This is new: Leaving Helsinki Airport
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- 3 am. Digbeth Coach Station. We know the drill by now…
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- 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
With the aircraft docked and myself off the aircraft, there was a mass rush of passengers who were rushing for the Los Angeles and Oslo flights.
Thank you A350!
Rush connections are live!
I took my time, passing Moomin Coffee and took my time heading to the Schengen part of the terminal.
Whilst I appreciate the coffee, there is so much more room for Moomin-tie-in stuff here. But it is very cute.
From here, I followed the signs to passport control, where you can either change for flights in the Schengen area, or exit into Finland itself.
This is important, as this is also the main passport control for the airport.
There were very few people exiting towards Schengen. With my passport stamped and approved, I continued my way, doing something I’d never done before – exit Helsinki Airport.
I know, this sounds weird, but for everything, there can be a first time.
As I was travelling with hand luggage only, I proceed downto baggage reclaim, skipping past the people who were waiting for baggage to arrive.
The excess pricing on emotional baggage is overpriced.
With no luggage to claim, I headed to the exit, and into the public area.
Statues about sniffer dogs.
I followed the signs, heading to the exit.
Down here I think…
For here, it was a matter of following the signs. Well – not exactly, there was one thing I needed to do – and that was to buy a train ticket.
Now I could have done this via the machines on the platform, but it seemed that the quickest way would be to download an app and buy a ticket.
Pretty easy enough (it’s a multi-lingual app – very helpful design there.
Fare zones can be hard for a visitor to grasp. Thankfully there’s a guide at https://www.hsl.fi/en/tickets-and-fares/hsl-area-and-zones.
Note that if you’re travelling from the Airport into the city, you will need an ABC ticket, rather than an AB ticket.
Day or multi-day tickets offer good value if you’re travelling more than a few trips.
Thankfully, I downloaded the app before I left home – so all I needed to do was fire up the app, pop in my card details, activate the ticket and off I went.
This escalator is deep.
With an e-ticket in hand, I headed down to platform level. Here’s a pro-tip though – if you’re in a rush, take the elevators. The escalators are majestic, but are long and take forever.
However, my timing seemed to be reasonable, as a train to Helsinki was about to arrive as I got to the platform.
I want to stop and talk about this piece of transit design. This is excellent. it gives you a clear view of how long it is going to take to your destination, and where it will take you. Simple, but good design.
Train in 1 minute… well, it is approaching.
Helsinki Airport is on a ring line, with one route taking 28 minutes to get to Helsinki Central and the other taking 32 minutes to complete the trip using the P or I train. Trains have a combined frequency of every 10 minutes – which makes it very convenient.
The trains themselves are Stadler Flirts – so its usual design of big doors in the centre of the train on powered cars, or two doors on a trailer. Seating on these trains is a mixture of 2 x 2 across and 3 x 2 across, with raised sections between carriages.
The trains feature both Dot Matrix displays, as well as screens near the exits. There are also verbal announcements in Finnish, Swedish and English too – making the system very accessible to visitors or non-native speakers.
A more regional train whizzing past.
I would get on at the front of the train, however – and there’s a good reason.
This is not a high-speed service, rather it’s a local service, thus trains to stop at each station along the route.
Something fascinates me about this mansion. I’m not sure why.
The lines all converge near Helsinki City Terminal, where all trains terminate in a classic terminal station. However, the Ring-Rail line trains tend to terminate at the extreme ends of the station (Platform 1/18, which are mostly uncovered and a fair walk away from the main terminal building).
Exiting the station, the next priority was to drop the bag off at a hotel – so it was time to fire up Google Maps and its wonderful directions of taking you through odd places to a tram stop.
The hotel is served by the 2 and 4 trams (there is a limit to dealing with buses in a new place), it’s a matter of finding a tram stop and waiting. Again – the trams run on a proof of payment system (and yes, they have active inspectors out there, so don’t run the risk).
Thankfully the joy of Google Maps (with a half-dead phone), lead me to the hotel – the Crowne Plaza Helsinki.
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