Finnair 90 A350-900 Business Class Bangkok to Helsinki
Finnair 833 A321 Business Class Helsinki to London Heathrow
British Airways 462 767-300 Euro Traveller London Heathrow to Madrid
Hotel Preciados Madrid
Hotel Catalonia Square Barcelona
Finnair 3270 A321 Business Class Barcelona to Helsinki
Finnair 89 A350-900 Business Class Helsinki to Bangkok
Cathay Pacific 754 A340-300 Business Class Bangkok to Hong Kong
We got off our flight from Barcelona feeling refreshed at approximately 4:20pm from our remote stand at Helsinki Vantaa Airport, and arrived at the “bus terminus” for remote stand arrivals, where we ran up a set of stairs to reach the main departures hall. For your reference, here’s a picture of Helsinki Airport’s layout.
Helsinki Vantaa Airport Map
Given that Helsinki Airport is geared towards tight connections, there were clearly marked signs to the Border Control area, which was nice. Although there was a bit of a long walk, it wasn’t confusing, however, so it wasn’t all that bad.
One thing to note when connecting at around the 3:30-4:30 mark, is that the Border Control lines are going to be pretty full as a result of the high volume of departures. Now, Finavia (Helsinki Airport Management) has done quite a good job with organisation. However, still expect a bit of a wait for passport control. I mean though, it’s not as bad as Heathrow.
One thing to note is that unlike connecting at other airports, Helsinki Airport doesn’t require you to go through security again if you’re flying in from another EU country which I think is a really smart decision. Given that passengers have already been cleared into a sterile zone in a region with similar levels of security, there really is no need to re-screen each passenger (which is really just a waste of time), especially at an airport like Helsinki which relies heavily on short connections.
We made a brief stop at the Finnair lounge to use the toilets, before heading straight to our gate.
Finnair Business Class Lounge Helsinki
After arriving at the gate, which was really just a remote stand bus terminus, we were greeted with a completely full holding pen with passengers waiting to get on a bus. We were one of the last people to squeeze into the area. Eventually, a long line built up full of passengers that weren’t able to get into the holding area, as there was a severe delay in the arrival of the busses. So. Storytime!
Let me preface this by saying that I’m not exactly defending Finnair, ‘cos the boarding process was pretty horrible, but I’m merely pointing out how big of an a$$hole this dude was being to front line staff.
The story starts at remote stand gate 37A, where our flight was boarding. At the time of boarding, Helsinki was raining, so the decision to board 300 passengers on a remote stand already didn’t really seem like such a great idea. The suggestion that this wasn’t a great idea was further hammered home by the really crappy holding pen area, which had space for very little people, meaning that most customers were still standing in a line that reached the escalator area. Just for your reference, they were on the opposite sides of a room the size of a Hong Kong McDonalds. I, unfortunately, do not have a photo of the room.
The gate crew were understandably quite stressed, as they literally had to board 300 customers with very little facilities. (Sidenote: One of the gate agents was rather attractive. :D) However, Mr. A$$hole decided to push to the front of the line to scream at the gate agents about how there was poor organisation, spitting everywhere (I swear, this dude is like a really angry Alpaca). He kept on complaining and being borderline verbally abusive. By this time, I was giving him the worst b*tchface possible.
Eventually, he asked for a supervisor. Eventually, a man in a fancier suit came and tried to diffuse the situation, only to be screamed at by the man. By the time their conversation had started, I was already sitting on the bus looking forward to the prospect of 9 hours of pure bliss. I was listening to 5 Seconds of Summer, life was great. Sure, the bus was pretty cramped, but it wasn’t actively uncomfortable.
Then, my bliss was interrupted by Mr. 1A storming onto the bus with his luggage. He was the last person to make it on the bus.
During the entire ride, he spent centuries talking about how bad Finnair was, how valuable of a customer he was, how he was going to switch over his business to Qatar Airways and how he was in seat 1A. Sweetheart, I’m in seat 10L. Who gives a f*&^ about your whiny nonsense?
Eventually, we made it to the aircraft. Now, I don’t know what Finnair was doing, but they dropped us off at a distance away from the aircraft, meaning that we had to walk all the way from the bus to the aircraft. In the pouring rain. Puh-lease! I can walk, but at least try to park the bus slightly closer to the airstairs so customers won’t have to stay in the rain for such a long time.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 During Boarding
So yay! This is going extraordinarily well. The really irritating thing is that the front stairs weren’t actually covered, so we had to walk in the rain. And guess what? His Royal Highness Mr. 1A was right in front of us. After stomping up the stairs, he spent a good 5 minutes complaining about the boarding process aboard the flight and being ruder than ever before.
