse your additional costs, including meal and accommodation costs. These cost must be within reasonable limits, however. If the airline does not provide care, keep receipts of your purchases. These cost must be within reasonable limits, however. If the airline does not provide care, keep receipts of your purchases.

Cancellation of a travel package due to a strike

The organiser has the right to cancel a trip if unavoidable and exceptional circumstances prevent them from organising the trip as agreed, for example due to a strike that is beyond their control. In this case, the organiser must refund customers’ payments without undue delay and at the latest 14 days after the cancellation.

The operator has no obligation to pay compensation for losses caused by the cancellation if the travel package was cancelled due to a force majeure, such as a strike.

If the trip goes ahead but its schedule or programme have been changed due to a strike, you may ask for a price reduction. If your time at the destination is cut short, for example, you may be entitled to have some of the price you paid for the trip refunded.

If the organiser announces significant changes to the travel arrangements, you may cancel the trip free of charge within the time limit set by the organiser. Significant changes include

  • changes to departure or arrival times which cause considerable inconvenience or extra costs, for example due to having to rearrange transport or accommodation
  • a change in mode of transportation that results in a considerably longer travel time
  • a daytime flight is replaced by a night-time flight, for example resulting in arrival after midnight instead of afternoon as originally agreed
  • change of destination
  • a significantly lower standard of the accommodation.

If you do not cancel the contract, you will be deemed to have accepted the changes. However, you can demand a price reduction that corresponds to the poorer quality of the package, for instance.

Read more
Cancellation of a package travel contract 
Changing a travel package 

Long-distance bus services

If the departure of a service with a scheduled distance of 250 km or more is cancelled, you can demand that the bus company gives you one of the following options:

(you also have these options if your journey would have been shorter than this, as long as the distance the service covers is at least 250 km.)

  • Re-routing to the final destination at no additional cost at the earliest opportunity
    OR
  • Cancellation of the journey and refund of the ticket price. In addition, you are entitled to ask for a return service by bus to your first point of departure at the earliest opportunity.

When a bus service is cancelled due to a strike that is beyond the control of the bus company, the company is usually not obliged to compensate the consumer for any losses caused, such as taxi costs.

Long-distance train services

If your long-distance train service is cancelled, you can ask for one of the following two options:

  • Re-routing. You have the right to reschedule your long-distance single ticket without paying a fee for the change
    OR
  • Cancellation of the trip. You are entitled to have the ticket price refunded.

When a long-distance train is cancelled or delayed or you miss your connection due to a strike that is beyond VR’s control, VR is usually not obliged to compensate for any costs you have because of the strike.

Local services (local trains, buses, metros, trams)

If you have a season ticket but you cannot use the travel services included in it due to a strike, and you cannot use replacement connections for your regular trips, you can demand a price reduction for the unused days.

  • The delay or cancellation of an individual departure in local traffic does not necessarily entitle you to a price reduction.
  • If a larger number of departures are cancelled, you have a right to a price reduction if you cannot use replacement connections for your usual trips without unreasonable inconvenience.

When departures are cancelled due to a strike that is beyond the control of the service provider, they are usually not obliged to compensate the consumer for any losses caused, such as taxi costs.

Voyages by ship

If your voyage by a ship or ferry is cancelled, you can ask for one of the following two options:

  • You can demand re-routing to your final destination on the same terms as soon as possible and without additional charges.If the voyage is cancelled while you are in the port, you have a right to care. The shipping company must offer snacks, meals or refreshments free of charge in a reasonable proportion to the waiting time if they are available or can reasonably be delivered to the port. If overnight accommodation or a longer stay becomes necessary, the shipping company must offer:
    • accommodation on board or ashore where possible. The shipping line may limit the cost of accommodation to 80 euros per night and to no more than three nights per passenger
    • transport between the port terminal and the place of accommodation.

OR

  • Cancellation of the voyage and refund of the ticket price. You can cancel your trip and expect a refund within seven days.

When a voyage by ship or ferry is cancelled or delayed due to a strike that is beyond the shipping company’s control, the company is usually not obliged to pay the consumer standard compensation or compensate for their costs.

Recreational and holiday cruises which include overnight stays are travel packages, and the regulation on package travel consequently applies to them. Read more about travel packages during a strike: Package travel

Accommodation

If an accommodation service provider cancels your reservation, you are entitled to have the price you paid refunded. If the cancellation is due to reasons beyond the service provider’s control, however, you are not entitled to damages.

If you cannot reach the accommodation because of a strike, find out about the conditions for cancelling the reservation.

  • The statutory right of cancellation does not apply to accommodation services in Finland, but some services offer consumers the possibility of cancelling or rescheduling the reservation. The situation may vary from country to country.
  • Even if the terms and conditions do not allow you to cancel or reschedule your reservation, you can still try to negotiate with the accommodation provider on a possible refund.
  • The cancellation conditions may be modified if they would lead to an unreasonable situation for you. When assessing if a situation is unreasonable, the cause of the cancellation and its unpredictable nature are important factors.
    • For example, charging the full contract price may be unreasonable if the reason for the cancellation is a change in circumstances which you cannot control, which you could not anticipate when you concluded the contract, and because of which you cannot use the service the contract concerns. In this case, reducing the contract price to some extent may be justified.
    • Finding a situation unreasonable is always based on an overall assessment of an individual case. This means that you will not automatically be entitled to even a partial refund if a strike prevents you from travelling and you cannot reach the accommodation.

What to do in case of problems

You should always first contact the service provider and make a complaint. You can use the Complaint Assistant to do so.
Complaint Assistant

If you have paid for your purchases on credit, you can also address your claims based on the service provider’s breach of contract to the creditor. For more information, visit our website: Creditor’s liability

Payment intermediaries may have their own practices that safeguard the buyer, which is why you should also contact them if you have problems.

If the matter cannot be resolved by negotiating with the company

The Consumer Affairs Advisory Services will help you sort out problems with Finnish companies.
Consumer Advisory Services 

When you book a service in another EU country, Norway, Iceland or the United Kingdom, you can contact the European Consumer Centre in Finland for advice.

In case of companies located in non-EU countries, the consumer authorities may have little or no powers to help you with problem situations.