Lets Tallinn that again! AY831 Helsinki to Heathrow in Business Class with an A350
EDITORS NOTE – PICTURE HEAVY.
In this 200 Tier Point Adventure:
- 155 Tier points to go (because my mathematical skills are as bad as my grammatical skills)
- To the Heathrow area
- The Holiday Inn Ariel, London Heathrow
- To Heathrow, Revisiting the Cathay Pacific Lounge
- AY3126 London Heathrow to Helsinki in Business Class
- Can you transit Helsinki airport in 20 minutes flat?
- AY107 Helsinki to Tallinn
- Another walk around Tallinn… and an iPhone 7
- The Hotel Ülemiste
- Back to Tallinn Airport, Tallinn Airport Lounge
- AY118 Tallinn to Helsinki (ATR72-500)
- A quick visit to the Finnair Non-Schengen Lounges
- AY831 Helsinki to Heathrow in Business Class with an A350
- A Train adventure home
- Silver: Done.
AY831 Helsinki-Vantaa Terminal 2 to London Heathrow Terminal 3
Finnair, 1A, Business Class
80 Tier Points Earned, 2,268 Avios Earned (1,134 + 567 Cabin Bonus + 567 Tier Bonus)
OL-HWC taking me to London as AY831. Yes. That Racoon Eyeshade suits the A350 better than some paint jobs…. (I’m looking at you Air Canada)
I was welcomed aboard AY831 and directed to my seat at the top of the shop 1A. Well, it was free when I booked it, and heck, why not? Always nice to have the number one seat in the house (well… apart from those in the very front seats).
Zodiac Cirrus III Seats
Zodiac Cirrus III Seats
The Zodiac Cirrus III seat in position 1A
A minor note on the seat… it rocks a fair bit compared to some other business class seats I’ve been in. It’s slightly annoying, but not the end of the world…
Mood-lighting – Nordic lighting mode
There are details everywhere. Even on the seatbelt buckles
Little details matter.
Of course, there’s an up-sell whenever you’re least expecting it – in this case from Economy Class to Economy Comfort seat.
As much as would love to swap my premium business class seat for an economy extra seat….. Nah.
Headphones were at the seat. These were the two-pin economy style headphone. Passable for this segment, but can we leave behind this two-pin madness when it comes to IFE systems, please?
There’s plenty of connectivity at the seat.
Headphones and USB
At seat light
The cabin crew were in an ultra-friendly mood. My coat was taken as I relaxed back into the seat as the rest of the plane loaded up.
Soon enough, the safety video played, and our A350 pushed back to begin its short trip to London Heathrow.
Thanks, Helsinki – See you sooner rather than later!
As the plane had been on the ground in the cold of Helsinki, our A350 taxied over to the de-icing pads for a quick wash and de-ice.
Off we go… don’t you just love a tail cam?
Another Finnair A350 in the cold…
Passing the TechOps Hanger
De-icing vehicles at the ready
Line up and wait for the de-icer
With the plane lined up at the de-icing pad, the jets came on to spray de-icer goodness over the safety critical parts of the plane
Let it spray, let it spray…
I can see clearly now…
With the de-icing done, AY831 was cleared to head to the runway and off into the blue sky. Now – for a change – there’s two videos you can watch – the iPhone video which has the tail cam footage, or the EOS which has the take-off run from the window.
With a gentle climb out, we cut through the low cloud and into the morning sky.
With the plane up in the air, service begun aboard the plane – firstly with hot towels coming out.
Shortly after, the cabin manager came out to talk to me, thanking me for flying Finnair and my loyalty. As a mere Sapphire, this is above and beyond what I’d expect for a greeting. We had a brief chat, as she went on to greet the other elite frequent flyers.
This is a sign of an on the ball crew.
Whilst I was waiting for breakfast to appear, I made a bee-line for connecting to Nordic Sky – The Finnair In-flight Internet solution. This solution runs on a Ku type antenna, and should – in theory – provide reasonable speeds throughout. Let’s see how that translates in the real world.
All Finnair premium customers have access to free in-flight internet – a nice touch.
