“Both before and after Christmas, airports are expecting a lot of travellers, and flights are often fully booked. Commuters head home, holiday-goers fly to Lapland or to the sunny south. At Helsinki Airport, there are also a lot of travellers from Russia, for example,” says Joni Pekkanen, Service Manager at Finavia.
Helsinki Airport’s busiest hours are in the morning, between 5 am and 8 am, and in the afternoon, between 2:30 pm to 6 pm.
“Only Christmas day is bit more quiet. Right after that, we go back to normal rhythm,” Pekkanen says.
Rule of thumb: arrive to the airport two hours before departure
The staff at Helsinki Airport is prepared for Christmas passenger peaks, but passengers should arrive to the airport at least two hours before the departure – especially when travelling with check-in luggage.
“Holiday-goers often have a lot of baggage, so there might be some waiting at the check-in and baggage drop before you can proceed to the security check,” says Pekkanen.
Passengers should also allow enough time for arriving to the airport, as well as for parking, if arriving with a car.
“The way from home to the terminal can be the most critical step of the journey, if traffic is heavy,” Pekkanen says.
Smart packing for hand luggage
For speeding up the process at airport security, make sure portable electronic devices, including computers, tablets and cameras are easy to remove from your bag.
Liquids in containers of up to 100 millilitres should be packed into a single transparent bag, which are also available at the airport. Remember to remove the bag from luggage before security scanning.
“Prescription medication – also liquid ones – can be taken into the cabin or can be put in the checked luggage. They don’t need to be put in the same plastic bag with liquids,” Pekkanen says.
Ham is allowed as hand luggage; Christmas casseroles need to be checked in
“Some passengers, especially on domestic flights in Finland, take Christmas food with them on the flight,” Pekkanen says. “Christmas ham can be taken through security, as well as the traditional Christmas star pastries, gingerbread and confectionaries.
“The ham can be frozen as well, and not be regarded as a liquid. Just keep in mind that if you have a 12-kilogram ham with you, there is not much room for other hand luggage,” Joni Pekkanen says.
Traditional Christmas casseroles, however, are regarded as liquids, and must be placed in the checked baggage.
Read more about how to pack Christmas food for a flight.
Power banks in hand luggage, fireworks not allowed onboard
“Power banks, as well as other electronics bought as Christmas presents, for example, must be placed in hand luggage, not in the checked luggage,” Pekkanen says.
“Passengers heading out for New Year’s celebrations must remember that fireworks or sparklers are not allowed in the airplane, not even in the checked baggage – they must be bought at the final destination.”
To double check if an item is allowed onboard, see Finavia’s baggage instructions.