Finnair AY10 Chicago O’Hare Terminal 5 to Helsinki Vantaa Airport (Economy Class)
Indirect Travel Fun
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- Early Morning National Express, Mid Moring Terminal 3
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- American Airlines AA99 London Heathrow to Chicago (Main Cabin Extra)
- Into the USA, Crowne Plaza O’Hare
- Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- Airplane Art Extra: From the Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- Chicago Classics: Mannys Deli and Cafeteria
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- Back to O’Hare, Swissport Lounge Chicago T5
- Finnair AY10 Chicago O’Hare to Helsinki Vantaa
- A quick ground-side visit, and an even quicker stop at the Finnair Lounge
- Finnair AY1337 to Helsinki Vantaa to London Heathrow
- The Unexpected Coach Home
- Expect the Unexpected
Finnair AY10 Chicago O’Hare Terminal 5 to Helsinki Vantaa Airport
Seat 32L, Economy Class
4,436 Miles flow. 20 Tier Points Earned, 3,327 Avios Earned
I headed down the jetbridge. Although given that general boarding had commenced, it was quiet for a transatlantic flight with a minimal boarding queue.
I boarded the aircraft and was directed by the crew down to the left alise, passing Premium Economy segment. The new AirLounge seats were getting further away from me.
That being said, the cabin looked nice for the A330. My seat was two rows behind in Economy Class – just behind the bulkhead seat.
The last time I flew aboard a Finnair A330 was in business class – and that was ropey as heck then. This is much cleaner – and much nicer, to put it mildly.
Thankfully, Finnair kept the 2-4-2 layout in the back of the A330 – which meant there would be some comfort.
The airline has selected a “new to me” seat, with a HAECO Vector seat. This has been on display in trade shows, so it is good to see this in its first “real” deployment.
At the seat was a bottle of water, as well as earbuds. These are the two-pin variety, yet disposable.
The seat itself – whilst slimline – was quite comfortable. The extra inch of posterior space, as well as shoulder space, makes a difference in this 2-4-2 configuration. It is finished in Nordic greys.
Calming and at least it’s not airline blue.
The seat features an IFE screen, and a tablet/phone holder as well – a welcome thing to see that doesn’t consume precious tray table space (which is a double-fold table… again good for space conservation.
And for those who love air vents, there is very good news, as they’re present in this Airbus A330.
I would say the aircraft filled up – but to be honest, boarding was completed around 15 minutes after I boarded, with the majority of the seats in the forward economy cabin empty – and the seat next to me empty. This, I could live with. Finnair’s accountants might think otherwise.
The safety video played, with the crew interacting along to various parts of it during the briefing.
With that complete, the cabin lights dimmed and our aircraft set off for a nighttime taxi around the O’Hare field.
It seemed we would be departing away from the city this evening, with winds necessitating that switch with a roar, the A330s engines propelled the aircraft into the night sky.
The aircraft banked and turned, giving a view of O’Hare International Airport, then heading up to Wisconsin and on the long transatlantic hop to Finland.
I briefly looked at the in-flight Wi-Fi pricing. Whilst a lot more competitive than American Airlines (and incidentally, using the same connectivity method, with Panasonic Avionics providing the connectivity), I skipped on paying out for Internet acccess, as I wanted a bit of time disconnected from the world.
Instead, I looked at the IFE system in front of me. This is a Panasonic NEXT system – one of the first times I’ve seen this in the field.
In Economy Class, the remote control has been done away with, with the screen being interacted with by touch alone. That has positives and negatives – it’s less complex to install and maintain (with just the seat end and a connection to the plane. For those who have accessibility issues and rely on touch, this could be a lot more difficult.
On the positive side, the screen was clear and crisp – it’s wonderful to see. The earbuds, however… I know these are disposable (which is never a good thing), but these were all levels of awful, setting records for being tinny. Combined with having to drive them quite loud with the thinnest possible gauge wire, they were not the greatest headphone set.
In terms of content, there was a fair amount of films and TV series – with films taking a shine in their content list this time. I found Austin Powers and The Spy Who… did Things) to start with, noting the IFE interface could scrub through content rather well, without hitches and pauses.
In addition, the maps system is the Panasonic ARC maps – something I’ve played with on and off during trade shows. Again – it’s great to play with the product in person, with the maps offering a fluid and interactive experience.
Not too shabby.
There is also USB-A and USB-C Outlets in economy class. That’s a welcome thing to see as the world goes USB-C (dragged by the EU in some cases), so it’s great that these methods are available. I didn’t check if it was fully PD compliant (as I was exhausted… and didn’t want to fetch the laptop charging cable out).
