Finnoy Travel Logo
Finnoy Travel - Travel Stories and Reviews
AirBaltic Dash Q400 at Helsinki Airport

AirBaltic is Latvian short haul airline. In the picture Dash Q400 is waiting for customers to board the flight to Riga.

Review: AirBaltic - A Reliable Low-cost Airline?

  • By Finnoy Travel
  • Updated: 05/29/20 | September 10, 2017

This page contains affiliate links. Clicking them is free but we may receive a small commission. Please check out our advertising policy to understand how the links have been chosen.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview of AirBaltic (Baltic Airlines)
  2. Our Itinerary of the Reviewed Flights
  3. Our Opinions about the Outbound Flights of airBaltic
  4. Unexpected Problems on Our Flight Back to Finland
  5. AirBaltic's Way to Handle Challenges of Our Connections
    1. Our Compensation Claim
    2. The Rating Based on Our Experinces
    3. Pre-Flight Communication
    4. Comfiness of Cabins
    5. Onboard Customer Service
    6. Ticket Prices
    7. Overall Rating
  6. Aftermath: We Will Fly with Them Again
  7. Final Words

Overview of AirBaltic (Baltic Airlines)

AirBaltic (sometime called also as Baltic Airlines) is a Latvian airline which is based in Riga Airport. That means, it offers good connections to different destinations especially when travelling from Nordic or Baltic cities.

For Nordic and Baltic travellers, a connecting flight via Riga is a good choice. Unlike big airports which are usually crowded, Riga Airport is small and so connection times are usually short. You would expect connecting here to be done smoothly without unneeded long queues.

The gate area of Riga Airport

Riga Airport is a clean and really cosy airport to connect between flights. Being a small airport, the good side for travellers is that not much connection time is needed at the Riga Airport.

Majority of airBaltic's fleet is old but their turboprop planes are moderately new and modern. AirBaltic is also renewing its jet fleet so if you are lucky enough, you can fly by a brand new plane. But the most probable option is that you will fly on an old Boeing 737 plane.

Our Itinerary of the Reviewed Flights

We flew from Helsinki to Munich and back in July 2017. The outbound flight included a short connection at Riga Airport. We spent the whole break in the great Primeclass Business lounge.

The first flight leg was operated by about 7 years old turboprop Dash Q400 plane. The second flight was unexpectedly operated by another airline on behalf of airBaltic. AirBaltic had wet leased a Fokker 100 jet plane from a Romanian airline.

AirBaltic Dash Q400 Cabin

Dash Q400 is a turboprob plane. It is comfortable to fly with and actually it has enough leg room also for tall people.

Our Opinions about the Outbound Flights of airBaltic

The flight from Helsinki to Riga was just a perfect. The plane left and arrived on time. The cabin of Dash Q400 was clean and comfortable. There was no free in-flight service but it was possible to buy snacks. Overall, there was nothing to complain about this leg but nothing special either.

The second leg was operated by an Romanian aircraft and crew. The flight was meant to be airBaltic's own flight so this change was a big surprise. The cabin of 26 years old Fokker 100 was old and noisy. However, the staffs during the flight were friendly and behaved professionally.

Unexpected Problems on Our Flight Back to Finland

The flight back from Munich to Helsinki via Riga faced big problems. Just before the take-off from Munich, the captain announced that there was a technical fault in the plane. The plane had to taxi back to a stand.

Passengers were asked to wait at the airport terminal while the plane was being fixed. After some waiting, they announced that the flight to Riga is cancelled. That meant that our connection from Riga to Helsinki was lost because of technical problems impossible to fix very immediately.

AirBaltic's Way to Handle Challenges of Our Connections

Technical faults happen to every airline. Airlines are ranked based on how they handle challenges.

At Munich Airport, there was just one representative handling the flight-cancellation event. No one told us about our EU passenger rights. Communication was quite unclear and people were confused what to do.

AirBaltic's representative collected slowly a name list of passengers who needed a hotel room. On another desk hotel vouchers were given to affected passengers of said flight.

Ground service staff gave a hotel voucher with food and taxi vouchers. AirBaltic had also made new flight bookings automatically for the next day so that the waiting time for many people became really long. We did not accept their proposal of 24 hours delay in Munich and we called directly to Latvia for help. After pushing small pressure to the customer service assistant, we got a morning flight by Lufthansa to Helsinki.

We also need to mention that taxi vouchers did not have any real value. Taxi drivers refused to accept them. In the hotel, getting any food was impossible as the kitchens were already closed in contrary to airBaltic's promise of dinner for us at the hotel. Any other food vouchers were not given. The only good thing was that, the hotel of choice they have provided was of good quality and nicely located in Erding village.

Shortly said the handling of the flight cancellation was somehow poor. It was slow and poorly communicated.

