The airline with the best average rating is Finnair with 7.2/10.
The average flight time is 3 hours and 11 minutes.More information
Welcome to another trip report from my archive- flying from Helsinki to London! My second time flying in their business class product.
I've already flown the business class in the Airbus A350, but this time, I'm trying the Airbus A330!
It was early morning on May 4th 2019. Me & my friend had come off the Airbus A350 and we had roughed it overnight in the air side Terminal 2. As we had paid £173 (each) to upgrade to business, I had been raving since my A350 business experience and my friend who was on his first Finnair trip, wanted to try it as we were flying on the long haul aircraft.
As it was now May 4th, we went to the non-schengen lounge as it opened and had two hours to enjoy a free breakfast, then went land side to do some spotting at the small but high up viewing deck from the Finavia office building. It filled out about 3 hours for us before the Finnish Aviation Museum opened!
The results of my three hour spotting session speak for themselves!
(Above) We saw plenty of Finnair metal! Airbus A320/A319 and NORRA ATR-72 & Embraer E-190 on short hops across Europe and the Nordics. A single Airbus A350-900 of Finnair departed for the Far East of Asia, something I'll be doing in September 2019!
(Bellow) Some non-AY traffic included a few Norwegian Boeing 737-800, the airline operates services across Scandinavia, Finland and Europe, but hasn't yet introduced its long-haul operations here. A Qatar Airbus A350 arrived from Doha as well, a fairly new service having started flying there in October 2016- making it the only ME3 airline to fly to Helsinki, probably due to the links to OneWorld partner Finnair. A white Cargo Airbus A300-600F also arrived, would hate to be flying this in the snow- probably loose it!
We then visited the Finnish Aviation Museum, which houses an impressive collection and is worth a visit if you have an extended layover in Helsinki, it is possible to get to it at the next stop on the train link from Helsinki Airport heading to Helsinki city central. I'll include pictures and some more information in the TOURISM BONUS at the end of the article.
Either way, we went air side and paid a visit to the Finnair Schengen Lounge in Terminal 2, the non-Schengen still under renovations, plus I fancied a shower alongside a rest.
A few Finnair related decorations made my interest as an avgeek, especially the mock tail fin with the logo adorned on it!
It was a quiet period where we were, and only a few Finnair movements were noticed, we had an Airbus A320 parked next to us.
Having enjoyed a quick lunch, I went off to the showers to re-fresh after the trip we had. The food was nice and offered a selection of cold lunch items, cakes, drinks (alcohol, soft drinks and hot drinks)
Soon enough we had to leave the lounge about 15:10pm as our gate (50A) was announced, so we went to the non-Schengen area, through a bio-metric passport scanning area. We arrived and went to the remote bus gates (mostly used by NoRRA and Norwegian, but sometimes the odd LHR flight does go from here). This is probably the third time I've had a LHR flight on a bus gate for departure or arrival.
Getting on the bus, it took us past Terminal 2 and various short haul aircraft, mostly Finnair, but I couldn't help but notice a sight I'd never seen before- Widero Embraer E2-190 "Profit Hunter"!
We pulled up at a remote stand just off Terminal 2 which was occupied by one massive Airbus A330-300, the aircraft being OH-LTR, the sistership to "LTS" which I flew to JFK on in March 2018.
There is something impressive about open-boarding (or open disembarkation) to wide body aircraft, it is also quite a treat in Europe as most open boards are on regional aircraft or short haul B737/A320's, as well as the only third time it's happened to me. Really gives you a feel of the size of these jets, something lacking on a jet-bridge.
Flying in business class, the Airbus A330-300 in the Finnair fleet has two cabins with the main galley splitting the two. Rows 1-7 are separate from Rows 8 to 10. On the Finnair A330, the "Lima" seats on the right side are in a single row configuration, the middle seats are two abreast and left side is configured with single seats at Row 8 & 10 with Row 9 being a double (ideal for a honeymooning couple).
Behind Row 10 is the first Economy Class section which includes Economy Comfort and seven rows of standard economy. If you want to read further on the Economy Class of the Finnair Airbus A330, check the review (Link below).
Whilst the Airbus A330-300 seat isn't as nice, modern and exclusive as the Airbus A350-900 business class seat, it is a very comfortable area to sit in and the seat offers plenty of room to stretch out, and doesn't feel claustrophobic.
