Review of Finnair flight Osaka Helsinki in Economy

Airline Finnair
Flight AY78
Class Economy
Seat 47L
Aircraft Airbus A330-300
Flight time 10:25
Take-off 26 Nov 17, 11:45
Arrival at 26 Nov 17, 15:10
AY   #44 out of 72 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 163 reviews
By GOLD 1562
Published on 11th March 2018
These two weeks of vacation went much too fast and this was already the first segment of our way back home.

CDG - HEL: AY1574 (A320)
HEL - KIX: AY077 (A330-300)
KIX - HEL: AY078 (A330-300) you are here
HEL - CDG : AY1577 (A319)

I expected it, especially since it was a Sunday : our Japanese friends drove us to the airport, saving us the hassle of a long train ride. Urban expressways are not only very expensive tollways, but the landscape is usually very disappointing, with sound breaking walls on most of the distance inside the city.
photo img_8324a
It was nicer once out of Ōsaka’s urban area.
photo img_8325a
People who never set foot in Japan often do not realize that this country is 85% unbuildable and impenetrable forests. Unbuildable because like in Taiwan, it’s all volcanic sree slopes which are inherently very unstable. Impenetrable because they all have the maximum slope of scree, which sis quite steep.
photo img_8332a
This sign seemed to imply that we were in the correct direction.
photo img_8335a
This was indeed, shortly thereafter, the branch towards KIX.
photo img_8340a
It was entirely protected by nettings from the fall of balls coming from the neighboring golf course. (Golf courses are often of the terraced culture kind in Japan, with each hole at a different level on a hill side).
photo img_8343a
Talking about tolls, here is one : our friends take one of the right lanes because like nearly all car owners in Japan, they have a contactless toll payment pass and drive through at 20 km/h.
photo img_8346a
This tower is the Star Gate Hotel Kansai Airport, located next to the end of the bridge connecting KIX to the mainland.
photo img_8352a
The terminals are in (poor) sight on the left
photo img_8354aphoto img_8357a
With some parked planes even less easy to see
photo img_8361a
One more toll gate : from Ōsaka, the total one way was around 15 EUR. Users of LYS of NCE have a cheap ride, in comparison.
photo img_8366a
I could not consider asking to leave our friends’ home earlier to have time for this observation platform served by a free shuttle bus, but if you have a chance, it is well worth going there.
photo img_8367a
Welcome to KIX
photo img_8369a
The kiss and drive in KIX is something else from that of CDG in terms of fluidity, but then, most passengers reach KIX by trains which are something else from those serving CDG.
photo img_8372a
Entering Terminal 1, the only one that many travelers patronize because the smaller Terminal 2 is dedicated to LCCs
photo img_8374aphoto img_8375a
There was a small crowd at check-in, but nothing to worry about.
photo img_8379a
This airport staff distributed "small carry-on luggage" tags.
photo img_8380a
She gave them to us as well as to this traveler who had only this small hand luggage. Unlike in CDG, I did not see any self-serve BP providing machine: I did not look much for one, but the presence of this passenger who did not need to check any luggage let me suspect that there was indeed none.
photo img_8381a
Our suitcase did not contain the presents for our friends any more, but they were nevertheless a total of eight kilos heavier after these two weeks. Japanese food is very healthy for humans, but a disaster for suitcases.
photo img_8382a
Look at the belly of the red suitcase !
photo img_8383a

