The airline with the best average rating is KLM with 7.4/10.
The average flight time is 2 hours and 21 minutes.More information
Greetings everyone, and a very warm welcome to this new flight report! This is the second-to-last installment of my current series, covering a recent trip to The Netherlands, by way of Zurich and Innsbruck. I'm especially happy to share this report with you all, as it's the very first review of Finnair's new longhaul cabins here on Flight-Report.com! The fact that I was able to fly aboard their new Premium Economy was an added bonus to what was already shaping up to be an awesome flight. In addition to being a shorthaul flight operated by a widebody aircraft, this flight would be my first A330 flight since 2018, as well as my very first flight with Finnair!
Let's get into it: join me as I make my way back to Austria, via Finland!
I'm revealing the routing of this trip as it progresses, though I'm sure that with this report the last route will be fairly easy to guess 😉 Be sure to check out the previous reports if you've missed them!
There were a couple of options to get from Amsterdam to Vienna: via Dublin with Ryanair for €130, nonstop with KLM for €155, or via Helsinki with Finnair for €160. Austrian's nonstop priced around €220. Once I saw that Finnair's AMS-HEL segment would be operated by an A330, I knew that that was the right decision. Also, what kind of true AvGeek would fly nonstop when there's an option to fly through a new airport completely out of the way?? Additionally, I would earn some AAdvantage miles from this journey. A widebody, a new airline, a new airport, and some AA miles? An absolute win. Little did I know, I would also end up being among the first group of passengers to try out Finnair's new Premium Economy product - for no extra charge.
While my flight wasn't departing until noon, I got up at 4:40 to drop my friends off at Rotterdam Airport for their flight back to Innsbruck. After watching their Transavia 737-800 take off into the beautiful Dutch sunrise, I headed to Rotterdam Centraal for breakfast at Starbucks.
I caught the 9:11 AM Intercity Direct train to Schiphol and had a whole baggage rack for my suitcase.
As I was on the train, I checked the Finnair app to see if any seats in the Premium Economy cabin had opened up - huge props to Finnair for allowing passengers to change seats after having checked in. Premium Economy wasn't being sold as a separate cabin on my flight. When I checked in on the app 2 days earlier, the entire Premium Economy cabin was blocked. I had checked the app on virtually an hourly basis since that point hoping that a seat would open up. When it was still blocked/full on the morning of departure, I figured that I'd have to suck it up at seat 33A. Just for fun, as I sat on the train to Schiphol, I checked the app again, and lo and behold: seat 21L, a bulkhead window seat of the starboard side of the Premium Economy cabin had open up. I was over the moon and immediately switched seats. What a great start to my Finnair journey!
After a brief and comfortable 25-minute journey, I arrived at my favorite airport in Europe, and found myself at Schiphol Plaza.
Schiphol was packed as ever, and fearing a very long security line I decided against visiting the KLM Fokker 100 at the spotter's terrace.
I headed upstairs, and the line for security was indeed massive.
Massive as it was, the line moved fairly quickly, and around 30 minutes later I was airside.
With no lounge access, I decided to head straight to the gate and wait for my flight there.
In the distance, the Austrian A320 that I could have flown on for €60 more was taxiing to the runway for its departure to Vienna.
My flight would be departing from gate D60.
As I arrived at the gate, I caught my first glimpse of the gorgeous bird that would fly me northeast to Helsinki. Doing the honors would be OH-LTP, a 2009-built Airbus A330-302 that had been delivered new to Finnair in June of that year.
I caught up on the news while waiting for the flight after being relatively offline for the past week, and soon enough it was time to board.
Moments from boarding my first Finnair flight, I was super excited! 😁
Two flight attendants stood by the entry door enthusiastically greeting everyone. After being handed a "Clean Kit", I was pointed to the second aisle and right.
First impressions of the Premium Economy cabin…
…and my seat, 21L
To begin the seat tour, there were universal power outlets between the seats. These were also equipped with USB-A ports, though I don't recall seeing USB-C ports anywhere.
On the right side of the center console was a remote for the inflight entertainment system. The screens are also touchscreens, though at the bulkhead it's a bit of a stretch to reach it. I have 3 minor critiques about the new cabins, one of which is the placement of the remote: it feels just a bit too low and slightly far to reach when sitting up straight.
Each seat was also equipped with a comfy movable headrest…
…and a reading light attached to it.
My second critique of the seat is perhaps the most bizarre: these unmarked buttons are actually what control the recline and legrest. There was no marking of this anywhere, so I just guessed that they were the seat controls. What's more, I kept confusing which button controlled recline and which controlled the footrest throughout the flight, which was annoying.
I chatted a bit with one of the flight attendants during boarding, and she also agreed that it was confusing.
The center armrests were large and padded…
…and in them, you'd find the large faux-wood tray table.
The legroom in row 21 was phenomenal, as expected.
In the seatback pocket, there was nothing but the safety instructions card and an airsickness bag.
Modern Airbus PSU. Props to Finnair for installing individual air nozzles at every seat!
