Review of Finnair flight Helsinki Tenerife Island in Economy

Airline Finnair
Flight AY1691
Class Economy
Seat 1A
Aircraft Airbus A321
Flight time 06:30
Take-off 15 Feb 23, 08:20
Arrival at 15 Feb 23, 12:50
AY   #34 out of 94 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 206 reviews
Jett Tyler
By GOLD 796
Published on 1st March 2023

Europe's Longest Flight?

North America has Trans-Con flights, Australia gets Trans-Con flights… In Europe… We don't really have one strictly. So I did some research on the longest potential flights out there within the European continent. 

And I found the most likely candidate… Helsinki to Tenerife. Probably the most commonly served route from North East Europe direct to the Canary Islands, a small selection of islands just off North Africa that are part of Spain. Whilst I opted to do this with Finnair- the route can also be found served by Norwegian Air Shuttle, Sunclass Airlines and JetTime, all though the latter two likely doing it as part of a charter/package deal rather than a stand alone flight like the other two.

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With Finnair's 100th Birthday and my OneWorld status perks- flying the Helsinki to Tenerife route with Finnair was a "no brainer" for me!

Whilst the US and Australia have more appealing offerings for the cabins of their services… I was going to be spending 6.5 hours on a European configured Airbus A321-ceo(WL) which set me back……. £187 for a one-way ticket. A bit steep for value? I'll let you judge that, but this service is probably often cheaper as the people on it tend to be Finnish residents flying on package holidays, as opposed to a weird British AvGeek wanting to do something… "different".

2023 is also the year of Finnair's Centenary, so I thought it would be a good start as I wanted to fly some different AY Routes around Europe in 2023 as a result… There will be some more interesting Finnair reports from me this year.

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Finnair operate the HEL-TFS route with Airbus A321-ceo aircraft, which operate routes as short as HEL-OUL as well.

Finnair doesn't offer a Business Class service on this flight, which I found a little unusual, however I was able to secure Seat 1A for free using OneWorld status privileges. I found this a little odd as British Airways offers Club Europe on their 4 hour London-Tenerife services?

Well, how did it go? Let's dive in and find out!

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Prior to the introduction of the Finnair A321 on the HEL-Canary Islands services, the service was once dominated by a small fleet of Boeing 757-200 from 1997-2014.

Helsinki Vantaa Airport & Finnair Lounge (EU/Domestic)

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Helsinki Vantaa Airport underwent a huge refurbishment in recent years and the pandemic gave them time to carry on with lots of work during the down time as restrictions reduced passenger numbers, they introduced a new food court by arrivals, gave Finnair a whole new large and modern check in facility as well as opted to work on adding more gates and expanding airside. 

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The modern and fancy Check in hub for Finnair!

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Airside at Helsinki Airport, you could easily spend a night airside instead of using a hotel, which is great if you have an early start combined with a late arrival, which I'll be making full use of in March 2023!

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One nice little perk is this WORKSPACE cubicle, which can be hired for 15 minute windows for a proper work space.

The star attraction for me was a visit to the Schengen Area Lounge at Helsinki Airport for Finnair, one of two lounges provided by the airline. Arguably this is the lesser of the two lounges, but in my view its a solid lounge none the less.

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This place ticks a lot of boxes. It offers good views of the aircraft parked up, decent selection of food and comfortable seating with charging points. Which is ideal for a 6 hour flight on an Airbus A320-family aircraft with no in-flight charging points.

I'll be making another visit to this lounge about a month after this trip was made. This was also is my second visit here.

I also made use of the offered shower facility which I really needed between sleeping overnight in the Airport as well as before taking the "longest flight" in Europe.

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Finnair A321-ceo: AY1691

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Soon enough it was time for me to head off and catch the flight that was to take from one corner of the continent to the literal other side. Finnair had given today's flight to the Airbus A321-ceo(WL) OH-LZG. Delivered brand new to Finnair in September 2013. One of the newest narrow body aircraft in the fleet, Finnair added some newer A321 to their fleet in 2011-2014 partly to replace the aging Boeing 757-200 fleet which had been doing the Helsinki to Canary Islands service I was doing that day. It also allowed for a larger fleet simplification.

Getting on the aircraft I took my place in Seat 1A, arguably one of the best seats on the aircraft. Whilst there is a nice bit of legroom, you are restricted by the bulkhead. I was hoping my Row would be empty or at least an empty middle seat, but this didn't happen. However the extra room at this row meant I didn't have to feel too guilty about asking my seat mates to move so much as there was enough room for me to squeeze past them.

Row One did offer an interesting view of the jet-bridge being taken away from the aircraft, something economy class passengers don't have the luxury of.

