Finnair AY10 Chicago O’Hare to Helsinki Vantaa (Economy Pro) – Long Way Home
In this adventure:
- I’ve got to stop looking at odd routings and thinking they’re good ideas
- Sleep? What’s that concept? Off to Heathrow T3
- Lounging around Heathrow T3
- AA99 London Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare
- The Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- The Nutella Cafe
- Fooding Around Chicago
- The Canon 100D – Good for aviation photography?
- Camera shift – from EOS 6D to EOS R
- Back to O’Hare, Air France Lounge
- AY10 Chicago to Helsinki Vantaa… with Air Italy?
- Two hours and 20 in Helsinki Vantaa
- AY1335 Helsinki Vantaa to London Heathrow
- Bussing back home
- Long Way Home or short way back?
AY10 Chicago O’Hare International Terminal 5 to Helsinki Vantaa Terminal 2
Finnair, Operated by Air Italy
Airbus A330-200, Seat 10A, Economy Pro.
70 Tier Points Earned, 4436 Avios earned.
I was welcomed aboard the plane and headed into the cabin.
The cabin is split into two classes – with Business Class is a 2-2-2 affair, whilst the main economy cabin is retained as a 2-4-2 cabin. This has upsides, as an 18” seat width is preserved in economy class.
Which after dealing with a Dreamliner on the previous flight – is a welcome thing to have.
As for the cabin, it is very much Air Italy’s cabin… well, scrap that – it’s Qatar Airways cabin. A little background. Air Italy is in the process of getting its new fleet at the moment (and will use Boeing 787 and Boeing 737 MAX aircraft as its backbone). This plane – EI-GGO in a previous life was operated by Qatar Airways as A7-ACC, as part of the plan to convert Meridena to Air Italy.
The seats installed are the same ones that came out of the Qatar Airways flights, with them in the maroon that the airline loves. Headrest covers were the Finnair ones, along with the at seat furnishings (the pillow and the Marimekko blanket)
As such, it doesn’t take an eagle eye to spot Arabic script in the cabin or the Oryx on seatbelt buckle.
At least the legroom was reasonable – if impended by an old IFE box.
As for the safety card and IFE system – that’s Air Italy branded.
If you’re thoroughly confused at this point… join the club. Sub-leases upon sub-leases here, which can be a bit confusing the passenger experience.
Thankfully, Finnair didn’t abandon the Air Italy crew – with two Finnair cabin crew leading the onboard service, with the Air Italy crew supporting.
With the plane fully loaded (and yes – the seat next to me taken), the crew began the safety demonstration. And it was a manual safety demonstration.
With the formalities complete, the Airbus A330-200 that was operating AY10 begun the short taxi out of O’Hare Terminal 5 and towards one of the airports many runways.
I swear this airport has more runways than gates some days. The taxi to the runway wasn’t a long one, and soon enough AY10 lined up and powered up for take off. It was also the perfect chance to work out how to use video on the EOS R.
Which I did in just in time.
With ease, the General Electric CF-6’s of AY10 powered into life to take us into the air
The plane climbed out of O’Hare with ease and headed away from the airport to begin the 8 hours run to Helsinki.
After a short wait, the cabin was brought from darkness into light – and I had a look around me. Sadly, this plane did not have air vents… and it was getting warm, to say the least.
Thankfully I was prepared this time – and had brought a USB fan from the Boeing store. Yes. It might have been buzzy sounding, but it moved air around and was cooling.
I’ll take that as a win any day of the week
Consuming the USB plug from the seat wasn’t a bad move for a night flight. Meanwhile, that takes us to the In-Flight Entertainment System. This system is a Panasonic eX2 system – and whilst it’s a reasonable system, it is very much standard definition screen.
I’ve said in the past whilst a system might be technically great – if it has no content on it, it’s pretty useless. This system.. Didn’t have a lot of content on it. Live TV was offline for the entire flight, no map and limited amount of content on the system.
I don’t know how many times I watched three episodes from Season 6 from The big bang theory… but it was the best of a rather uncurated collection.
And not that recent.
Oh yes. The system also uses annoying double prong earphone sets.
A hot towel service was made through the cabin – a thoughtful touch. With that done, I decided to entertain myself with the next thing advertised on the flight – In-Fight WiFi.
Again, this is a Panasonic front-facing system, but for the first time using a Panasonic system – I noticed usage would be measured per megabyte as opposed to having flight passes
Pricing was split into various tiers;
- Messaging – €3- 15mb (Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger or iMessage – no photos though).
- Email – €9 for 60mb
- Surfing – €15 for 120mb
- Total – €21 for 180mb.
Hmm. Ok. Who here who isn’t a technical nerd knows what a megabyte looks like? Whilst airlines can give estimations and such, smartphones are very chewy when downloading data (my best was chewing through 10mb of L-Band data in under 10 minutes… and L-Band internet access is notoriously slow).
Rather than waste my money when I should be resting, I disconnected from the Air Italy portal (not that there was anything on it).
This was rather good timing, as the meal service came with a choice of chicken or pasta. I went for the chicken… and it seems this was one of the blander meals that came out of the O’Hare Kitchen.
There was a reasonable quality, with a fresh salad. The main meal was a little bland – not the worst I’ve had out of O’Hare – but could have done with a little more flavour.
The pre-packaged cake square was a little uninspiring, but better than nothing.
Drinks were flowing freely, with the crew giving out both sparking and non-sparking wine, a well as diddy cans of cola.
The crew did a job in the cabin, with the Finnair crew stepping in to assisting with special meals and helping passengers out – the one next to me who was given a glass of bubbles from the crew as she was a priority passenger.
It seems the little touches of service quality that I noted in Finnair business are here on a codeshare flight. This is excellent to see.
With the cabin cleared down, there was only one thing left to do when the lights went off.
Because I want this fairy light thing to end. FOREVER.
However, it’s taken a life of its own. What chaos do we have now?
With that done and dusted, I attempted to sleep. And whilst it was disturbed (due to a mixture of the heat and me struggling to find a decent position doze off in), I got a good 5 hours or so in the air.
Which for transatlantic flying is pretty much a miracle.
With the lights going on in the cabin, the trolleys rolled out again – this time for a breakfast service.
Now, I’ve lamented at the state of the transatlantic breakfast for… since forever. I’ve seen boxed breakfasts, breakfast reduced to the state of a muffin top, sugar loaded boxes and pretty much everything in between.
So I’m not expecting a lot, to put it bluntly. Imagine my surprise when a hot breakfast appeared
I’m actually still in shock over this. A hot breakfast that is the second service at 35,000ft on a transatlantic service has been the preserve of business class flights mostly. The cheese omelette was pretty standard fare but was warm. The accompanying fruit was fresh too. This was served with drinks and a roll too.
Maybe the Transatlantic Joint Business Venture Agreement people might want to look into this as a thing
With the service cleared down, the crew began to clear the cabin too as we were closing on Helsinki Vantaa.
Looking out of the window, it was cloudy below, with visibility affected as we decided towards Helsinki.
None the less the crew of the A330 rode it out as we descended into the cloud layer – with the ground slowly becoming visible.
The plane completed its lining up, and AY10 descended into its temporary home of Helsinki Vantaa
With the plane pulling off the runway, it taxied around the airport until it arrived at Gate 54, next to a Finnair A330.
With AY10 at a standstill and the engines powered down, the passengers were released.
With us released, I got up and grabbed my stuff and prepared to head off the plane. There was a short wait, and we were eventually allowed to leave the plane After thanking the crew I exited the plane, and into the Nordic wonder that is Helsinki Vantaa Airport.
Overall: An interesting experience on-board AY10 to say the least Whilst using leased aircraft isn’t uncommon to help get an airline out of a spot using a sublease of a lease was interesting, but could cause confusion to the average flyer (Was I flying Finnair, Air Italy or Qatar Airways?). It was good to see the on-board presence of Finnair crew to help out, and assist with the service where needed. Catering was mixed, with a rather bland main meal, but a hot meal for breakfast.
Whilst Finnair only operate the Chicago route on a seasonable basis, it would be one I would have interest in trying again – with a full strength Finnair crew and product.
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