Review of Finnair flight London Helsinki in Business

Airline Finnair
Flight AY1337
Class Business
Seat 9A
Aircraft Airbus A350-900
Flight time 03:00
Take-off 24 Jul 23, 18:00
Arrival at 24 Jul 23, 23:00
AY   #31 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 757
Published on 27th August 2023

Goodbye to Gold- Going out in Style!


After an amazing twelve months flying with Finnair Gold (OneWorld Sapphire), it was time for the party to come to an end and return to OneWorld Ruby (Finnair Silver). At the time I made it to OneWorld Sapphire on Finnair, you needed to fly 46 Flights (23 return flights) or earn 80,000 tier point miles.


Finnair Plus Gold offers free seat selection on all bookings, a decent allowance of extra baggage, bonus 15% award & tier point miles earnings on flights with Finnair, NorRA, British Airways, American Airlines & Iberia as well as FOUR one-way free upgrade vouchers to use on European flights, though you can combine all four on a one-way Long-Haul flight.


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With my status running out, I opted to fly from London to Riga via Helsinki to enjoy a OneWorld Lounge Hop at Terminal 3!


This gave me the chance to fly Finnair's Airbus A350-900 in business class (cashing in a free upgrade voucher).


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Whilst writing this report up, Finnair announced that they'll be converting to a "Revenue based" Frequent Flyer system as well as adopting Avios as their Award miles currency. I am interested to see how these changes affect Finnair and whether I would eventually consider migrating to British Airways Executive Club?


I am just speculating on this now, but given Finnair is part of OneWorld, now adopting Avios inline with IAG & Qatar Airways as well as being in the Trans-Atlantic joint venture with IAG and American Airlines- could we see International Airlines Group (IAG) consolidate Finnair into their ranks in the coming years? It would make a lot of sense at this point, but time will eventually tell.


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Heathrow T3- OW Lounge Hoppin'


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My afternoon kicks off at Hatton Cross Station. Now if you got some spare time and travelling light, you can avoid the £5 Drop Off at LHR by coming to Hatton Cross TFL Station, and getting the train for FREE from that station over to the Terminals, you need to buzz in and out using a contactless payment method (Payment Card or Oyster Card), hope that helps some of you LHR travellers who might find this helpful.


The Piccadilly Line runs from Cockfosters through to London Heathrow Terminal 5, but the trains alternate as to whether they stop at Terminals 1-3 or Terminal 4 before going onto Terminal 5 where they terminate. If you're coming from further up the line before Acton Town, the Piccadilly Line also branches off to Uxbridge.


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After being dropped off for London Heathrow Terminals 1, 2 & 3 (Despite T1 being closed since 2015), it was a short underground walk over to the entrance for Terminal 3, which takes about 5-10 minutes usually.


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After getting through security, with a short wait at the Priority Security area, it was off to the Lounges, kicking off in Alphabetical order, it was the turn of AMERICAN AIRLINES Admirals Club. I opted to spend about 60-90 minutes in each lounge, so I could evenly experience both.


First impressions was that this lounge was quite formal and grey, which isn't surprising since US Airlines mainly rely on business travellers and corporate types running between the major US cities and London's financial district. I found the little "Sweet Shop" or "Candy Store" set up near the back of the lounge a nice touch for younger visitors, or anyone who fancied taking a few small sweets for "hittin' the road".



There were some good views overlooking Terminal 3 at London Heathrow, most appropriate was that we overlooked some American Airlines Boeing 777s in-between LHR flights to the USA. 


I opted to "Build my Burger" using what was on offer. Quite nice burgers if I do say so myself, but by no means gourmet or fancy. Some onions, cheese and ketchup made for a nice offering alongside a Jack Daniel's Whiskey with some Coca-Cola… You can't get more American than that in the stereotype department can you!



Positive first impression, having not been able to visit the US during my time as OneWorld Sapphire, it was a nice sample of what to expect stateside, should I ever head over there and be flying an American Airlines flight international in business class.


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Up next a taste of my upcoming Tour of Australia- the QANTAS Lounge! Apparently you can pay to visit this lounge for £55 from when it opens if you are flying on either of the daily Qantas flights out of London Heathrow (QF10: LHR-PER-MEL or QF2: LHR-SIN-SYD). 


First up was to the famous gin bar that the Qantas Lounge is well known for, I opted for a Gin & Tonic with an Australian gin on offer. After that I made my way upstairs to the dining area, which was open. It was quite quiet as QF10 had left an hour earlier and the QF2 flight wasn't going out until late in the evening, I think most the people here were savvy BA flyers with status/Club Europe tickets enjoying this better lounge offering over the actual BA Lounge in T3.



I grabbed some food to try, going with a chicken dish and some rice alongside a novelty of salted popcorn. The lounge was quite warm and welcoming, a bit less grey and formal compare to the AA Admirals Club from earlier. 



I opted to try the shower out in this lounge as it was dead, and I was quite impressed and happy with it. It was clean, modern and made me feel refreshed afterwards, I had a rather nice cocktail from the upstairs bar whilst watching some planes before leaving the lounge. Though ironically I was overlooking a pair of BA Airbus A320s and not the parked QF A380, which would have been appropriate.



