When poor customer service at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport exposes alleged “overreaction” by security guards

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Yassin, a father of a two-month-old daughter, was pinned to the floor by three security guards and handcuffed at the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. The ordeal ended at 23:30 am after trying, without luck, to get on a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt. His wife and two-month-old daughter accompanied Yassin. 

“I have never been handcuffed in my life and pinned down to the floor with three security guards,” said Yassin, a native Moroccan naturalized Finn. “My [Italian] wife said she does not want to step on Finnish soil again. You can go back yourself!”

He said he will press charges against the security guards and send a complaint to Lufthansa.

While it is difficult to prove, some who know the ticket agents who served Yassin and are not Lufthansa employees have had racial issues. “I don’t believe that a white Finn would have been treated as I was,” said Yassin.

See video here.

The ordeal happened when Yassin, his wife, and baby were supposed to board a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt with a connection to Trieste, their final destination. According to him, they faced delays and poor service from Lufthansa for about twelve hours. 

Yassin’s family traveled during the holidays for their daughter to visit for the first time her grandparents.
“After we passed the security check, we received an email 10 minutes

“After we passed the security check, we received an email 10 minutes later that our connection flight from Frankfurt to Trieste is cancelled and that we’d have to spend the night in Frankfurt,” he said. “We started to worry about our baby’s luggage that would be sent to Trieste and where we’d get things like diapers.” 

Yassin said that the experience was frustrating. Nobody appeared to solve their problem, and they felt left on their own. 

“When it was time to board our first flight from Helsinki to Frankfurt, they announced a delay of two-and-a-half hours and later the cancellation also of the flight,” he continued. “An airport employee came at the gate and started changing the booking to people and granted them a hotel coupon. The employee closed the gate when two people were standing in front of us before our turn. They sent us with 14 other people, downstairs to the check-in desk to do the same procedure again. When we reached the check-in desk, instead of having two people ahead of us, we found 50 people in a line and only two employees serving them.”

“We were not allowed to go ahead of the line even if those in line had no problems with it,” he added. “We complained, and a check-in employee called security.”

Yassin said that when security arrived, he explained their predicament and tried, without luck, to solve their difficult situation. They were handed a QR code to book a hotel, but it was an artificial intelligence bot.

“I could no longer hold back my frustration,” Yassin continued. “I turned to the people in the line and said this is how Lufthansa treats us!” 

“The security guards told me not to shout and then held both of my arms and took me away,” he continued. “I asked them why they were holding me. Three meters later, I tried to free my arms, and then a third security guard tackled me from the feet, and I landed on the floor. I was handcuffed.” 

Yassin said that the guards were pressing on his body with their knees. His backpack, which he was wearing, felt like it was choking him. He asked the guards to remove it because he could not breathe properly. They removed the backpack, and then the police arrived a little later. 

“Another thing they did was pepper spray my wife, baby, and people that came to support me,” he said. “As a result, my wife and child and some people ran to the bathroom,” he said. “An ambulance arrived after the police, and they checked my baby girl’s lungs to see if they were ok. Fortunately, they were fine.” 

While the security guards acted inappropriately, according to Yassin, the police took care of the situation professionally. 

“The police approached me and asked if I was ok,” he said. “They asked the security guards to uncuff me, which they did.” 

Yassin said the rude behavior of the ticket agent who had attended to him and called the security guard was surprising. He said she told him he was banned from flying on Lufthansa, although his wife and daughter could board the flight in the morning. 

The prohibition, which also applied to all Finnair flights, surprised the police, who told Yassin that the employee might be taking the matter personally. 

In the end, Yassin and his wife and baby daughter got to the hotel at 12:30 am, but they decided to board an Air France flight that left for Paris at 6 am. 

When the same security guards saw Yassin at the Air France counter, they stood behind him nearby, watching. After he passed the security check, they finally disappeared.