Finnair business class always evokes a strong memory for me. Back in 2007, I decided to fly Singapore to Helsinki via Bangkok to get on board the McDonnall Douglas MD-11. That sticks in my mind, because I managed to break my seat on the first sector!
I decided it was high time I got back on board the oneworld alliance airline and used some of my British Airways Avios to book the flight. Since I had no baggage, I passed straight through Fast-Track security at Dublin Airport and after some exploring, I ended up relaxing in the lounge.
Close to boarding time, I headed to the 300 gates to be ready for the call. There were a lot of people about, as an Aer Lingus flight to Berlin was getting ready to go as well. Various people were standing in the two unmarked queues, so I moved up to the front as I was in Group 1.
Eventually boarding commenced and the staff were quite strict about allowing only the first group through. Some were turned away and I went straight through and managed to be first on board.
AY1386 – Dublin to Helsinki (DUB-HEL)
1 August 2023
Airbus A321 – OH-LZK
Seat: Business Class 1A
Departure: 18:00 Arrival: 23:00
The flight attendants were caught unawares by my arrival, so one quickly headed towards the back of the plane, while the lead crew member did a PA to let them know boarding had commenced. I quickly stowed my messenger bag and took stock of my surroundings.
Finnair Business Class Cabin
Like most European airlines, Finnair offer the middle seat free on short haul services for business class passengers. As I was first on board, I was able to get some cabin pictures, which for one of them involved the crew member hiding for me!
I particularly liked how blankets were only on the seats that were taken, so I knew immediately the C seat was free. The seats are slimline seats, which you can feel as soon as you sit down as they’re not soft. That being said, they looked nice and elegant what with the restrained colour scheme.
Buzz Off, Water, Safety
During boarding, a buzzer started to go off, so they had to interrupt boarding and closed and reopen the door. It probably had something to do with the aerobridge, I’d say. Once boarding was complete, the crew came around to distribute water bottles to business class passengers, which I thought was a nice touch. I also liked the English announcements, “Good evening dear passengers!” which made me smile.
As usual, the crew proceeded to do the safety demonstration and we headed to the runway. Half way there, we seemed to stop for a while, then the pilot came on to announce we were not going to taxi to Helsinki, but that the airport had changed the runway so everyone had to go to the other one.
Invaders From Economy Class!
After the unusually long taxi, we headed off into the summer sky. Not very long after the seatbelt sign went off, three people barreled down the aisle heading for the toilet at the front of the plane. The burly (and probably tipsy!) Northern Ireland lads were in dire need of the facilities, it seems.
The lead flight attendant stood in their way and wasn’t having any of it, telling them there were two toilets in the back. Apparently those were already in use, so the passengers protested in an amusing way. When advised the toilet at the front was for business, one replied, “I tell you what, I’m full of business right now”. Anyway, they were sent packing and then the curtains were drawn between the cabins.
Hot Towels, Drinks and Free Wi-Fi
Soon after, hot towels were distributed, which was a nice touch. I’m not used to getting these on European flights, but it certainly adds something to the experience. Next drinks orders were taken and when I asked for Champagne I was told sorry, they only had Sparkling Wine. That I knew, but it was nice for that to be pointed out, rather than just bringing the substitute. I ordered that and a Northern Blush, which is the airline’s signature cocktail.
Meanwhile, I had connected to the Wi-Fi and found that I was able to get 30 minutes free. This turned out to be pretty decent. Response times were pretty snappy when using the Internet for social media, so that passed the time for a bit. I decided not to pay for any extra though, as paying for Wi-Fi doesn’t agree with me.
Dinner Is Served
Finnair business class passengers only have a single choice of meal, ostensibly to cut down on food waste. Today it was sweet pea and mint with feta cheese and sunflower seeds as a starter, with the main course being chicken with mashed potato, carrots and brussels sprouts. Dessert was a little cake, plus the friendly crew offered bread from the basket. I was told I could have both types, so I did.
Faultless is the word I would use to describe the meal. Not only was it all bursting with taste, it was interestingly flavourful and I really enjoyed it. There’s something I like about dining at a leisurely pace high up in the sky. Anyway, I had another Northern Blush with the meal as it was also really nice. For what it’s worth, I wasn’t going to have any more of that sparkling wine as it wasn’t great at all.
A Few More Drinks
After the meal was done, I was asked if I wanted tea or coffee. I asked if they had green tea and they did so that is what I ended up getting. I also asked for a blueberry juice as I remembered around then that this was another signature thing on Finnair.
I finished my tea and flipped through the inflight magazine. Other airlines have ditched the magazine so I was pleasantly surprised to see this one still going strong. Later on I had a Kyrö malt rye whiskey, which was nice.
All Good Things…
Before landing I visited the facilities and had a Michel Lynch white wine to round out the experience. Happily the toilet was pristine after the whole flight, but really it was only the six business passengers and the crew using it.
We landed in Helsinki on time and then it was a bit of walk to get out of the terminal, but nothing too outrageous. It’s a really nice airport so it was fine to be walking through.
Well, what an experience! Some people say, “Why pay for business class on a short flight?” – I think you can see why you would. Not only are there fewer people in the cabin, you get served nice food, are given decent service and generally can have whatever you want.
Each drink was presented in the signature Finnair business class glasses, which are by Finnish brand Iittala. They have been doing the airline’s glasses since the 1960s and the design is lovely. I recently bought some of that brand’s cutlery, which is rather nice too.
Everything on this flight was flawless. Fast Wi-Fi, very friendly and obliging cabin crew for whom nothing was any trouble, decent food and lovely drinks. The Northern Blush, a mixture of gin, lingonberry and orange peel, is only 5.5% alcohol which is why I was able to have a few of them without any ill effects. I’d highly recommend getting this on your next flight with the airline.
What do you think of Finnair business class? Have you flown with them before? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Anna Zvereva on Flickr via Wikimedia Commons.