Finnair new BusinessClass on the way TXL-HEL-BKK
After being on the road with established airlines in the recent weeks, and having experienced rather solid but no new products, here is something new in the „collection“. Today I went with Finnair, also part of One World Alliance, to a business trip to Asia, particularly Bangkok, Thailand. Again, my journey started in Berlin Tegel, like almost always. Check-in and processing took part in Terminal D, a little apart of main Terminal A.
CheckIn, Lounge and Boarding:
Dropping my luggage, since I already checked in online, is totally uncomplicated.
When I arrived 90 minutes before take off, emptiness rules the counter. Two passengers are waiting in line at the eco counter, but the other one are empty. So I get back to Terminal A into the lounge. Also
this time I get into the often mentioned lounge of British Airways, since Finnair is a One World Partner. A little snack, coke and newspaper and I’m on my way back to the D area. Different than in the main terminal, you don’t find a security check at every gate, but a centralized one with a fast track, which is also being used by just one lady. They found a compass in the lady’s bag and gave it back to her with the advice not to hurt anybody with this. Well… We boarded on time and entered the bus at Gate D73. Due to the small size of the machine on the first track, we only one bus was necessary and everybody fares in direction airplane.
The plane was a Embrae 170 with a 2-2 seating. In the business class, which consists of only two rows and is separated from the rest of the cabin with a curtain, a gentleman is sitting next to me.Stowing my stuff, taking a seat on 1A and we’re ready for take off. Not 10 minutes later food is on the table. It’s 1:30 P.M., which means we get a warm lunch. Even though it didn’t look that way, it was really delicious, except from the broccoli. Thereto a coke and I’m happy. The seats are nothing special, but simple for a short track seat. There is no reason to sit in business (except from when it’s a shuttle flight), because apart form warm food there is nothing that differs business class from economy plus every guest can enter the lounge anyway.
After a short flight we arrived over-punctual in Helsinki. I was surprised that, different than in London or other transfer-airports, there is no security but only a passport control. I quickly find myself in area 2b of the terminal, which is used by Finnair for long distance flights.
Helsinki Finnair Lounge
Directly at gate 36, our departure gate later, you find the Finnair Business Lounge. It has not only a nice view on waiting planes, like ours, but is also nicely designed. Divided into different areas for eating, resting, relaxing or working its size is sufficient and during my stay not packed.
The buffet provides salad and little snack, but no warm food, apart from soup. It was quite delicious, also the cake and little snacks. Wi-fi is not only in the lounge but in the whole airport free of charge and available in straight speed. If you want to freshen up before the flight, you can use the showers in the lounge in order to continue the flight in a relaxed manner.
Besides a whole series of non-alcoholic soft drinks (from a pump), coffee, tea and different juices you’re also offered a selection of wine that also comes out of a pump. The bar inside the lounge serves Finnair clients free longdinks and Champaign. All other guests (also One World clients) have to pay for alcohol, except wine. I don’t mind that at all since I’m not drinking any alcohol and I’m happy with juice, soft drinks and espresso. Cola drops out today, because they have Pepsi.
With a little delay of 10 minutes we started boarding. Three counters for economy and one business class and status clients are available. As one of the first ones I enter the neat and tidy cabin. The kind of seats is comparable to Brussels Airlines, the seat itself to United. The arrangement varies depending on row. In the first row it starts with 2-2-1, the one behind it is a little shifted and ordered in the pattern 1-2-1.
If you travel alone, I recommend to take seat 2,4 or 6A, because these are always positioned behind the double pair infront o fit and provide lots of shelf space. On the right side of the machine (seats with L) these are also arranged as single seats, but they only have shelf space on one side and leave you sitting at the corridor or window.
I am more than happy with my seat 4A and I have lots of shelf space on my right and left side. Talking about shelfs: under the front seat you find a shelf each, in order to stow shoes, above (in row A on the right and left, in row L right OR left) storage for magazines or other utensils. In the back area of my seat I found several little shelves more. On my left side there are sockets with international plugs (EU, UK, US) and beside that USB sockets.
The seat can be adjusted with a pad on the right of left edge and provides standard settings for take off, landing, lounge position and bed and many other possibilities for individual comfort. It also comes with a comfortable massage function, which works in seating and bed position. An implicit lighting is integrated in the shelf space of the backside, as well as a reading light with three level illumination in swiveling position. Talking about swiveling: also the screen is inclinable in sleep mode.
When transforming the seat into a bed, the foot area is shoved under the front seat and creates a kind of „cave“. It’s space is sufficient, but not incredibly large, so that people with big feet might have problems. The seat itself is comfy in all positions. Working, eating or watching TV is uncomplicated and comfortably possible. If you’re bigger than 1,90m or a little “broader” you’ll fastly bump – maybe you’d like to choose a seat in the middle block. Rows 1, 3, 5 or 7 are open to the corridor and offer a little more space, but I don’t mind with my size.