Our Compensation Claim

Even though airBaltic did not remind us about EU passenger rights, we sent them a compensation claim after arrival to Helsinki. We claimed the delay compensation stated by EU261 rights and the food and the taxi costs we had paid ourselves. AirBaltic rejected almost the whole application with some excuses. We have asked airBaltic an explanation for this unacceptable behavior but they have not sent a response either up to this time.

We had to file a conciliation process in Germany and after many weeks, airBaltic contacted us and promised to pay all compensations we are entitled for that delayed flight.

The Rating Based on Our Experinces

Pre-Flight Communication

Many extra services were tried to be sold in numerous emails but no one told about the fleet and operational airline change.

Comfiness of Cabins

Cabins are okay but especially Boeing 737 planes are old. Romanian Fokker 100 was not any better.

Onboard Customer Service

All crew behaved extremely professionally and they were so friendly. This is the best part of airBaltic.

Ticket Prices

AirBaltic is often a cheap option to fly.

Overall Rating

The rating would be a lot of better without the poor handling of the flight cancellation.

Aftermath: We Will Fly with Them Again

AirBaltic offers cheap flights for short routes inside Europe. You may not have luxurious experiences during the flight but airBaltic is known for the punctuality globally. Only that we are hoping with this airBaltic review, the problem-handling process of airBaltic will improve. We do hope with such improvements, and Finnoy Travel will later produce better airBaltic reviews, who knows!

Final Words

AirBaltic is not the best airline in the Europe but the price-to-quality level is good. You get moderately good service with cheap prices.

Our review somehow failed because of the operating airline changed for the second leg and the flights back were cancelled. Finally all problems were solved and we got compensations stated by EU261 regulation.

Read also our review of airBaltic's Airbus A220-300 aircraft. You may also want to check the article about Primeclass Business lounge at Riga airport which is an inexpensive place to relax between flights.

Feel free to share this article.

Read Also

If you found this information interesting or useful, please remember to SHARE the article with your family and friends!

Tags: , ,
Destination : Latvia

For Your Next Journey

Relax by planning a trip...

Hopefully, we all can continue safe travelling soon. Now it is a great moment to start planning summer trips while airline tickets are still affordable. You can compare flight prices easily on Momondo.

Luxury hotels for a low rate...

Even premium hotel rooms are sometimes surprisingly inexpensive. We compare hotel prices on HotelsCombined which is a simple hotel comparison tool. By comparing prices, we have saved a lot.

Get familiar with activities

Whether you are travelling near or far, it is wise to plan some activities for your trip. On GetYourGuide, you will find affordable activities for the every day of your next journey. Attending well-organised tours is one of the best way to enjoy the holiday.

Readers' Comments (3)

  1. 07-20-2020 at 5:10pm UTC by John Mallon :

    I purchased a ticket from Air Baltic on the 9th February 2020 for a flight on the 13th July 2020. Because of the Covid 19 Two week quarantine I was unable to travel. I applied for a refund or Credit and was refused both. My advice to anyone thinking of purchasing a ticket would be don't. Because if the Covid Virus forces conditions on You that stop your travel plans You will not receive any satisfaction from Air Baltic. I lost the full value of My ticket through no fault of mine. They don't care..!

  2. 01-11-2020 at 11:41pm UTC by Ludmila Mikhailava :

    My son travelled from Salzburg to Vilnius with a stop over in Riga 11.01.2020.
    1.Very slow check-in. The passengers were still being checked in when boarding started.
    2. Didn't issue the boarding pass for the connecting flight from Riga to Vilnius.
    3. his luggage did not arrive at the airport of Vilnius. And he continued his trip to Minsk,his home city, without it.
    4. Online check in and drinks onboard are fee paying.
    I would really like to be sure that his luggage will be delivered to him in Minsk next day.
    Ludmila Mikhailava

    1. 01-12-2020 at 4:10am UTC by Finnoy Travel :

      Hi Ludmila,
      Thanks for sharing about your son's flight experience with Airbaltic. Unfortunately, some airlines like Airbaltic are taking much risk about too tight schedules and hence, resulting to a super busy schedule in between flights. Oftentimes, connecting passengers are not able to take in the next flight like we had encountered from our Lisbon-Helsinki flight via Riga. Like you said, kind of last minute checked in on the time of boarding is a sign of hurry. Interesting to know thst no boarding pass issued for the flight from Riga to Vilnius, but your son arrived there anyway. About the undelivered luggage, your son should have contacted representative of the airline immediately and follow their procedures as instructed. In the case that the luggage will not be arriving at all, the airline is primarily responsible. Your son deserves a compensation in that case. Travel insurance also plays an important role. Regarding foods and drinks in flight, yes they are expected to be payable with this low-cost airline. Unless he had got some Airbaltic food vouchers as a compensation for flight delays and use them to pay for the foods/drinks on board. We wish your son is getting his luggage back soon. Cheers!

Write a Comment

You selected to reply an existing comment.

Stay Tuned!

By joining our newsletter, you won't miss interesting and fantastic travel tips from Finnoy Travel.

We store your email address carefully according to our Privacy Policy.

Scenery from El Hierro