Something for another time… maybe.
The drinks service then followed. Offers of Beer, Wine, and cold and hot drinks were made. I went for a beer.
Honestly? It tasted beery and nice enough at 35,000ft. A local-ish beer at least for the airline, rather than the usual other tin of Heineken. Sadly, Spirits were a chargeable option.
As for the meal. Well, I was going to say where do we start with this, but there’s exactly one meal choice in Economy Class.
Considering every other long-haul airline has always offered two options at least – that’s a little embarrassing, to put it mildly. It can of course be put down to Finnair cutting costs (like they’ve done elsewhere in the short haul).
On the tray, I was offered a Vegetable Chow Mein. This was served with Quniola with goat cheese (I swear that’s a common offering out of O’Hare for most airlines), along with a bread roll and a pre-packaged chocolate brownie.
All I’m going to say is this: I’m glad I had that Ruben sandwich earlier that day.
The cutlery pack contained a wooden knife and fork, along with a disinfectant towel and Marinmeko napkin.
The salad was fresh enough, with the goat’s cheese adding a little needed creaminess. The vegetable chow mein was… forgettable to put it bluntly, with just enough to top off an appetite.
The crew did another drinks round to cap off dinner and put the cabin into Northern lights mode, then into darkness for the rest of the flight.
I settled in to watch “Lord of the Rings – Return of the King. A good three-hour epic, which helped me fall asleep.
I woke up towards the end, and scrubbed through the film – one film I haven’t sat down to watch in years (and also – each time I’ve watched it – I’ve been seeing the extended edition, rather than the film release.
I managed to make it down to the back of the cabin between these film breaks for a comfort break, and also to get blueberry juice. Because that’s a rule on Finnair, you get your berry juice and you are happy.
The seat deserves a few mentions – with it being a mixture of a recliner style, along with the seat pan moving forward to create a deeper recline. The idea is that you’re not heavily incurring to the person’s space behind you.
The headrest is a multi-directional and adjustable unit – making it easy to get a comfy position to snooze on.
All are controlled with a simple, yet tactile control button. Not too bad.
Eventually, the breakfast service kicked off as lights were raised. And oh dear.
In the past, there was a hot breakfast that was offered for its overnight flights. This time, however, we have… wait for it people.
A Lemon Dizzle muffin.
I give up.
I honestly give up.
I had thought airlines had gotten past this annoying muffin replacement programme as a breakfast option, but it seems the bean counters got to the hot breakfast offering and chopped it off.
Considering this is an 8-hour segment – not impressive in the least, even compared to British Airways.
At least it was served with drinks, allowing me to grab some airline coffee and blueberry juice.
Not perfect, but hopefully I would get a chance to grab something when I got to Helsinki – providing the time gods were with me (here’s a hint: they weren’t in the end).
With that, light up, the arrival video played for Helsinki Airport.
For me, it would be a question of where the aircraft would dock at the airport to where I was going to go next
One of my friends had asked me to hunt for Fazer Pihlaja sweets. I knew it would be a long shot in the secure area – but thankfully, there’s a supermarket in the arrivals concourse at Helsinki Airport. I was in the mood to try – even with 1 and a half hours on the clock
With the seatbelt signs turned back on, I got comfy for the final part of this part of the fight, as the aircraft dropped from 10,000ft, over some lovely finish countryside, as the aircraft headed towards Vantaa and Helsinki Airport.
With ease, the Airbus A330 landed at its home base.
The aircraft taxied off the runway reasonably quickly and headed toward the 40 Gates in its final stage of the service.
Thankfully, gates normally aren’t a 10-mile taxi at Helsinki when arriving and today was no different.
With the aircraft at the gate, a jetbridge was attached. I gathered what items I had and headed to the exit.
Whilst the hardware and crews were wonderful, the soft product is an embarrassment. And that’s the only way to describe it.
And that puts a major damper on the flight. Whilst the hardware was some of the best I’ve seen in an A330 refresh (with a recline mechanism that had got things right, a great implementation of the Panasonic NEXT platform, with reasonable enough leg room, catering is a major letdown.
You can put all the money you like into hardware, but without the soft product to back it up, it’s a frustrating experience.
I wish I could say nicer things, but a single meal choice – That’s not an eco-measure, that’s a cost measure. As for the lemon drizzle muffin… I thought airlines got over this.
I was wrong.
Into Finland to go to a supermarket… eh?
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