There was a backlog of passengers on the uncovered stairs.So, the whole world was just standing there listening to Mr. 1A talk about how valuable he is, growl at the Chief Purser and act like a total maniac.
By this point, I was so fed up by him. As y’all know, I’m a professional sasser, so I spent the second half of his speech making the most exaggerated facial expressions and pretty much just making fun of Mr. 1A as he complained right behind him, moving my hands in mock exasperation. To be fair, I was scared that I would lose a limb, but thankfully by some sort of miracle, my limbs stayed attached. Yay for me!
Why. Just why. Moving on…
Finnair Flight 89
Friday, July 15, 2016
Origin: Helsinki (HEL) Gate: 37A Dep: 17:35 (18:05)
Destination: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) Gate: G5 Arr: 07:15+1 (07:15+1)
Duration: 9 h 40 min (9 h 10 min)
Aircraft: Airbus A350-900
Seat: 10L (Business Class)
We were then welcomed by the Chief Purser and the front cabin flight attendant, and made our way into the aircraft. Unfortunately, the lighting wasn’t the best and I was walking when taking cabin pictures, so they were of a pretty low quality. The mood lighting was in full swing at this time too. As I’ve mentioned before, the cabin just oozes cool.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Cabin
I arrived at my seat, and was delighted to see the friendly Bangkok based flight attendant that had been serving my outbound. She was extremely friendly and was one of the shining stars of the previous flight. As I boarded, there was that nice little “ah ha!” moment. She was phenomenal and made small talk to us about how our travels had gone, and welcomed us back aboard Finnair. Yay!
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Seat During Boarding
I was offered a pre-departure beverage. I picked blueberry juice. However, it’s worth noting that hot towels weren’t distributed as usual. I can’t help but feel that a pre-departure hot towel run might make the service seem more refined, but hey, I can’t really complain.
I specifically chose seat 10L because of the lengthened ottoman. As the seat was slightly larger, there was a larger footwell and consequently a bigger ottoman. As I’m not the tallest person in the world, it didn’t really make that big of a difference. However, if you’re a slightly taller person, you might want to consider this seat as I’d imagine that there would be a significant difference in bed comfort.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Bulkhead Seat Ottoman
However, I will note that the storage area underneath the ottoman appeared to be significantly smaller than the one on other seats, so this might not be the seat to pick if you have a lot of stuff.
I’ve already reviewed the seat in-depth, but I’ll just note that it’s a version of the reverse herringbone seat that’s slightly inferior to the seat that’s found on the likes of Cathay Pacific and American Airlines. The seat wasn’t padded well enough, lacked a legrest and was slightly lacking in storage. However, it was still quite private despite not having a small “widget” in the aisle side of the seat shell, as it was angled away from much of the cabin. At the end of the day, the product was a solid fully flat seat that was spacious and offered direct aisle access, and a decent sized entertainment screen, all of which are key areas to a Business Class seat.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Seat Side Panel
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Storage Area
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Magazine Storage
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Television
We had a short ground delay that was unfortunately not as well communicated as our previous ground delay on our flight from Barcelona. However, the crew came around the cabin collecting cups, making small talk and generally making the time pass quickly. Not that I really minded a delay in Finnair Business Class. 🙂
View of Finnair Airbus A350-900 from another Finnair Airbus A350-900
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Cabin During Delay
I was a little cold, so I asked for a blanket. The phenomenal Thai flight attendant immediately came around with another comfortable Marimekko blanket, which was crisp and warm. There was also a comfortable pillow waiting at each seat which was large and well padded.
One thing that I found to be a nice touch was that the flight attendants will actually drape the blanket over customers, rather than simply handing the customer a blanket. I don’t know if it’s a company policy thing or a specific thing that this crew was doing, but I thought that it really showed that the crew really wanted to make customers feel at home. Thumbs up!
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Blanket
I also took the time during the ground delay to fill out breakfast card, which offered a choice between a Cold Continental or an American breakfast. I thought that this was quite an efficient system, given that it was a short flight and some business travellers would likely be asleep during the meal service.