I used a voucher that was on my screen…
Tum tee tum…
So how good is the Internet connection? Well it’s available when above 10,000ft… and scores a bit like this
9.52mb down? More than acceptable. 0.66up… I’ve seen worse. The ping speeds are awful, but for nothing – I’m not moaning at all.
Breakfast was delivered – and as expected – it was the same as the one I had the day before.
That’s not to say it’s a bad breakfast at all – it’s an actually a rather nice breakfast.
Omelette thing, ham, potato things and the spinach that Finnair seemingly has endless supplies of.
Fruit and Yoghurt
Fruit… lots of red.
Working my way through the tray
Meanwhile outside, nature gave its morning display – welcoming the new day.
I tweeted a picture similar to this…
I’m trying to think of better places to be right now. I’m struggling. pic.twitter.com/BZEHa7vtuP
— Kevin-Economy&Beyond (@EconomyBeyond) January 15, 2017
The crew was walking around, checking for anything customer needs. The chief cabin crew looked and saw I was running low on champagne… and offered another bottle without prompting.
What did I say about being all the ball?
Sunrise and the A350 winglet
A bit darker on the other side. Gotta love that winglet.
With the sun rising, I decided that I needed to play “what’s on the IFE system”. Regular readers will know my opinion of IFE systems – you can have the shiniest, most up to date system on the planet – but if it doesn’t have any content that’s good or relevant… it’s a bit pointless, to say the least.
Nordic Sky IFE system – the password for the WiFi is there, with quick links to map and cameras.
Reasonable selection of films. Take your pick.
The interface is a touch screen interface. Glides along like a smartphone.
Something of everyone…
Including me. 5… 4… 3… 2… 1! THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!
There seemed to be a good mix of both Nordic and English programming on the system – with variety for all ages. This is a sign of a good IFE system. Of course, having tail-cam is IFE in itself for me – but for those who aren’t AVGeeks, or don’t like looking out of the window, it’s good to have choices.
With me done on Champagne (I refused the 3rd bottle much to the pursuers disappointment), I went for coffee instead. And this coffee… wasn’t bad for an in-flight coffee. At one point it even had a bit of a creama on it.
Again – the crew were patrolling the cabin, checking on customer needs. It’s great to see a crew up and about and not hiding in the galley.
As for in-flight Wifi, it was fast enough to chat away, and for @EssieJosie to tell me how high we were going.
With the cabin going an orange colour, it was time for the cabin to be cleared down for arrival.
Closing in on London.
That A350 is the size of South East England and beyond. Massive thing.
Cabin lights orange, no-smoking light, no-nothing light on.
15 minutes to London!
The classic Finnair F.
With the plane descending through the cloud layer, and the city of London was underneath as we closed in on Heathrow Airport.
Cutting through the cloud
Lined up for arrival
With AY831 lined up, it was time to land at the UK’s national hub. Again, we have tail cam footage who want tail cam, window footage for everyone else.
(If I had time, effort, energy, hard disk space and processing power, I’d work out to stitch them side by side. Sadly, this Mac has only some of those features. Other features require me a mallet when it comes to iMovie. In fact – iMovie will cause me to use a mallet on anything).
With the plane peeling off the runway, our A350 taxied past the Terminal 3 complex to the far end of the terminal, passing traffic on the way.
American Airlines Boeing 767-300ER
British Airways Boeing 777-200
SriLankan Airbus A330-300
British Airways Boeing 747-400 with the Tower of Power in the background.
AY831 finally lined up for its gate and came to a stop, ending the short, but sweet trip to Heathrow.
With everyone getting off, the purser thanked me for flying Finnair. A very nice touch. I thanked the rest of the crew as I left, and the (who were holding back the economy class passengers) and headed off into Heathrow Terminal 3 to begin the trip back home.
Overall: One word: FANTASTIC. Finnair has a solid product in the Airbus A350 (even if the Zodiac seat does rock a bit). The one thing that really made flight AY831 was the crew. On the ball, attentive, not letting a single thing slip in the cabin.
I’ve always said a great crew makes a great flight – the crew of AY831 proved this point time after time.
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