Entering Finland to visit…. a Supermarket. Eh… what…?
Indirect Travel Fun
- How much is it this time???
- Early Morning National Express, Mid Moring Terminal 3
- Elegantly Lounging around Terminal 3 (Cathay Pacific and American Airlines Lounges)
- 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
- Bench Test and First Impressions: Canon EOS R50
- Rebuilding a Legacy: Central Camera, Chicago
- Chicago Classics: Peaquod’s Pizza
- 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
Getting off the aircraft, I had a total of 1 and a half hours on the clock. Normally, I’d head straight to the lounge, get a gin and tonic and fall asleep. Or something like that.
But I had other things on my agenda. I was after some Finnish sweets for a friend. Whilst Duty-free and Kiosk prices are… not great, Helsinki Airport has a semi-public secret in hand – there’s a supermarket right outside customs in the public area. Whilst it is slightly overpriced, it is still a lot better than other options at the airport.
A 24-hour supermarket in an airport – who would have thought?
I made haste through the terminal area and to the Finnish/EU Border. The border agent raised their eyebrows, but after I explained what I was after, he happily stamped my passport – as well as noted that the chip had expired in it.
Tell me something about that passport I don’t know sadly. There are several years on it still before it expires, and I’m not going to replace it just yet.
With that done, I made haste through luggage claim and past customs to arrivals.
And the supermarket – it’s to the right of the exit doors of the secured area
Diving into the supermarket, I was on the hunt for various things – but mainly Fazer’s Pihlaja “Fox Sweet/Marmalade” sweets. I hunted high and low for 5 minutes, with no luck.
Thankfully, there were a bunch of other interesting items, so I grabbed them.
A quick trip through a self-checkout, and I headed up to Security.
At this point, I was around 30 minutes into my turnaround – so I was hoping for a quick 10 minutes through security and back in the lounge for a nice break.
Well, that hope ended in tears, taking a full 25 minutes to get through the CT Scan tunnels.
Whilst the scans themselves were fast, the processing of bags after was not – especially as both bags had been pulled aside (although, a lot of bags were being pulled that day). It seems the sheer amount of candy and sweets – as well as my tech gear, had flagged both bags.
It didn’t help that the secondary check people went from two people down to one, slowing the process down incredibly.
And yes – this was on a premium security lane.
With the clock heading to 15:15, I raced towards the Finnish border to be stamped out of the country and back into the non-Schengen region.
Next was an important stop for me – and one of the reasons I routed my ticket back through Helsinki Airport.
Those who have been reading might have noticed I’ve been shifting my flying drinking patterns from Champagne to Gin.
Why not? Aviation bubbles have only seemed to have gotten more acidic over time – so having a higher-quality drink is a welcome thing. One gin I found I liked is the Kyro Gin that Finnair serves – a rye-based gin. I’m not a gin snob by any stretch of the imagination (I can enjoy a can of Tesco’s own Gin and Slim and have a good evening), but like anything, you develop tastes as you go.
Now I could get a bottle through Amazon and have it delivered to my front door, but please point out where is the fun in doing that?
With that in hand, I had.. 5 minutes before boarding began from a bus gate. I decided that I needed a cola to cool down… and headed for the Finnair Lounge as it was within spitting distance of the gate.
I’m making no apologies that this is a ten-minute impression, rather than a tour of it. See my other trip report segments that I’ve covered in the lounge in the past.
In the entranceway, where once there were duty-free items, there is now a “Finnair 100” uniform display.
With its Nordic design, clean lines and sense of serenity, it’s a lot quieter than some of the lounges I’ve been in this trip – and a hell of a step up from that dump that is used in Chicago.
I wasn’t much interested in that – I needed a cold beverage before I continued.
I did a little sweep of the lounge, as well as managing to misplace my passport under one of my bags, creating free pain. Because there’s nothing like panicking yourself unnecessarily.
There were plenty of food options out for those who wanted them – and yes, hot food too.
It seems the lounge was quiet before the evening rush hour. I was happy in this place for 10 minutes as I calmed down.
However, those 10 minutes went by far too fast. I grabbed my stuff together and headed for the Gate 51 bussing complex.
Yes. Helsinki Airport has two bussing complexes for Non-Schengen departures. I filed that under “That’s new to me”.
The first bus was pulling out as I descended, but a second bus was waiting in the wings – perfect.
I presented my boarding pass and passport and was blipped through.
Next stop… the aircraft, then London.
Next: AY1337 – Oh yes. Coffee is chargeable, isn’t it?
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