They also offered some “on request” items which I found were confusing. Are they mid-flight snacks? Are they served with breakfast? Finnair should really explain these items on the breakfast card.
The crew also came around the cabin taking everyone’s meal orders.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Breakfast Cards
Eventually, the inflight entertainment was switched on. The system was identical to the one on the outbound.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Inflight Entertainment
I switched on the moving map, which I thought was really cool. There were a variety of views that you could choose from, which were all really cool and a step up from the average, boring moving maps that you’d get on older aircraft.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class IFE Moving Map
The Finnair A350 also offers a tail camera. Although this is the first tail camera that I’ve ever seen, based on what I know, it’s the best in the industry. The picture wasn’t crystal clear, but it certainly looked better than some of the other cameras that I’ve seen on aircraft, like the A380.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Tail Camera
Eventually, we started our pushback around 30 minutes after the flight was scheduled to depart.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Helsinki-Vantaa Airport
The safety video was also played at this time, which was boring as ever. (Note: I am not condoning not paying attention to the video. It’s important information peeps.)
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Safety Video
At this point, we were on a taxiway and headed to our runway.
Helsinki Airport Taxiway
Finnair Airbus A330-300 Helsinki Airport
At this time, the cabin crew came through the cabin to perform a series of comprehensive safety checks. Seriously. They were really thorough with their checks throughout the cabin. There were around 2 cabin crew passing through each aisle performing the cabin checks over and over again. I thought it was cute that one of the flight attendants gave me a double thumbs up and a really sweet smile after seeing that my seat was perfect. Aww 🙂
TUI Boeing 737-800 Helsinki AIrport
Our taxi was mercifully short, especially after the ground delay. Before we knew it, we had turned onto the runway and started
ploughing powering into the air.
Artsy Fartsy Runway View Helsinki Airport
View of Finnair Airbus A330-300 During Takeoff Helsinki Airport
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Tail Camera During Takeoff Helsinki Airport
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Take Off Helsinki Airport
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Climb Helsinki Airport
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class View of Clouds!
Finally! Some sun!
The (still) annoying after takeoff video was played. I’ve ranted about this in the past, but seriously. This. Video. Is. So. Annoying.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Post Takeoff Video
There were also some more advertisements for Finnair, including a gorgeous one about the A350 which featured a nice little video of the aircraft cruising.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Advertisements
I also found it amusing that they didn’t bother updating their oneworld video. I mean, if you’re going to plug an airline alliance, at least be up to date with airline logos. LAN doesn’t exist anymore, and has been replaced by LATAM, Cathay Pacific’s updated their logo a couple of years ago while American Airlines has rebranded and taken in US Airways. Oh well.
oneworld, be one.
At this time the lighting was switched back to normal as the flight attendants prepared for dinner service.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Cabin
I was delighted that they had Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone on offer, especially having visited the Harry Potter set while in the UK.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Television
Scented hot towels were distributed at this time by the flight attendant. However, I found that it was a little cheap that they were distributing the towels from a plastic container, rather than a tray like Cathay Pacific does.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Hot Towels
I took this time to take a look at the amenities distributed aboard the flight. As is customary with every Finnair flight, waiting at each customer’s seat was a binder (this time in green) with a menu, drinks list and a duty-free pre-order form, as well as an amenity kit and slippers which I thought were a really, really thoughtful touch. When inflight, people often take off their shoes and get comfy, so it’s nice to have something to walk around the cabin in aside from anti-slip socks.
There was also an amenity kit with eye shades, earplugs, a dental kit and Clarins amenities which I didn’t use at all, but seemed quite useful… I think… However, they didn’t have socks, which I thought was an oversight on Finnair’s part.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Amenity Kit
As you’ve seen in the image above, the flight attendant also came around distributing tablecloths, which were designed by Marimekko. I know it’s a small detail, but I thought it was thoughtful that the crew actually took the time to straighten and adjust the tablecloth so that it fit perfectly on the table. Little touches like these really speak to the awesomeness of the crew.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Tablecloth
Eventually, the cabin crew came through the cabin with the meal trays with the starters. Finnair offered a choice of a Potato Soup with Nuts and Brown Butter, or a dish of Smoked Turkey with Mushroom Salad. I picked the latter, which was served alongside a “Garden Salad”, a selection from the bread basket and a drink of choice (blueberry juice, duh.)