We were still far from the 2x23 kg of our checked luggage allowance ; the staff only asked if they met these constraints. Spare batteries are useless in the hold when you need to document two successive flights !
photo img_8384a
Our suitcases would have little time to transit from one plane to the next one, much like their owners.
photo img_8385a
Then came the disaster (an excessive word, of course). The waiting line to reach the security check was so long that here, airport staff were managing like traffic lights lines of passengers starting in the line on the right, going back after having already waited for a while
photo img_8388a
…crossing intermittent customers of this café and this foreign exchange booth.
photo img_8395a2
The line continued there
photo img_8389a
It zigzagged here
photo img_8390a2
The security check was not alone being congested
photo img_8391a
The internet access was even more saturated.
photo img_8392a
Was it the security check, beyond this door ?
photo img_8393a
No, the line continued, like in these amusement parks where entering the building does not mean that you will enjoy the actual attraction any time soon.
photo img_8396a
We reached the preliminary BP check 28 minutes later, but it was not the security check yet. There was another 6 minutes of waiting to put the first item of hand luggage in a tray, and then another 6 minutes to go through the security check itself.
photo img_8398a
With such a stranglehold upstream, going through passport control was comparably fast, all the more that it was only a matter of checking that we had stayed fewer than 90 days, with a maximum limit legibly stated on the entry stamp and probably also recorded in the immigration’s data bases.
photo img_8401a
When I was a young and penniless (or yenless) bachelor, you had to pay cash, and cash only, a departure tax from Japan, and it could be very complicated if you had neglected to keep the required amount. This departure tax has been included in the price of the plane tickets a long time ago, but it has been replaced by a much more onerous tax, called “Duty free shopping by my wife because it’s cheaper than in Paris”. It can be paid by credit card, a good thing because I never have that much in cash with me, even in Japan.
photo img_8402a
My wife did not wear perfume immediately since the items she had bought had to be sealed to make it through the security check in HEL, unlike the FAs of our flight who too were using their credit cards in the same shop.
photo img_8403a
No plane spotting session can be as expensive as in KIX. I should recognize that my wife spent zero HKD at the duty free in HKG two months before, but had warned me that she was “saving me money because it would be much cheaper in KIX than in HKG”.

So after I had installed my wife and her shopping bag "much cheaper” than in Paris on a seat close to the boarding gate…
photo img_8438a2
… also close to Finnair’s FAs with their shopping bags, presumably "much cheaper than in Helsinki", I left for some plane spotting which was going to cost me as much as in CDG, i.e. zero euro.
photo img_8412a
Not only I did not have access to this lounge, but I had not time to enjoy, because it had taken us exactly 1h30’ to reach this point (including only 5’ at the duty free shop, because my wife knew exactly what she wanted to buy). An insider later told me that there was little to regret about this lounge, as often in Japanese airports.
photo img_8432a
Good news, the catering was being loaded in the Finnair A330-300.
photo img_8411a
Let’s start with an Eva Air A321
photo img_8405a
Lufthansa 747-400
photo img_8406a
738 United, with a “scimitar” winglet, bound for GUM
photo img_8407a
… that these impeccably ordered high school students are going to board.
photo img_8409a
777-300, which spent her 20 year career with Cathay Pacific only
photo img_8410a
There she leaves with the LH 747’s wing in the foreground
photo img_8435a
Asiana Airlines 772
photo img_8417a
ANA 737-500
photo img_8420a
ANA A320neo
photo img_8423a
ANA cargo 767-300
photo img_8424a
Eva Air A330-200
photo img_8428a
Jeju Air 737-800
photo img_8430a
Korean Air 737-900
photo img_8431a
Thai Airways 777-300ER
photo img_8441a
Back to the gate where the Finnair 333 seemed ready to leave (and so was my wife)
photo img_8436a
She had not tried to get rid of her small change because this was not going to be our last trip to Japan. (“World cash to e-money" : this is a rather limited vision of the world, because this machine only accepts USD, EUR, CNY, KRW and JPY. The idea of transforming your spare coins which are useless abroad into dematerialized coupons is interesting.
photo img_8414a
She could have recharged an electronic equipment on the condition of having a type A or B adapter.
photo img_8413a
She stopped using these facilities decades ago.
photo img_8404aphoto img_8416a
And there has been no earthquake of magnitude 5 or above.
photo img_8415a
Door shot
photo img_8443a
Fuselage shot
photo img_8445a
The newspapers offered at the end of the jetbridge. The Asahi Shimbun headlined of course on the 40th national tournament victory in Fukuoka of Hakuhō 白鵬, the leading yokozuna 横綱 (grand champion) of this decade who crushed his opponents with a 14 wins vs. 1 loss record that time. Sumō has lost part of its aura though, because this sport managed in a less than transparent manner has been rocked by scandals and attracts fewer participants as before. Hakuhō was born Мөнхбатын Даваажаргал : who could have imagines at the time of the legendary Chiyonofuji 千代の富士who dominated the sport in the 80s that his equivalent in the years 2010 would be a Mongolian ?

(Three of the four yokuzuna at the time of the 2017 Fukuoka tournament were Mongolians, but one of them, Harumafuji 日馬富士, had been forced to retire after a bad case of drunken aggression with beer bottles. A very messy business indeed.)
photo img_8444a
My favorite sport takes much more time, but it is much easier for me to fit in a plane’s seat than a sumō wrestler, even in business class.
photo img_8447a
Two nearly panoramic views of the rear Y cabin.
photo img_8449aphoto img_8451a
The seat duo behind ours
photo img_8453a
Even if you never tried your chance at sumō, the width of the seat could be a bit tight for some.
photo img_8455a
The seat pocket was packed tighter this time
photo img_8458a
… which improved the leg space a little, but a little only : there is paradoxically less leg space than in the A32x operating between CDG and HEL.
photo img_8456a
The problem with the IFE box was not its size, but the little amount of data and power in it.
photo img_8454a
It’s a touch screen, reluctantly reacting to touching it, with also a good old remote control protected from involuntary commands by a lid.
photo img_8457a
The passengers must suffer a terrible music over the PA, running on a very tight loop. It really beats me why so many airlines choose to inflict this sound pollution on their customers.
The safety card both sides.
photo img_8459a
Using a people mover is mandatory for reaching this end of the terminal.
photo img_8465a
In Japan, not only does the ground staff wave to a departing plane, but they bow too, like the personnel in any store, like the TV animators, like anybody in the streets, like my friends at the end of a phone call, like me in Japan. Saluting or thanking by bowing more or less deeply is an acquired reflex in Japan.
photo img_8468a
Taxiing began alongside some more planes, like this 777-300ER which had not needed much of her Extended Range to come here.
photo img_8469a
Air Busan A321
photo img_8471a
Tianjin Airlines A320
photo img_8474a
Arrival of an Eva Air A330-300 Eva Air equipped with a satellite antenna for internet access on board – the protrusion towards the rear of the fuselage.
photo img_8476a
Jetstar Japan A320
photo img_8477a
Garuda Indonesia A330
photo img_8478a
Arrival of an Eastar Jet738
photo img_8482a
This DHL A300-600 in the freight area was going to celebrate the 25 year of a career which began in passenger version with Japan Air System – the sealed windows are still visible.
photo img_8485a
A China Airlines747
photo img_8486a
And an ANA767
photo img_8487a
A front camera told us that we were closely following another aircraft
photo img_8490a
In the distance, the two far ends of air transport: private jets (Gulfstream 450)
photo img_8495a
Another Gulfstream 450 on the left ; the registration of the Gulfstream 280 on the right must have cost a significant percentage of the price of the aircraft.
photo img_8493a
The number 6 is one of the luckiest in Chinese numerology : Panco, a major Taiwanese cosmetics company, splurged for number B-66666 to transport its members of the board.
photo img_8492a
Not only the Japanese do not share these superstitions, but Peach, a Japanese LCC whose aircraft are parked way beyond the freight area certainly did not spend a yen extra to register this A320.
photo img_8494a
Take-off Runway 06R, which provided me an excellent view of the bridge connecting KIX to the mainland.
photo img_8496aphoto img_8498a
Kōbe 神戸 and its airport (UKB), built like KIX on an artificial island, but with one runway only.
photo img_8510aphoto img_8513a
The western half of Kōbe
photo img_8515a
The plane looped above the bay to gain altitude before flying above Ōsaka
photo clipboard01a
A miraculous break in the clouds provided me a view on Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park which is the theme of the tourist bonus of this report. Left, this is the Kinki Expressway which bypasses Ōsaka.
photo img_8519a
A Japanese FA said to each Asian passenger お絞りを申し上げます , a sentence which is so impossible to translate in a satisfactory manner that the Finnish FAs said nothing : it means something like "I offer you an oshibori", which was boiling hot when received but cooled very quickly. It was made of an unwoven fabric which kept its shape better than cotton “mops”.
photo img_8523a
Too bad to have had no view on Sado 佐渡 Island which was the focus of the bonus of this report .
photo img_8525a
Forget about the landscape in the beginning of the flight
photo img_8539a
The plane took the Siberian route anyway, much further north than on the way in, which flew mostly above sea and then tundra. Another nine hours to HEL, where we would slightly too late for lunch, but it was now time for lunch in the departing time zone.
photo img_8527a
There came the lunch as served to my wife, who asked for and received apple juice and Coca-Cola (and a board smile too).
photo img_8528a
It was apple juice and cranberry juice for me; the latter was very watery on the CDG-HEL flight, but I nevertheless tried it again and found it better this time.
photo img_8530a
This was my tray after unwrapping.
photo img_8531a
I chose fish which became shrimps (I had doubts about the level in marine biology of the FA who gave us the choice orally)
photo img_8532a
The Marathons pushed again flight reporting to selecting different hot meals (it had more to do with risk spreading, actually). Chen flying out of KIX, it was no surprise to have the choice between rice and rice… the difference was that my wife had a small piece of broccoli and four carrot balls, whereas I had four peas and a carrot slice cut in a flower shape.
photo img_8529a
Miscellaneous disposable items were Marimekko design, with the Finnair logo, except the chopsticks which I think were marked わりばし (waribashi = split chopsticks), but I have a lingering doubt.
photo img_8542a
These chopsticks were well adapted to the appetizer, anyway.
photo img_8533aphoto img_8535a
I could take one year to drink the contents of this water capsule
photo img_8534a
The advantage of catering from KIX is that Japanese is much easier to understand than Finnish, IMO. みかん (mikan), is a kind of mandarine which is very common, especially on Kyūshū Island.
photo img_8543a
Note the phonetic transcription in Japanese of "jelly”: ゼリー (« zerī »). That’s what it was, and it was good.
photo img_8544a
To the health of my readers !
Note that a previous passenger had disposed on the coat hook of the seal of his headphones’ plastic bag.
photo img_8536a
Won’t you have some Ballantyne on the rocks ?
photo img_8537a
On the rocks, because the refrigeration chain is a serious matter in Japan.
photo img_8538a
There was a pack of biscuits which contained this :
photo img_8540a
I doubt they were manufactured at this address (Shinjuku 新宿, in the heart of Tōkyō)
photo img_8541a
Gathering all this was easy
photo img_8545a
Now I only needed to put the cover on the container – a coffee had been served in the meantime -…
photo img_8546a
… and place all this cleanly in the seat pocket.
photo img_8547a
We were heading 330, but that did not tell me where we were (this page of the moving map program is quite useless, but you can’t skip it).
photo img_8549a
Quite frankly, even if I had had our location on the moving map, I would have had trouble highlighting specific features.
photo img_8550aphoto img_8552a
It was not uninhabited, but nearly so
photo img_8556a
We were still only there
photo img_8557a
… and note that the route was entirely over Russia until the arrival in Finland, whereas it went much further south above Mongolia, China and South Korea on the way in.
photo img_8558a
Siberian winter landscapes are non-figurative art.
photo img_8559aphoto img_8561a
The screen on the partition between the two Y cabins displayed the moving map at all times.
photo img_8565a
The weather became cloudy, which meant that there was even less landscape to comment.
photo img_8571a
Since the external IFE screen shut down, I could just as well move around when my wife did.
photo img_8583a
For jump seat addicts
photo img_8574a
On the other hand, rear galley addicts would be on a diet
photo img_8575a
There was fruit juice – the same which had been proposed with the meal.
photo img_8576a
And this pretzels, sweets and typically Japanese salty snacks.
photo img_8577a
Anything more was for a charge; see the right page of the BOB catalogue which is applicable to long haul flights.
photo img_8460a
The toilets were clean, with the peculiarity of having a bilingual English-Chinese signage: there was no Finnish.
photo img_8578aphoto img_8580a
Ladies, if baby care is for you only …
photo img_8579a
Beware to not forget your baby on the changing table !
photo img_8615a
The toilets in an A330 are not vast, but at 85 cm, it was incomparably wider than your seat in Economy.
photo img_8581a
Was it the reason why it was forbidden to settle there and reach Level 17 of your favorite game on your smartphone.
photo img_8582a
Back to the cabin : the slightly snowy landscape was soon to disappear
photo img_8584a
… because we kept heading north-west, at a season when the daytime is especially short at such latitudes.
photo img_8586a
The result was that the sun set, on the other side of the plane.
photo img_8585aphoto img_8587a
The lighting in the cabin was eventually switched off, but the FAs did not have the passengers lower their window shades
photo img_8591a
Yes, we had something extra during the night, i.e.; this vanilla ice cream. Small. Tiny. With a 63 mm top diameter, a 38mm depth, a slight truncated conical shape, amounted to a volume of 100 ml, and with a typical overrun of 50%, that translated into 50 grams of ice cream. Claiming that it was packaged in a スーパーカップ (sūpākappu = “super-cup”, as transcribed in Japanese phonetic katakana) did not make it a super-product.
photo img_8593a
Had you noticed the welcome presence of a 310 ml bottle of water in the seat pocket ? “Alpine spring water" : was it water from the Japan Alps ? No, read the red banner at the bottom of the label: マウントシャスタの湧水, i.e. “Mt Shasta Spring water”. You probably did not know it any more than I did, but 4,381 m high Mt Shasta and the tiny homonymous town at its foot are located close to the northern border of California, some 8,500 km from KIX as a Finnish crow flies. I know that sea freight costs next to nothing in heavy fuel oil and Filipino seamen wages, but maybe there could be better ways to save the planet than transporting water across the Pacific Ocean.
photo img_8596a
We did not seem to have made all that much progress so far.
photo img_8601a
And we only knew it intermittently. I did not know that the Great Wall extended all the way to Siberia ! :)
photo img_8603a
It was also dumb to mask here the location of the plane with a time information display.
photo img_8605a
This vintage cockpit display provided no geographic localization information, and as already mentioned in my report of the flight on the way in, these pages cycled without any possible interaction of the passenger : there was one moving map program, period, and seldom showed the location of the aircraft on the map.
photo img_8607a
The moving map was disappointing, but I knew that there would not be much to localize during this long flight above Siberia. What about the games? They were up to the moving map and the audio / video channels standards: poor.
photo img_8608aphoto img_8609a
This screen – about 8" diagonal – is admittedly a touch screen.
photo img_8567a
But its sensitivity was very poor. My wife found it exasperating to need three to four tries each time she wanted to move a card on this game. Maybe the passenger sitting on the other side of that screen found it exasperating too, but he did not complain in any way.
photo img_8610a
The moving map was not worth relying upon, the games were not worth playing, the movies were not worth watching (my wife tried one and found it too stupid to deserve watching to the end), the landscape was dark (three weeks from the winter solstice, it was polar night on the great circle route): the only remaining entertainment left was going around in the plane.
photo img_8616a
Passengers had taken whatever food was available in the galley : the stock had significantly diminished.
photo img_8613a
It was kind of dumb to realize (or remember, rather) only then that there was a power port hidden under our seat duo, after hours of using my laptop at minimum screen lighting level to make the battery last as long as possible.