As I mentioned above, I chatted with a lovely flight attendant during boarding (who ended up working my area). She explained the features of the seat and was clearly proud of the new cabins. I told her that I routed all the way through Helsinki just to fly on an A330 and a new airline, and didn't even expect to be able to seated in the Premium Economy cabin. Then she promised to do her best to make my introduction to Finnair a great experience. It's the little things like that that make a flight even more special, and she was certainly a great ambassador for Finnair!
As the boarding process continued, I took a look at the inflight entertainment system.
It started by playing a welcome video featuring the new cabins.
The system hadn't quite rebooted, and was still showing information from the inbound flight.
There was a fantastic of movies and TV shows to choose from…
…though as any true AvGeek would, I checked out the airshow first. This was my first time seeing Panasonic's Arc system, which was wonderfully detailed as well as intuitive.
I also checked out the nosecam and kept that on until after takeoff. Unfortunately there was no way to make the camera footage full screen, which I found to be a bit annoying.
As boarding wrapped up, I opened my Clean Kit to see what was inside.
It included two types of sanitizing wipes - the best hygiene amenities I had seen since Covid after the kit that Turkish Airlines offered me back in April 2021.
Stellar wing view from my seat. At the gate next to us, a KLM A330-300 was preparing for its flight to Washington-Dulles. Just behind us, a gorgeous United 767-300 was pushing back before operating Flight UA21 to Houston.
Once "boarding completed" was announced, I took a haphazard peek into the new Business Class cabin. It looked pretty cool from afar, though I'm not sure I'm crazy about the idea of a non-reclining business class seat. I'll have to sample it out myself one day!
On another note: I liked the navy blue walls Finnair installed in the galley.
As we pushed back from our gate, the safety video screened, and the crew handed out earbuds.
Beginning our long taxi to Runway 36L: the Polderbaan.
Passing KLM Cityhopper's Embraer farm.
Crossing over the A5 highway.
KLM as far as the eye can see!
Taxiing over a cute little canal as we neared the runway.
At 12:15 PM, our two mighty CF6 engines growled to life, and we began our takeoff roll.
Had it not been so hazy, I imagine we would have had a pretty nice view of Amsterdam in the distance.
Cabin after departure. I guess that Finnair must have unblocked the cabin shortly before departure, as apart from me and the man in the A seat, row 21 remained completely empty.
Making a right turn after departure. Tot ziens, Nederland! See you soon!
Shortly after the seatbelt sign was extinguished, the crew began with the service. There was no printed buy-on-board menu, and instead there were only a few options I found listed in the entertainment system, none of which were hot. For what it's worth, Finnair's website like to this menu online, and I was looking forward to ordering Pasta Carbonara onboard, though that wasn't an option.
Instead, I bought a very tasty Finnish chocolate bar for €2.50.
To drink, Finnair offers water and blueberry juice for free. It pays to have friends from all over the world, as a certain Finnish friend of mine told me that I absolutely must try the blueberry juice on Finnair, as it's a Finnish classic. I was skeptical at first, but when the aforementioned flight attendant relayed the same message, I figured I better give it a try.
The blueberry juice was wonderful, and it has inspired me to travel to Finland someday to find out what other culinary secrets the country has! 👀😋
While snacking, I watched the Hong Kong episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, which made me miss Asia immensely. Hopefully I'll be able to visit again soon!
At that point, we were over the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.
Looking down to what I believe is a part of the Jutland peninsula. I've never been to Scandinavia before, so it was awesome to see so many new places from above!
After my episode of Parts Unknown ended, I took a stroll through the cabin. The economy cabin was quite full, but also looked like it would offer a comfy ride.
Back at my nest, here's a picture of the seat in the full recline position. That's my third and final critique of the product: it doesn't recline all that much, which is a bit of a shame.
I slept for the last hour of the flight and woke up as the captain provided an announcement regarding our arrival. We were already descending.
My very first sighting of Finnish soil! I hope to be back to explore more than just Helsinki Airport sometime soon!
Watching the nosecam during our final descent.
Over the airport…
…and a smooth touchdown on Runway 4R at 3:21 PM, 6 minutes late, after a flight time of 2 hours and 6 minutes.
Passing some smaller Finnair aircraft: the Embraer in the foreground had just arrived from Oslo, while the ATR was being prepped for its next flight to Kuopio.
Pulling into our gate.
One last look at my home of the past 2.5ish hours.
After bidding farewell to the lovely crew, I headed into the terminal to begin my transit in Helsinki. Stay tuned for the final installment to read about that!
I was very pleasantly surprised by my first flight with Finnair. Their new cabins are wonderful and overall they seem like a great airline! And for an economy class ticket in Europe, there's definitely no better value for money than what I experienced.
+ Free seat selection in the Premium Economy cabin
+ Great new cabins
+ Fantastic, personable crew
+ Lots of entertainment options
- Relatively poor buy-on-board options
Despite the limited food options and the minor issues I had with the seat, I enjoyed everything about this flight. I look forward to a lot more flying with Finnair in the future!