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Starter, Salad
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Blueberry Juice!
The smoked turkey starter was quite tasty. Although the turkey was a little dry and didn’t really taste as good as the duck served on the outbound, the mushroom salad was phenomenal and more than made up for the mediocre meat. The salad was pretty boring and safe, but still tasty, while the bread was… Well… Bread. The butter it was served with was a little “cheap” though. At least add some fancy packaging or put it in a glass container!
At this time, the cabin crew took away the mains, straightened the tablecloth again and ducked back into the galley to take the main courses out for passengers to eat.
Eventually, my meal came. I had pre-ordered the “Seared Reindeer with Ale-Cranberry Sauce and Potatoes au Gratin and Grilled Vegetables” dish, which was marketed as a “Chef’s Gourmet” special dish. After hearing good things about the dish, I was excited to taste it. The flight attendant also took the time to straighten the salt and pepper container (which was quite cheap, but hey, better than nothing, right Cathay?), refill my blueberry juice AND hand out a new cutlery set, which I feel makes sense for Finnair’s service flow (where the tray is removed after the first meal service).
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Main Meal
The dish was very tasty. The reindeer was extremely tender, the vegetables were tasty and highly flavourful, the ale-cranberry sauce added a really strong “kick” to the dish and the potatoes au gratin were creamy and flavourful. Once again, a job well done by Finnair catering for delivering another phenomenal main dish.
The meal was served during sunset, which was quite an interesting experience.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 View of Sunset
The dishes were collected by the crew, who came around offering cheese plates on demand, as well as assorted cupcakes and some phenomenal Finnish JYMY Ice Cream (if only I could buy them in bulk…), as well as coffee, tea and hot chocolate.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class JYMY Ice Cream
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Hot Chocolate!
By this time, the sun was close to completely setting, which made for some even nicer views.
By this time, the cabin crew had already cleared away everything. The service took around 2-3 hours. However, I will note that there was some chop which meant that the flight attendants had to stop working midway through.
I also took this time to visit the lavatory, which was nicely decorated, with a pretty cool touchless faucet that worked better than half of the faucets in Times Square. There were also some cool amenities, as well as disposable towels. I’ve mentioned this before, but the flush button is hidden behind approximately 19238912735 mountains of stuff, so it’s quite hard to find it. Maybe adding a sign would clear things up?
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Lavatory Faucet, Sink and Countertop
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Flush Button (of Agony)
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Toiletries
The mood lighting was switched on at this point, as the cabin settled in for the flight.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Mood Lighting
Eventually, the cabin lights were turned (sort of) all the way down to allow passengers to sleep.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Lights
I used the inflight WiFi aboard this flight, as it was complimentary. However, it kept disappointing which was really annoying (given that I’d have to get a brand new code over and over again). I really hope that Finnair fixes this situation up, because it’s pretty disappointing.
On the plus side, when I walked into the galley and (sheepishly) asked for a WiFi code, the flight attendants in the galley immediately went straight to the Chief Purser for a brand new code. I also chatted with the flight attendants for a bit.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Cabin
Now, let’s talk about the inflight service because it was seriously phenomenal. There were two flight attendants working the rear cabin, an incredibly friendly Thai language speaker, as well as another Helsinki based flight attendant. Both flight attendants were really incredible, and so awesome that I’m running out of adjectives for them. They took such pride in their jobs and really went the extra mile to making passengers feel comfortable. Whether it was draping a blanket over a customer, or making small talk with passengers, or chatting with the small kids aboard the flight. They were so, so, so enthusiastic, friendly, professional, helpful, attentive and personable. They really made the customer feel welcome, at home and at ease, and most importantly, they were really nice people. So, yeah. I was really impressed.
Over the course of my life, I’ve had many amazing flight attendants (duh, I fly Cathay Pacific virtually exclusively). However, these two Finnair flight attendants were beat the best service that I’ve ever received by miles.
It was awesome.
I was a little peckish, so I ordered some cup noodles. Unlike the noodles aboard my flight from Bangkok to Helsinki, these were Nissin Yakisoba noodles, rather than Shin Rayumen noodles (I know, little details…). The noodles were awesome in terms of taste, and were a perfect mix of salty and spicy. I can’t seem to find them in Hong Kong, but if anyone knows where to get them I’d thank you for the rest of my life. However, I found the presentation to be a wee bit sloppy.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Cup Noodles
Later in the flight, I also grabbed a Coke and a cupcake from the trolley that was set up with a plethora of snacks.
