Finnair AY1332 London Heathrow – Helsinki- BUSINESS CLASS/A350
- How much for 160 Tier Points?
- 3 am. Digbeth Coach Station. We know the drill by now…
- Cathay Pacific Lounge (Business Class), London Heathrow
- Finnair AY1332 London Heathrow to Helsinki Airport (Business Class)
- This is new: Leaving Helsinki Airport
- Crowne Plaza Helsinki
- Exploring Suomenlinna
- Back to Helsinki Airport
- Finnair Non-Schengen Lounge
- Finnair AY1337 Helskini to London Heathrow (Business Class)
- What a Heathrow Omnishambles
- 160 Tier Points Down, 160 To Go
Finnair, 1A, Business Class
80 Tier Points Earned, 2,260 Avios Earned
I was welcomed aboard and directed to turn left. Well with seat 1A, it would be rude not to.
This Airbus A350-900 was fitted with the previous generation cabin, based on the Safran Seating (nee Zodiac) Cirrus seat, as opposed to the Collins Aerospace Airlounge I was hoping to score.
No matter. The Cirrus is a reasonably good seat, even if t rocks a little bit when seated, with lots of different storage points on the seat.
A shocked overhead panel is always shocked.
The crew were ensuring that everyone was settling in, with the business class cabin filling out, with only one spare seat in the cabin. At each seat, there were headphones and a bottle of water.
Whilst we were all rather quick boarding and baggage being placed in the overhead bin, it seemed that the aircraft was suffering from the joy of Heathrow. We had been struck by Menzies Aviation, who were taking their time loading and unloading the aircraft. Of course with the people-power shortage, they were taking their own sweet time handling the aircraft.
How could I tell? I had the tail camera on, watching the entire process play out in front of me, where I watched the dance of luggage loaders and bins do their thing.
It was a good hour before the aircraft was buttoned up, and we were allowed to get underway.
Bulkhead for a friend.
Qantas Boeing 787-9 being tugged in for the return to Perth.
On the A350, Finnair uses a full safety video, with its crew stepping in for the parts of demonstrating exit locations and lighting.
Our aircraft taxied out of Terminal 3, as it began its trip around the Heathrow field.
Off we go!
Air France Airbus A321.
Air Canada Boeing 737 MAX 8 and TAP Airbus A321neo.
Star Alliance Tails.
Avianca Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
China Eastern Boeing 787-9.
LOT Boeing 737 MAX 8 on the keys.
Off we go!
Eventually, we lined up at Runway 27R and took off into the sky- captured in glorious 4K before Youtube ruins the quality.
With the aircraft in the air, the hot towel service kicked off, along with drink orders.
With the drink order in, I explored the In-Flight Entertainment a little – with it being…underwhelming.
Whilst there is a selection there for consumption, there was not much to my taste. On a short-haul flight like this, it’s not a problem. On the longer legs, some variety could be welcomed.
Controls for the system were either touch or with the remote mounted in the system.
Mains power, as well as low-powered USB-A outlets, were provided, along with controls for the seat. Audio is provided by a three-pin system (two for left and right, centre for power for powered headsets).
I stuck to the tail cam for entertainment mainly, as well as playing with the map by FlightPath 3D.
One active thing was the Wi-Fi System. This is a Panasonic Aerospace system, branded as “Nordic Sky”, where Finnair has taken a lot of the front-end in-house rather than letting someone else control it – and that includes the payment system.
However, there’s another advantage to flying business class – the wifi is provided free for an hour. Whilst it’s not a great deal that it was free Wi-Fi for a flight with a code, it is still better than nothing.
I eventually connected to the Nordic Sky Platform and did what I do best – checked how fast it was.
Not bad at all.
However, the package offered for the free business class passengers blocked streaming – so I could not do any youtube tests to see the stability of the connection (remember that an internet connection requires both good bandwidth, good ping times and excellent latency – that governs the applications you will be using on it). As such, it’s good for social media, web browsing and the usual enjoyable things at 35,000ft as well as on the ground.
Let us get onto the meal service – because food is always a plus. An interesting cost-cutting measure here is that Finnair only serves one meal selection aboard their European services (compared to the two choices or more that other airlines offer).
This is one thing that makes me go ‘hmm’ a little – whilst Finnair could argue they are saving waste food in the air (and would not be wrong), if you did not order a special meal and you are vegetarian or vegan, you are plum out of luck.
So, there is a Finnair pro tip.
Onto the meal – today there was beef lasagna as a main, with smoked fish with mustard moose on the side and a packaged snack.
Well. Where to begin? The smoked fish is a good start, with the fish not at all smelly or fishy – a good thing to see. The mustard moose on the side mellow the smokiness a little.
The lasagna was portioned well for an inflight meal, with it not too chewy – which can happen with pasta on an aircraft, mixed with a reasonable sauce and meat filling.
As for the cookie, this is where Finnair could learn from BA here in terms of desert. Whilst BA meals are mostly forgettable short haul, getting Do&Co to ensure a good desert with branding on it was an excellent move.
With the service cleared down, the cabin crew made another round of drinks – and made sure people were kept topped up.
With the flight coming to an end, the cabin was cleared down. Connection information was also announced, as we would be coming in a good 32 minutes down on our stated arrival time.
In particular, connection information for those going on to Stockholm, Oslo and Los Angeles was given, with passengers asked to proceed directly to the gate, with other passengers asked to give way to let these people through as a courtesy.
A nice touch, if a little hard to implement as we will see when we land.
The A350 began to vector towards its home base.
Helsinki Airport was closing in as the aircraft prepared to land.
With ease, the A350 made tracks for its home base, landing with a little bit of rain covering the ground.
At this point, you would expect a long taxi to a gate – not this time, with the aircraft turning off the runway and straight to a gate.
Finnair (NoRRA) Embarer E-190.
Sister A350 at the gate.
With alarming efficiency, the seatbelt sign went off, and the jetbridge came to connect with the aircraft. As I sat at front of the aircraft, I let most of the people off in front of me – I was in no rush to get off.
Disembarkation was business class first (with economy class held back). I made my way off the A350 and off into Finland.
And to do something a little bit different than usual – land in the country.
Overall: A rather well-put-together end-to-end service, with some thoughtful touches, aided by a wide-body jet to enable a lot more comfort than you normally would (for example. a flatbed versus the normal Eurobusiness seat, which makes an incredible difference in the passenger experience.
It was usual to have a free hour of Wi-Fi – although I can see that having a free flights worth is unsustainable at best.
There was only one minor quibble in the service and it is down to meal choice. Whilst I’m not the pickiest of eaters, I struggle with the one choice for meals in business class – where I would expect a choice. Finnair argues that “We have only one menu available onboard in Business Class of our short-haul flights to minimise food waste.”.
That will come as a shock to a vegetarian passenger, who discovers they have to order that ahead.
It is a small quibble in otherwise an excellent segment – but one to be aware of.
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