Finnair Investigates Cabin Crew For Using Customer WiFi Onboard Aircraft

A Finnair cabin crew member has been caught accessing inflight WiFi using passenger credentials. The airline has decided to investigate the matter and promises that it won’t happen again in the future.

Finnair has come down hard on these cabin crew members abusing onboard internet. Photo: Valentin Hintikka via Flickr

What are the details?

According to Loyalty Lobby, Finnair is launching an investigation after a cabin crew member was found to be using passengers’ internet access during a flight.

“It is true that, contrary to our instructions, some cabin crew members have used an on-board network connection for customers only. It is, of course, absolutely forbidden,” began the statement issued to Finnish media by Finnair.

The free onboard service, which is only for paying passengers, can only be accessed with a passenger’s seat number and name. Thus, by using these credentials, a flight crew member is essentially stealing from the customer.

Finnair has likely decided to cut this story off at the pass and declared they are investigating the matter to prevent more bad publicity.

“We are conducting a hearing with all staff members who have committed the abuses. This is a prohibited activity that has caused our customers harm and financial damage to us. In addition, the trust that exists between us has been violated. If a person is guilty of such blatant misconduct, it will result in either a written warning or, in rare cases, even termination,” continued the statement.

Onboard Finnair, business class passengers are provided one hour of complimentary internet, whilst those with high status in the loyalty program get it for the whole journey. Hence, the theory goes, a flight attendant who discovered the right credentials could essentially get internet access throughout the flight.

According to some sources, the problem is more widespread than a single staff member, with cabin crew members across the network abusing this privilege.

Finnair provides one hour of internet per guest. Photo: Finnair

Is it really that bad?

Ignoring the fact that the flight attendant stole a service intended for passengers onboard and was acting outside the confines of their role, is it that bad that they wanted to use the internet? After all, if the service was already there onboard, running and the customer wasn’t using it, what’s so bad about keeping in touch with family back home in between other duties?

Well, one argument that takes the cake is that if the customer changes their mind, they won’t have access to the internet that their ticket affords them. Unless the flight attendants can provide a new code (and not deprive another passenger of their choice) then this is a rather problematic situation.

Finnair A350
Finnair has decided to move quickly on this issue. Photo: Finnair

A more serious take is the fact that they used the identity of the passenger to access what is essentially private privilege. They used the passenger manifest (a document that is likely protected by data privacy laws) to access information to unlock internet access. This breach of trust is concerning for a company that has so much customer data and raises questions as to what else the cabin crew has access to.

Finnair has not been vocal about what will happen to this flight attendant but is obviously going to take steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.