Snack Time! (I don’t know why I’m using a spoon to eat a cupcake. Oh well…)
I fell asleep shortly afterward. The seat itself wasn’t padded that well. As a result, the bed itself wasn’t all that comfortable. There was a gap between the seat cushion and the seat back which extended the bed by a little bit, but was almost awkward and quite uncomfortable to sleep over. Given that the seat doesn’t have a leg rest, but rather an unpadded ottoman, your legs and feet are likely going to be resting on a slightly harder surface. The bed itself also felt a little more restrictive than Cathay’s version, most likely a result of the lack of a leg rest. Finnair also keeps their cabins pretty warm, so I was a little sweaty when I woke up.
The A350’s cabin pressure also meant that I didn’t wake up with dried out skin all around my lips. The engines were also much quieter, meaning that I was able to fall asleep easier.
After sleeping for around an hour (I spent the rest of the time working on my Macbook and writing reviews), I woke up and played a little bit more with the airshow. Before I knew it, breakfast was served.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Airshow
Breakfast was served on a single tray by the flight attendants, who would personally hand deliver the meal. Unfortunately, Finnair seems to have cut a “sweet breakfast” option and currently only offer an American breakfast, or a cold continental option. I picked the American breakfast, which consisted of scrambled eggs, poultry sausage, potato wedges and bell pepper vegetables. The breakfast was served with fresh fruit, yogurt, coffee or tea and a croissant.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Breakfast
While I’ve never eaten broccoli with breakfast, the dish itself was nice enough. Although the potatoes were a little dry, the sausage tasted fantastic (as always ;)), the scrambled eggs were perfect and fluffy and the bell pepper sauce was a nice accompaniment to the breakfast. However, I was a little disappointed by the fruits which didn’t really taste fresh.
There was a choice of coffee or tea. I was a little disappointed that cold juices/smoothies weren’t also offered as part of the breakfast. I happen to be someone who particularly likes a refreshing start to the day and would have really appreciated something cold to be served with breakfast.
The breakfast was served at around 90 minutes prior to landing, which was well into sunrise. Although I was a little miffed that I missed the sunrise, the views out of the window in clear skies were also pretty.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Wing
Before I knew it, we started our descent into Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. The seatbelt sign was switched on, Bose headphones, blankets and pre-order duty-free purchase forms were collected by the cabin crew. Meanwhile, another group of flight attendants from Economy meticulously inspected each passenger’s seat to make sure that it was perfect, with the flight attendant who gave me a thumbs up prior to departure doing the same and giving me an extra-sweet smile. Aww 🙂
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Seatbelt Sign
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Tail Camera
Finnair Airbus A350-900 View During Descent
Arrival mood lighting was turned on, which comprised of some light blue tones above the overhead bins as well as some orangey tones up the sidewalls.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class
Gorgeous Cloud Formations Bangkok Airport
Almost There Bangkok AIrport
Finnair Airbus A350-900 View During Descent Bangkok Airport
Bangkok Spaghetti Roads
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Final Approach Bangkok Airport
With a small thud, we landed in Bangkok, marking the end of four fantastic Finnair flights.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Landing Bangkok Airport
The windows fogged up upon landing, which was a bummer.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Foggy Windows
At this time, the Chief Purser welcomed us all to Bangkok, and wished us a pleasant stay.
Etihad Airways 777-300ER Bangkok Airport
Air France Boeing 777-300ER Bangkok Airport
After a short wait, the doors were opened and we were let out of the aircraft.
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Seat After Landing
Finnair Airbus A350-900 Business Class Cabin During Deplaning
We bid the phenomenal (yes, I’m still singing their praises at the top of my lungs) cabin crew farewell, and made our way off into Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport to transit for our onward connection to Hong Kong.
Finnair’s A350 Business Class is a fantastic experience. Despite having some flaws that impacted customer comfort, the seat is fully flat, spacious, comfortable and offers direct aisle access. The food is generally tasty and well thought out. Last but not least, the service is amazing. Over all of my flights aboard Finnair, I was made welcome by a group of extremely friendly flight attendants who were incredibly attentive and personable. The people of Finnair really made the experience one to cherish forever.
Finnair has won my heart. (And my parents’ wallet.)