The screen for the In-Flight Entertainment is definitely an older make to the Airbus A350 screen and system. Given the A330's were delivered in 2009/2010, as a replacement for the 1990 built McDonnell-Douglas MD-11 alongside the Airbus A340-300.
The plane was quite empty, the aircraft boarded quite quickly. Economy was pretty deserted with possibly half or a just under capacity and the business class only had the window seats occupied, with the middle rows all going empty.
We pushed back and left a few minutes early, however before we boarded, it began to snow in Helsinki, something that surprised me for early May, which is the start of summer, though this is probably normal for Finland. If anyone can shed light on that- it would be appreciated!
Despite an early board and push back, the flight was late leaving Helsinki due to the conditions requiring us to de-ice, unfortunately, we had to join a que. I think we spent a good 30 minutes being de-iced, getting in the que before we took off. The plane did its best to catch up, but this is something that does occur in the Nordics.
Either way we were airborne, and I decided to try the seat's recline out, over an episode of Bones.
The meal service was done about half hour into the flight. Starting out with a snack service with pretzels and drinks, before the main course came about 20 minutes later.
I had the beef option the previous year, so I decided on giving the cod dish a go. Overall I found it very nice, but I will probably stick with the beef dish next time.
The rest of the flight went smoothly and uneventful. Enjoying some TV Show episodes on offer as well as following the in-flight map.
I visited the toilet, and found to my amusement the toilet had a window for a view! Quite glad we were 38,000ft above the ground- imagine if someone looked in!
Nice as the flight was- it was time to return to reality and arrive into London Heathrow Terminal 3. I swear some of these here European flights are not long enough! Or is 3 hours just short when flying a business class flight on the Airbus A330?
Either way I got to enjoy a Finnish vodka & cola before we landed.
We landed at London Heathrow about 20 minutes behind schedule, but we had a short taxi to Terminal 3, which is fairly central to London Heathrow.
Not wanting to miss an opportunity, I managed to secure a quick flight deck visit. I haven't done a lot of A330 flights, so it was nice to add another flight deck from another aircraft, the crew rest area was also open, for a unique photographic opportunity.
All in all another great service with Finnair, and the upgrade was very enjoyable! Only downside is AY doesn't give extra miles for the upgrade, so I only get the 1,100 Award points I would have got flying economy. Not a big deal, especially since I got a better experience regardless.
I highly recommend trying Finnair business class if you are on the LHR-HEL or vice-versa service flying the Airbus A350 or A330, the upgrade experience is much more nicer than just flying the Airbus A320-family, also get as much time in the Finnair Helsinki lounge as possible!
Located just off the airport, you can ride in a taxi for 20EUR or take the train one stop from the airport, is the Finnish Aviation Museum.
The collection contains aircraft of military and civilian types as well as some vintage Finnair training simulators. Aircraft range in age from the early 1920's through to the 1980's.
Entry to the Museum is 7 Euros per adult, though cheaper administration is available for various concessions.
Amongst the various military aircraft include a retired Finnish Air Force Saab 35 "Draken" (below) super sonic fighter and the wreckage of a Hawker Hurricane (below) recovered after it was shot down by the Russian's in the "Winter War" of 1939-1941, an often forgotten part of WW2. A Finnish Air Force ME-109 fuselage is also on display in a similar state (above).
This simulator was used by Finnair in the 1980's to train new McDonnell-Douglas DC-10 pilots and crews.
The main exhibit is the Convair CV-440 "Metropolitan" OH-LRB you can enter and sit in its cabin, giving you a feel for the glamours days of flying in the 1950's.
You can't enter the flight deck due to a plastic pannel keeping people out (standard for most museums) but you can see inside to get a feel how different this plane is to the modern Airbus A330 I flew on!
Some other small aircraft from the collection bellow:
Helsinki- Some very nice lounges from Finnair. Terminal 2 is very modern and well designed. One of my favourite airports for visiting. Has good train transport into the city and surrounding towns.
Finnair- Love the business class product. Very solid and great customer service from the crew! Well worth the £170 upgrade, especially on the wide body aircraft. Airbus A330 was great in business, looking forward to flying it again! Can't wait to try their non-Schengen Lounge once work has finished.
London Heathrow- Not much to say again.... Sorry....