Sheets, pillows and amenity kit
Finnair has one big advage compared to others: the sheets are outstanding and
keep you more than warm. Thick and quilted sheets guarantee a restfull sleep and pillows are big and soft. Some airlines have sheets so thin the purpose of a sheet is hardly given. This is done way better
at Finnair – they’re used to coldness.
The amenity kit on the other side is worse than at other airlines. The standard version is already at the seat when the guest enters and consists of paper. Yes, that’s right: it’s a paper bag. It’s justified with environmental reasons, which is not bad, since many people just throw it away.
However apart from socks, ear plugs and sleep mask there is nohthing else inside. No cremes or tooth brush. These things can be received by request, but it would be easier to have tooth brushes in the bathroom or in the amenity kit. Other’s do a better job here.
The screen is not really big but suffices and can be skewed and adjusted in brightness. It’s controlled via remote control in the seat or by touch. The extensive offer includes international movies from different categories and TV shows, documentation, news and such. Also games and entertainment for travelling kids are integrated. Sending text messages and mails with credit card is possible – If you need that. Also calling from seat to seat is possible, but I’m not sure if anybody has ever done that.
A nice but not outstanding map shows actual flight data and further information concerning position. Also a front camera and one under the machine is there, which provide a nice view especially when flying at low height.
After a selection of water, orange juice of Champaign (Joseph Perrier Vuvée Royale Brut Vintage 2000) at the start, the nicely designed menu came accompanied with a L’amuse-bouch (consisting of tasty veggie chips). Divided into a menu and wine menu, here is the compilation.
the starters consist of a salad with dressing, a creamy and good mushroom soup with really fresh herbs and Norwegian specialties. Even though the starter fish hast not hit my taste, everything else was more than tasty.
Also Finnair serves a part oft the desert (the cheese) right at the beginning, but leaves it fortunately covered, so you can eat it later. The cheese, so much beforehand, is nothing special and just partly good, partly a little too dry. Therefore I got another portion of the tasty mushroom soup and even a third one. The main courses offer three choices. It starts with backed salmon with mashed asparagus and spinach. If you don’t like fish, you can also have pasta (Arugula ravioli with tomato sauce) or meat. My choice today was swine. OK, at least a piece of it, served with carrots and broccoli (which unfortunately was a little over cooked) and a well-done potato gratin.
As finish I had strawberry cake with fresh fruit and espresso. Both was delicious and not common in business class. Coffee and tea is provided by nearly every airline, cappuccino or espresso mostly not. All together a solid and good performance by Finnair and definitely comparable to other carriers like British Airways and such.
For breakfast before landing the offer consisted of a selection of types of omelets, filled with mozzarella, tomato salad and potato has browns in a cold variant. This was my choice, because it felt like 2 o clock in the morning and at this time I’m happy with a light yoghurt with berries and some cereals.
the wine menu comes in five different languages and offers two white wines (one Leon Beyer Riesling and a 2009 Chardonnay) and two red wines (a Cheateu Vieux Robin 2003 or the Italian Valpolicella Classico Ripasso from 2010). After the main course they offered some desert wines, four in total, while only the Lenz Moser Prestige Beerenauslese from Austria and the Niepoort Colheita 1998 are to be found in the menu. If you want to have some other alcoholic beverages and spirits, you can choose
between a Cognac, 18 or 15 years old Whisky, Calvados, Vodka, Gin or Rum and more. Of course there’s beer, too, as well as Campari or Underberg. There should be something for everyone.
Service and conclusion:
From the start the service was courteous and left no wish or extra request open. All important announcements were held in three language (Finnish, English and Thai) and so understandable for everyone. I really liked the cabin and seat, they appealed tidy and neat through the color design. Even though I usually like rather small cabins, this one is not overloaded with seven rows and provides enough space. Based on the sufficient amount of toilets (cleans throughout the whole flight), there was no waiting time.
Next time you’re on a trip from Europe to Asia, you should consider the short way over Helsinki and maybe try out this airline.
flight data and price:
11. 2012 TXL – HEL – BKK
11. 2012 BKK – HEL – TXL
I booked over cubeTravel
with a special of 1.646 EUR (plus 503 EUR tax and charge) which makes a suitable and attractive offer and an alternative to the inacceptable, old business class oft he crane airline. The advantage compared to Arab providers is for me the long part of 9:25 hours HEL-BKK. At least you can sleep during that time and don’t have to wait for six hours at night in order to fly another 6 hours. Here are some pictures up in the air: