Finnair AY10 Chicago O’Hare International to Helsinki Vantaa (Economy Pro)
Taking the Longer Way Home
EDITORS NOTE: IMAGE HEAVY
In this trip
- So. Keeping it original for autumn, aren’t we?
- Off to Heathrow in the Dead of the Night
- Terminal 3 Lounges… And more delays
- American Airlines AA99 London Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare (Main Cabin)
- In the USA, Candlewood Suites O’Hare
- TRAVEL PLUS: Fooding around Chicago
- Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- Airplane Art Extra – from the 10th Floor of the Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- TRAVEL PLUS: The Art Institute, Chicago
- Back to O’Hare, Air France/KLM Lounge
- Finnair AY010 Chicago O’Hare to Helsinki Vantaa
- A Helsinki Layover
- Finnair AY1335 Helsinki Vantaa to London Heathrow
- Coaching Homewards
- Sometimes, it’s more the journey
AY10 Chicago O’Hare International to Helsinki Vantaa Airport
Finnair, Airbus A330-300
Seat 34L, Economy Pro
20 Tier Points Earned, 1,109 Avios Earned + 2,118 Tier Bonus + 1,109 Promotion Avios
I headed down the Jetway to be greeted with the first Finnair touch – water bottles on boarding the aircraft. Not a bad touch at all.
Boarding at 2L, I was greeted by the crew and headed down the aisle to 34L
Yes. Seat numbers do go that far back… And further still.
Thankfully, Finnair has taken the semi-standard Airbus cabin at the back of the aircraft – with seats in a 2-4-2 layout (with extra space ones at the front of the aircraft), so at least there would be a level of comfort.
The aircraft filled out as passengers boarded, but thankfully – no one wanted to claim the seat next to me for the 8-hour slog to Helsinki.
I could live with that.
With the cabin all loaded – the AY10 pushed back from O’Hare around 30 minutes late for the run.
With the plane pushing back, the safety video played. There are some interesting things in it – namely the handling of Personal Electronic Devices that overhead or get trapped in seats – an interesting touch considering the nastiness of a such an incident that could occur.
Then came the long taxi around O’Hare. And this was just trying to get out of the International Terminal.
Of course, peak-time queues in play. Obviously, they haven’t built enough runways, taxiways or terminals at O’Hare (that seems to be the usual solution to the place… although razing it to the ground and starting again might just work).
Thankfully AY10 was directed to a runway it seemed to like and powered up for the 8 hour trip to Helsinki.
With the aircraft in the air, I explored the IFE system at length. Well. Maybe not at length… more like at speed.
The aircraft uses a Panasonic ex2 IFE system – which compared to some of the screens I’ve used recently is one heck of a throwback in terms of quality and size. In addition, the IFE server was not exactly packed with content – which is a shame to see.
That, and the cardinal sin of putting an IFE remote into the seat arm. At least it was recessed enough so you didn’t hit the buttons by accident, and the remote was removable from the seat arm.
None the less, I found The Big Bang Theory. That would do as I watched on about the courtship of Penny and Leonard… and the car-crash that was them getting married.
For those who need their connectivity, Finnair has Wi-Fi installed – a Panasonic system, branded as Nordic Sky. From this portal, there is Finnair’s duty-free shop, a map, flight and onward connecting information and of course, access to the internet.
Access is billed in three different ways. 1 hour, 3 hours or for the entire flight.
I chose not to be connected to the interwebs for the flight to Helsinki – I would in my vain attempt to get some rest.
How vain that would be, is another matter completely.
The first service followed, with a choice of chicken or pasta. Now, O’Hare has a habit of lousing up anything resembling a meal that boards an aircraft. And this potato and chicken really wasn’t the best offering on the planet.
That said, the chicken had flavour and the veggies were fresh. It’s a shame the mashed potato was soggier than is good for anything.
The salad was a bit tiny, but again fresh.
Wine and beverages were offered – I took my share to ensure I was hydrated.
There’s also a Buy-on-board option for those who needed further feeding.
With the meal service cleared down, it was time for Duty-Free. And yes – Finnair still makes a big song and dance about this. And yes, I participated. Mainly because I wanted to get some presents.
And there was 20% off too – which made the purchases a lot sweeter.
With my purchases in hand, I relaxed across the two seats – trying to get some sleep. And it didn’t help the seat arm doesn’t go all the way up.
Now that’s just plain annoying – no comfort bench.
I exhausted The Big Bang Theory… and struggled to work out what would send me to sleep. Then it hit me. One of the most overrated films of all time could do the trick to help me sleep. And it did.
Which film was it? The Matrix.
I can’t make it past the first 30 minutes without falling asleep to that film. Sorry – I’m not a fan as you can tell.
Sadly, my sleep was pretty disturbed, so I was getting minimal amounts of shut-eye. That was unwelcome, to say the least. And some of it – I put down to the seat, as I was struggling to find a comfortable position at all aboard the seat (normally with a mini-couch like this, raising the seat arm creates a nice place to swivel and rest. I was getting squat this trip).
I woke up far too early and watched the burnt orange sunrise climb into the sky.
Around this time, the cabin lighting came up too – with the crew ready to execute their breakfast service.
Unlike the dinner service – there was only one option. Thankfully, it’s a hot breakfast – something rare across the Atlantic in economy class.
This was a cheese omelette with tomato and potato bites. And this was a well-executed meal. Whilst it wasn’t the largest meal in the world, it was a warm snack delivered in a one-box format that airlines like.
And infinitely better than some airlines breakfast boxes or pastries.
Coffee and water were offered and taken. It would help in the vain attempt to be awake.
It was vain.
More windows in the cabin opened to let the morning light in as the aircraft closed in on Helsinki Airport. With the winds on our side, we were making up the time we were on the ground – and then some.
I dived back in. And found the BBC Travel Show loaded – showing off Northern Finland.
With the welcome video played, it was time for AY10 to descent through the clouds and begin its approach to Helsinki Vantaa.
I swear this airport is becoming more of my life than I’d care to admit these days.
With ease, the AY10 made its final approach and landed at its home of Helsinki Vantaa Airport.
Thankfully the A330 turned and headed for the new 40 Piers at Helsinki Airport – making the prospect of no bus a wonderful thing.
This is more than unusual – a Juneyao Air Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Soon to serve Dublin too.
With a bong, the seatbelt signs were released and I mostly gathered my things.
As did all the other passengers.
It was time to get inspired by Nordic design.
The exit from the aircraft was from the very front of the plane, allowing to me to spy the Thompson Vantage seats used in Business Class.
Overall: In terms of service, not bad at all. It’s above average compared to transatlantic airlines (and the hot breakfast is a win with AY10 on this longhaul leg).
However, the A330’s need an urgent refit. Compared to some of the modern aircraft I’ve flown recently, you could tell that is work to be done – like the remotes in seats, the lack of being able to lift an armrest up and an ancient IFE system compared to a lot of its transatlantic compatriots.
If Finnair can bring up their A330’s to the quality of their A350 fleet – they’d be onto a winner. End of matter. For now, it’s a middling option across the pond (depending on the equipment of course).
NEXT: A Helsinki Layover
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