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We eventually pushed back and left the Terminal relatively on time. We had a prolonged taxi over to the Runway as Helsinki Vantaa was using the far runway to allow for de-icing for the aircraft. We were done alongside the London Heathrow bound Finnair Airbus A350 that morning.

The Finnish really can put the British to shame when it comes to travel infrastructure during snowy weather…

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Once we were de-iced it was off to the runway and it didn't take long for us to be taking off and buzzing South-West towards the Canary Islands, passing over the Finnish capital city of Helsinki as we climbed to our cruising height that day.

There were some beautiful views to be had!

About an hour into the flight, the crew began to commence the service with the drinks, including free blueberry juice and water as well as any pre-ordered inflight meals, including mine. I opted to try out the "Sunny Breakfast" which Finnair offers for 15EUR (£13.50). 

Personally I quite enjoyed it. The contents were a Scrambled egg with Chorizo, hash brown and spinach in the main cooked bit with a yoghurt, mini salad, soft bread roll and a Karl Fraser chocolate bite. I opted to round it off with a Tea (included) and a blueberry juice.

Do you think its worth 15EUR? Would you enjoy this breakfast? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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The flight was quite a smooth ride for the most part. I fell asleep a few times during the flight. But I admired some of the beautiful views out of the window as we travelled across Europe.

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Finnair offers Wi-Fi on most of their Airbus fleet. On this A321-ceo there was Wi-Fi. You can pay for unlimited service the whole flight, however I made do with thirty minutes free Wi-Fi as a OneWorld Sapphire member (Finnair Gold) and made do with the free services through Finnair which included a moving map.

The map showed us crossing over Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, mainland Spain and Portugal. Sometimes the flight flies North enough to fly over the south of the UK, but no always. On this occasion we did not.

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As is the norm for airlines in Europe, Finnair offers a buy on board service and this is a photo of the menu provided in February 2023 for those interested. More substantial items can be pre-ordered via the app or website before your flight, but this is usually what you can get on European flights, though some shorter Nordic/Baltic services can be limited.

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A bit further into the flight I opted to order a quick coffee, though I managed to avoid paying for this as it was given in the Breakfast I ordered, I also added another blueberry juice- seriously this stuff is like a sweet nectar!!!

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During the last 45 minutes of the flight there were some amazing views cropping up as we closed in towards Tenerife and the Canary Islands, including Mount Teide peaking through some clouding. Passing low over the islands offered a glimpse into the amazing weather that was kissing the island that day, a great relief for the Finnish people on-board who were escaping the Zero temperatures of Finland.

We came into Tenerife South Airport and had a smooth uneventful touchdown. As we headed down the runway I looked out at the various European aircraft all here dropping off holiday makers to Tenerife from places as varied at Norway, Latvia, Ireland, UK, Germany, Belgium, France and Holland.

Since the Tenerife Disaster in 1977 at Los Rodeos Airport (now Tenerife North), pretty much all international air traffic comes into the island using the more adequate designed Tenerife South Airport, though Tenerife North often deals with domestic and inter-island hopper flights. 

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We taxied up and parked in the main Terminal area where a jet-bridge was poised to connect to us. Giving me an interesting view of the the device being attached to our aircraft.

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Once the majority of passengers left the plane, I wondered out in my own time wishing the flight attendants a nice day. I wasn't sure if they were going back to Helsinki or night stopping in Tenerife, but I am sure it would be a nice day for them regardless. I even bagged a quick shot of the plane through the jet bridge before going into the Airport departure lounge. I stayed back to see some aircraft for a little bit and explore airside at TFS before heading for arrivals, feeling a little smug as I passed fellow British travellers queuing at passport control to enter Tenerife, knowing I did all that "hard work" the previous day at a quiet Helsinki Airport.

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Cabin crew8.0

Finnair Shengen Lounge


Helsinki - HEL


Tenerife Island - TFS



Well that concludes one of the more interesting flights you can do in Europe.
Would I do this again, very unlikely to be honest, but it was nice to do this as a one off as part of a multi-city trip. I don't think £187 was too bad value given the nature of the service. As someone with OneWorld tier benefits it made booking this flight a bit nicer than someone doing it without any perks to elevate the experience.



If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 622646 by
    Chibcha SILVER 574 Comments
    I was wondering how were those long canary Island- nordics flights, and now I've had my curiosity satisfied.

    Very spartan service for such a long flight (almost the same as some transatlantic flights!)

    Thanks for sharing!
  • Comment 626051 by
    LostLuggage 69 Comments
    I was always curious about these "ultra-long" European flights during my time living in the Canaries - the Aeroflot route to Moscow was forever on my radar!

    Also interesting as I remember an AY A321 being a regular fixture at TFN going back 5-6 years ago. It struck me as strange as virtually no non-Spanish airlines flew there, let alone one from as far away as Finland.

    Great read and thanks for sharing!

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