AY1337 Helsinki Vantaa to London Heathrow Terminal 3
Indirect Travel Fun
- How much is it this time???
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- American Airlines AA99 London Heathrow to Chicago (Main Cabin Extra)
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- 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
AY1337 Helsinki Vantaa to London Heathrow Terminal 3
I passed through the clearance area at 51C for the bus to the aircraft – face pressed against the window- mainly as there was a famous Finnair aircraft – but also, Finavia was playing sardines.
It seems that Finavia is learning more lessons from Heathrow than most of us would like.
The bus drove around the tarmac, as we hunted for our Airbus A321 that would operate this segment to Heathrow. Eventually, it was found. However, it seemed that the aircraft was being cleaned still as we got there – with a five-minute wait to be cleared before we could board.
Eventually, the first bus was allowed to unload its passengers, then us.
I headed up the steps, onto this Airbus A321 with winglets.
Finnair AY1337 Helsinki Vantaa to London Heathrow Terminal 3
Airbus A321 with Winglets
Seat 8A, Economy Class
1,151 Miles Flown, 10 Tier Points, 848 Avios Earned.
Boarding the aircraft, I was welcomed by the crew and I headed to Row 8 – this was the first row behind business class (this was a euro business class. It was also one of the last rows before the first emergency exit, so there’s a reasonable amount of room here.
I negotiated my way in as someone was sitting in the aisle seat. Thankfully, the middle seat remained free at this point – and did so as boarding concluded.
The seat is a Recaro seat – so one I’m familiar with in terms of marketing and sitting in. Whilst there was no power at the seat, I wasn’t exactly moaning at this point – I was too tired from running around Vantaa airport.
With the aircraft secured for flight, it pushed back, with the safety demonstration starting. This was an audio demonstration, with the crew interacting as needed.
As the demonstration was completed, the aircraft taxied around parts of Helsinki Vantaa airport, as and past the maintenance changes on its way to the runway.
With no queue for the runway, our Airbus A321 engines roared into life, with a 2-hour and 30-minute journey ahead of us to London Heathrow.
As the aircraft climbed out of Helsinki and began tracking towards London, the inflight connectivity was activated.
This is a different system to the one operated on Finnair’s long haul aircraft – as this is powered by Viasat.
It offered three services – a Streaming service, a browsing service and a free messaging tier. This was activated a few days before the free messaging service was activated across the Finnair Airbus short-haul fleet.
Let us have a look at it. I covered this in detail in a post, but to get access to the free messaging tier, you need to be a Finnair Plus member. That’s great in theory – although if you’ve forgotten your password for your current password, you’re a little stuffed as you can’t reset it with their own Nordic Sky Portal. Although, the good news is that you can create a new Finnair account.
For those who are Finnair Gold or above, it might be worth remembering the password, as you can access free browsing/streaming depending on your status.
The messaging tier is just that – text messaging over various platforms. Images won’t make it through the gateways on this tier – and if you want to do anything more than text messaging, it’s time to pay up.
Speaking of paying up, the in-flight catering service commenced. I asked for a blueberry juice and a coffee.
And correct, I forgot the coffee was chargeable. Thankfully contactless payment works and it was “only” €3.
Not the best price, but not the worst – and it would keep me going a little longer. Which at this point of the travel day, was getting more important.
Whilst I dozed a little, I was re-running some numbers in my head when I woke – and the big factor in my number guessing was Heathrow airport.
Depending on when the aircraft landed, if it landed on time, if it got a gate and when the bags came off, would dictate my way home.
I had been planning in my head, the dread of a cross-London trip on the train to either Euston or Marleybone and home that way, dealing with the post-peak time traffic. But also there was the option of a coach trip, with a National Express coach departing around 6 pm from the Central Bus Station.
As the aircraft would arrive at terminal 3, it’s a 10-minute hike to the bus stops. Not impossible – if time was on my side.
As I looked out at the North Sea passing under the aircraft, that would be something I would have to face a lot sooner than I would like.
Who says travel is glamorous?
Also, for those who bring their IFE, good news – the seats have a PED holder fitted – perfect to catch up on all the episodes of TV or films you downloaded off Amazon Prime.
As to why I don’t take my car to Heathrow and park up, it boils down to two things: cost of parking and exhaustion – because who enjoys a three-hour drive when you’re exhausted from hours of flying? Combined with nighttime and peak-time traffic, that’s just a recipe for disaster.
Or at least an accident that I want to be no part of.
Eventually, the crew came along to clean up the cabin service as well as open the dividers between business and economy class – with 20 minutes on the clock before we hit London.
As I hadn’t paid for internet access, I wasn’t sure of the approaches we would be taking to the city and the airport.
The aircraft descended over Essex, making a turn over the Thames, with London City Airport and the Millenium Dome in full view.
We then turned and straightened out – with the aircraft making an approach to Heathrow on the South runway.
As the aircraft descended, we passed through some rain. Here is a video of said rain.
You’ve got this, as the landing footage was lost. Thankfully, the aircraft made it through the rain cell, landing at Heathrow Airport.
The aircraft taxied off the runway quickly and turned for right off the runway, then right again, heading straight for a gate.
Colour me shocked. It was 17:00. We had landed relivitly on time and were approaching a gate within minutes of landing.
This isn’t the Heathrow I know.
By 17:05, the aircraft had parked at the gate, and passengers were getting ready to disembark – myself included.
It took another 5 minutes for the jetbridge to be attached (oh, a classic Heathrow move, but eventually, I was on my way out of the aircraft, ready to see what games this airport is playing with luggage delivery.
This good luck run couldn’t last… could it?
For an intra-European short-haul hop, this was more than passable, sweetened with inflight messaging and blueberry juice. With a spare seat, it felt more Club Europe/European Business Class than not – just without the food.
And that’s more than a win in my book.
A shame that coffee is charged for – but airlines do love to scrape the barrel and upcharge when they can – Finnair seem to be turning into masters of this.
The Unexpected Coach cometh… late.
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