Everybody should go to HEL. As Mr. Mackie says in South Park, “You go to HEL and you die!”. Well, nobody died, but I did go to HEL, specifically to experience the Finnair Platinum Wing.
This lounge is exclusive, so much so that only oneworld Emerald level frequent flyers have access. A business class ticket won’t get you in – you need to be at the top level in your programme to gain entrance. So, what’s it like?
Who Gets In?
If you’re flying within the Schengen Area of Europe, you’re out of luck, as this is only for non-Schengen flights. That means international itineraries, mostly. The UK is not in the EU and Ireland is not in the Schengen area, so flights to London and Dublin are eligible, otherwise it’s passengers on intercontinental flights only.
I had flown in from Dublin, enjoying the quite frankly excellent Finnair service on board. After an overnight in the Hilton Helsinki Airport, it was time to visit the lounge.
Finnair Platinum Wing
Once you are permitted entrance to these hallowed halls, you are met with a bar, plenty of seating and a sit down dining area. It’s a very pleasantly designed space, with many seating options to cater for whatever your whim may be.
I found it all extremely comfortable and easy on the eye. In fact, if one were to point to destination lounges around the world, this would be one of them. It’s definitely worth a visit on its own merit, which is testament to the design here.
Airline lounges love a buffet, and this one was nicer than the one in the Business Class lounge next door. An array of tapas small bites are available, as well as some hearty food if you are so inclined.
All in all, the self-service spread would be up there with any world class lounge. It looked good, and usually when food looks good it is good, and in this case I was not disappointed.
From a dining perspective, the main event is the table service. I skipped most of the buffet selections, deciding to try just the tapas as a starter before I ordered off the cook to order menu. The server was decently attentive, recommending wine to go with my order.
My first experience with Reindeer was in Sweden many years ago and I loved it. Naturally I wanted to try it again, so I had a Reindeer burger, which was succulent, well cooked and rather delicious. This was faultless in every way and I would strongly recommend having it. A delicious meal all round!
Toilets and Macaroons
I will be the first to say that I would not usually have Macaroons in daily life. That’s why having so many available makes for an elevated experience here. For someone with a sweet tooth, these were very welcome indeed.
Naturally I visited the facilities and I liked the clean and modern design. While toilets can be an afterthought, a crappy toilet can really ruin the whole vibe and thankfully all was well here.
Would You Like A Sauna?
The real selling point for me was the sauna. For the uninitiated, Finland pretty much invented the sauna, so it’s wonderful to see one here. I wrote an entire article about the sauna, which you can find here.
Those wanting to use the Finnair Platinum Wing sauna should budget an hour for this. Quick shower before, head in for 20-25 minutes of heat, a 10-15 minute cool off with some of the complimentary soft drinks, another shower, and getting changed. Happily there are electronic lockers for your belongings. I was the only person using it at the time, which added to the feeling of exclusivity.
Post sauna, I relaxed in the blue room, with another drink. One feels completely refreshed after a sweat, shower and so on, which makes a person feel ready to take on the world afterwards.
After a drink it was time to leave to get my Airbus A350 flight to London. Before I left, I checked out the Finnair 100 display of cabin crew uniforms from the past and other historical bits and pieces. Finnair is one of the few airlines around with this much heritage and it was a delight to see it on display here. As I love this kind of stuff, I was very happy to see it.
The Finnair Platinum Wing is truly a world class experience. I daresay it’s a destination lounge, one that a person should go out of their way to experience. If you are oneworld Emerald with a connection in Helsinki to places further afield, or those like me heading to London or Dublin, make sure you select flights with enough time to truly enjoy everything on offer.
Service from the staff is polished, personalised and friendly and the food is excellent. When you add the decor and serene environment, it really is a treat for the senses. You would be silly to visit and not do the sauna, as there are only two sauna’s in airline lounges in the world that I know of and you’re best doing this in the country that invented the concept. All in all, I was thoroughly impressed and would recommend it any day of the week and twice on Sunday!
Have you visited the Finnair Platinum Wing in Helsinki? What do you think of it? Did you have a sauna? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.