Maybe because of a current surge issue, this power port wouldn’t work if I connected the charger to the laptop first, then to the plane’s socket : it worked when connecting the charger to the plane’s socket first, and my laptop voraciously recharged and managed until we had reached our final destination.
photo img_8619a
The collation was served 1h40’ before landing
photo img_8620a
A cup of ribbon noodles, a very small cup of cut fruit and an equally small Milky Way bar, with a water capsule. There was one more set of plasticware and disposable chopsticks.
photo img_8621a
スジャータ was only the name of the provider : nothing other than experience could tell that this was fake milk for use in coffee or tea.
photo img_8622a
I drank a Coke with this meal
photo img_8623a
I had at least some caffeine while waiting for coffee
photo img_8624a
My wife remarked that it was politically incorrect to compact all the rubbish this way because the FAs were apparently doing some selective sorting which was impossible when being handed this.
photo img_8626a
Coffee arrived a full half hour after the tray… and a quarter of an hour after I had packed the latter.
photo img_8628a
The plane was now heading south-west and daylight reappeared after a Siberian night which had lasted during the greater part of this day flight which was not really one, even if it was entirely inside a calendar day.
photo img_8633a
The IFE first displayed a touristic advertising for Finland (which in a way made sense, being directed at passengers whose majority would only connect in HEL, without considering Finland as a destination)
photo img_8630a
It then displayed the gates for the connecting passengers.
photo img_8632a
Daylight had reappeared before reaching Finland, but that did not mean that we could see the landscape.
photo img_8633aphoto img_8636a
Only when we were very close to the ground did it appear
photo img_8638aphoto img_8640a
An ATR72 of Nordic Regional Airlines (Finnair’s regional subsidiary).
photo img_8641a
The surroundings of HEL
photo img_8645aphoto img_8648a
Landing at 15 :09, i.e. STA-1’
photo img_8651a
Welcome to HEL, a frozen one.
The windows frosted completely during the last minutes of the descent, which negated any attempt at plane spotting while taxiing. This may have been a Finnair Embraer, but any more identification detail would be pure guesswork.
photo img_8655a
The armrest cannot be raised further that that, because of the shape of the seat backs and is a slight nuisance for reaching the aisle.
photo img_8657a
Only when the last turn was announced did I realize that the S of Gate S49 announced on the IFE screen meant something like Stopped In A Remote And Cold Location.
photo img_8659a
An aviation geek would not regret this chance for taking a picture from the tarmac of the plane he flew in, but the bus was parked too close for having a picture of the entire aircraft, and with 55’ for a non-Schengen – Schengen connection, I had other priorities.
photo img_8661aphoto img_8662a2
A big dot livery on the way
photo img_8665a
And a Christmas livery
photo img_8667a
This one was the standard one.
photo img_8668a
Anyway, we arrived in the terminal, then walked a small distance and reached THAT : a huge crowd which was a lot more orderly than this picture suggests thanks to retractable tape barriers, but there were nevertheless LOTS of people.
It was 15h33, our connecting plane to CDG was scheduled at 16h05 and the situation was not looking good at all.
photo img_8669a2
Like any serial, "to be continued in the next Flight Report"!

