a row of grey seats with a green pillow on the side

Review: Finnair A321 Business Class (HEL-AMS)

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We arrived at Helsinki Airport after a short walk from the Hilton Helsinki Airport around 70 minutes before departure. We headed straight for Finnair’s Priority counters to drop off our bags. However, because we were traveling during the summer holidays, there were quite a lot of people in line and it took a bit of time before we were helped by an agent.

IMG_0003Finnair Helsinki Airport Priority Check-In 

The agent wasn’t the nicest, and we were soon sent on our way through priority security. We headed straight to our gate, as boarding had already started. However, we discovered that our gate area was one hot mess of people lining up in the hopes of boarding early. Eventually, Group 1 Priority boarding was called and we headed down the jetbridge.

We were welcomed by the Chief Purser standing by the door of our brand new Airbus A321.

Finnair Flight 841
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Origin: Helsinki (HEL) Dep: 08:00
Destination: Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) Arr: 09:45

Duration: 2 hr 45 min
Aircraft: Airbus A321
Seat: 3A (Business Class)

I took a picture of the first row of Business Class seats as we boarded. As is the case in Europe, “Business Class” seats are basically a row of three Economy seats with a blocked middle seat. While some airlines offer a little more legroom or a little “center console” in the way of hard product enhancements, you won’t find any of that on Finnair.

IMG_0004Finnair Airbus A321 Business Class Cabin 

This flight was operated by a plane fitted with Finnair’s new regional seats, which are Recaro BL3530 seats. These are the same seats found on SWISS and Lufthansa’s regional products, among other airlines. The seats are decked out in Finnair’s signature cabin colors (grey and light grey) and are a little boring but not aesthetically unpleasing. However, it’s worth noting that these seats are exceptionally poorly padded. It’s like they’re made out of bedrock or something…

IMG_0005Finnair Airbus A321 Business Class Seat 

I found a flimsy pillow and two comfortable wool blankets waiting in the blocked middle seat.

On the seatback, there’s a tablet holder and a clip along with a literature holder with a safety card, Finnair’s Onboard Bistro menu and their signature Blue Wings magazine for some in-flight entertainment.

IMG_0007Finnair Airbus A321 Business Class Seatback 

You’ll also find another mesh seat pocket to store some bits and pieces throughout the flight. As you can see, although the slimline seat design doesn’t exactly score the seat points for comfort, it does result in a bit more legroom than your average Economy seat.

IMG_0008Finnair Airbus A321 Business Class Legroom and Mesh Pocket 

We were parked next to another Finnair Airbus A321.

IMG_0011Finnair Airbus A321 Helsinki Airport 

Boarding started wrapping up, and the crew did a manual safety demonstration. I snapped a picture of the cabin as they were done. Business Class was full save for one seat and was filled with mostly connecting passengers.

IMG_0022Finnair Airbus A321 Business Class 

We passed by a lot of Finnair traffic as we taxied to the runway.

IMG_0031Helsinki Airport Traffic 

We passed a 737 that belonged to Jet Time, an airline that I had never heard of. As it turns out, they’re a Danish charter airline that occasionally operates some flights on behalf of Finnair.

IMG_0037Jet Time Airlines Boeing 737 Helsinki Airport

Eventually, we arrived at the runway and we started our takeoff.

IMG_0041Finnair Airbus A321 Business Class Takeoff 

We got some really nice views of Helsinki and the area surrounding Helsinki Airport during our takeoff.

IMG_0044Finnair Airbus A321 Business Class View of Helsinki 

Shortly afterward, the meal service started with the flight attendants closing the curtain between Business and Economy class. The only good thing about European-style Business Class is that it allows airlines to be flexible between the amount of Business and Economy seats it has on each flight.

IMG_0061.jpgFinnair Airbus A321 Business Class Curtain

IMG_0066.jpgFinnair Airbus A321 Business Class Cabin During Climb 

I decided to visit the lavatories, which were clean but pretty sparse. I wish they’d stock something like a simple lotion to at least try and differentiate their business class product.

IMG_0058.jpgFinnair Airbus A321 Business Class Lavatory 

I played around with the seat and got a picture of the tablet holder in action. There’s a clip to secure the top of the tablet to the seat as well. Despite the tablet holder, Finnair continues to not offer any form of in-seat power onboard their regional aircraft, which I find to be disappointing in this day and age.

IMG_0069.jpgFinnair Airbus A321 Business Class Tablet Holder 

The meal service started with the Chief Purser distributing disposable hot towels from a plastic tray. The towels were scented but very thin.

IMG_0063.jpgFinnair Airbus A321 Business Class Hot Towel 

Then, the Chief Purser came through the Business Class cabin conducting the service through a trolley. Breakfast was served on one tray and consisted of cubed fruit in a plastic container yogurt and scrambled eggs with sausage, tomato sauce, potatoes and broccoli, and a breakfast pastry (I selected a Finnish-style Karelian pastry).

IMG_0073Finnair Airbus A321 Business Class Meal 

The meal was okay. The presentation of the fruit was sloppy and the fruit wasn’t really fresh. The main breakfast dish was decent – the potatoes were a little dry, but the sausage was tasty and the eggs were a tad bit rubbery. The yogurt and the Karelian pie were excellent. Definitely not the worst breakfast that I’ve had in the sky, though not great either.

IMG_0082Finnair Airbus A321 Business Class Cabin After Meal Service

Service throughout the meal service wasn’t actively bad, but the flight attendant serving us wasn’t very friendly either.

The trays were quickly collected by the flight attendant, who also offered coffee or tea which I declined. I fell asleep after that and woke up as we were starting our descent into Amsterdam.

IMG_0085Finnair Airbus A321 Business Class

We got some really nice views of Amsterdam as we descended further.

IMG_0088Finnair Airbus A321 Business Class 

We touched down at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport on schedule.

IMG_0094Finnair Airbus A321 Business Class Landing 

We passed by some interesting traffic as we taxied to our gate, including a ton of KLM heavies. If you squint hard enough you’ll also see a Cathay Pacific 777 somewhere in the photo below.

IMG_0101Amsterdam Schiphol Airport Traffic 

IMG_0109Amsterdam Schiphol Airport Traffic 

IMG_0110Amsterdam Schiphol Airport Traffic 

We parked next to an airBaltic CS300, which some passengers from my previous flight from Bangkok to Helsinki had been rebooked on through Tallinn to get to Amsterdam.

I took one last picture of the Business Class cabin. You’ll notice that Finnair has some Business Class branding on the bulkhead in front, which adds a bit of class to what I’d say is a pretty trashy Business Class product.

IMG_0112Finnair Airbus A321 Business Class Cabin 

I took one last picture of my seat before we started deplaning.

IMG_0114Finnair Airbus A321 Business Class Seat 

I thanked the crew and headed to baggage reclaim where we were subjected to a really long wait. Eventually, our bags came out and we headed towards the Enterprise Rent-A-Car counter in order to collect our rental car, which was quite an experience…

Bottom Line: Finnair’s A321 Business Class

Call me crazy, but I think Cathay Pacific offers a better Economy product on their regional flights than Finnair does in Business Class. I can’t blame Finnair for choosing a Euro-business style seating arrangement since that is very much the industry standard. However, it’s on them for not trying to improve the padding, or fitting the seat with something as basic as power ports. The food wasn’t bad but was also not impressive by any stretch of the imagination. Overall, I was disappointed with the product, and definitely wouldn’t pay extra to fly business class on Finnair regionally.

Read more from this trip:

Have you flown Finnair regionally in business class?

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