The reason I called "miraculous" the break in the clouds during the climb above Ōsaka was that it provided me some matter for this bonus, which as often in my FRs is slightly off the beaten track.
Bonus : Click here display

Thanks for reading me !
See more



Cabin crew10.0

Osaka - KIX


Helsinki - HEL



With a 3-3-3 seat layout, Finnair’s A350 are much less attractive to me than its A330s whose 2-4-2 layout provides aisle+window seat duos. Sure, the seat pitch is not generous and the IFE is a disaster, but to travel side by side with your spouse, without a third passenger in the way is a sizable luxury in Economy.
You don’t fly Economy for a dining experience, and Finnair’s menu does not provide an exception to that rule, but the meals meet the basic requirements (my wife was more severe than I in that matter).
Finnair’s main asset (apart from the location of HEL which allows end-to-end timings which are competitive with direct flights) is their FAs whose smiling efficiency is especially pleasant.

The delay to reach the security check in KIX was less than the length of the line implied, but it was nevertheless unacceptable. An hour and a half from entering the terminal to reaching the boarding gate: where is the Japanese efficiency?
KIX is conversely very easy to reach by train, bus or car (but out of bounds for bicycles, sigh…)
The terminal is reasonably spotter-friendly, even without time to take the shuttle bus to the excellent observation platform.

The fluidity at the security check in HEL was a disaster, which was all the worse that a short MCT is essential for this airport whose local market is limited. In these conditions, it was impossible to appreciate the quality of the services.

Information on the route Osaka (KIX) Helsinki (HEL)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 4 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Osaka (KIX) → Helsinki (HEL).


The airline with the best average rating is Finnair with 7.2/10.

The average flight time is 10 hours and 20 minutes.

  More information


Login to post a comment.