Next was the home airline- British Airways and their T3 Galleries Lounge. A BA First Lounge is also provided, however I couldn't access that.


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Obviously it goes without saying the BA Lounge at T3 is smaller than their T5 lounges, but it offered the necessities and the services you'd expect to see exclusively to a British Airways Galleries Lounge at London Heathrow.


BA did offer some long-haul flights from Terminal 3 with their Boeing 747s before the pandemic, but since then their Terminal 3 operation seems to be solely on European routes including: Oslo, Luxembourg, Gibraltar, Budapest and Billund- just to name a few as of 2023.



I opted to try out the new BREWDOG Speedbird OG IPA, it was very nice. I didn't want much in this lounge, and I figured I'd spend the least amount of time in this lounge. There were brilliant views out of the window as you can see in the images from my visit, including on the previous set of pictures of the two parked BA Airbus A320s.



A short and sweet visit was all I needed for this one, it was a little busy, probably as there was some BA European flights all due to go out around this time. But I left after about 70 minutes in the lounge, and it was off to finish with the last lounge of my crawl!


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It's the fan-favourite, the Cathay Lounge!


First thing in order was to order something from the famous Noodle bar, I opted for a spicy Vietnam dish, and I wasn't disappointed, the Cathay Pacific smoothie was also something I opted to try and it was lovely and refreshing!



The Cathay Lounge wasn't too busy, so going on the "Why Not" path of though, I enquired for another Airport Lounge shower, and they kindly gave me a facility which I was able to enjoy the shower rooms of the Cathay Lounge, I really enjoyed this one!


I had 45 minutes until my flight was due to be given a gate, so I opted one last trip of the Noodle bar, a can of Sprite and a rather nice chocolate mouse dessert on offer.



My flight arrived and got its gate, so it was time to head over and take my flight to Helsinki, I had previously looked in the BA Lounge to see what plane would be coming for me- and to my surprise it was the special livery Airbus A350-900 OH-LWL, which featured the Marimekko livery, a replacement for the former Airbus A340-300 that wore a more colourful version of the livery.


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Business Class the Nordic Way- Finnair AY1337 (LHR-HEL)


Today's Airbus A350-900 was OH-LWL, as I mentioned earlier it wears the Marimekko livery and was delivered in September 2017, making it just six years old at the time, it has worn the Marimekko livery since its entry to service, I hope personally it continues to wear a variation of this livery for years to come!


I hadn't flown this particular Airbus A350-900 before, so I was glad to get a new airframe, I've flown quite a few A350s in the AY fleet, so I am very surprised I've not had many repeats on my travels.



I headed to the furthest gates from the Lounges at Terminal 3, my flight was one of many long-haul flights going out of Terminal 3 that evening. I managed to get an "Okay" level shot of my plane, but it wasn't in a great area for that sort of venture.


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I boarded among Group 1 as a Business Class traveller, getting a lovely photo of the fuselage, wing & engine from the jet bridge. Pretty nice despite the lacklustre weather in London that day.


I was pleased to see that I would be flying in the older Business Class cabin introduced on the Airbus A350s when they were introduced in 2015, they are being phased out on both the A350s and A330s for a new pioneering cabin, but as this is the cabin I've had a number of fond A350 flights on- I'm glad to potentially getting a "Final Fling" with this cabin before its gone for good!


I was in the second to last row of Business Class, seated in Seat 7A, I do love the Northern Lights themed mood lighting.



Seat 7A offered a solid view of the engine and wing, as well as plenty of space to see some scenery. The tailcam was working, so I got a chance to enjoy the take off from my window and from the screen once the safety demonstration was completed.


It was pretty impressive to see the jet-bridge being removed from the plane once boarding was completed.



We taxied over to Runway 09R, we took off over Hounslow making turns to put us on course for Finland over Ealing, Camden and Enfield. We headed for our cruising altitude of 43,000ft, leaving the UK we took a flight path north of Chelmsford, Essex and left the UK Shores for the North Sea just south of Norwich and Great Yarmouth.



We passed through the heavy clouds over the UK and I swapped to the inflight map to follow our path for a while, the setting summer evening provided a great backdrop for the flight. We would fly alongside the Netherlands and Northern Germany before overflying Denmark and Sweden.


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Another nice touch for Finnair is you get an hour of free streaming if you are flying Business Class or a OneWorld Sapphire flyer. You can pay for the whole flight, its something I don't personally bother with, I can live a few hours without paying for Wi-Fi.


The first drink round came and I opted for the lovely blueberry juice (a Finnair classic) and their lush cognac. A loo visit was needed, so I went and took the time to also grab a quick photo for this report. I also got a quick look around the empty galley as the crew were preoccupied elsewhere. 



A dinner service was offered to all business class flyers, there was a chicken option for anyone who didn't pre-order a specialty meal, the side was this side salad, I tried it out and it wasn't too bad. A warm bread roll was offered from a bread basket and a chocolate cookie was provided as a desert. I saved that for the hot drink follow up!


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The evening sunset out of the window was just a thing of natural beauty. I opted for a tea to enjoy with my cookie from the dinner. I also acquired another cognac whilst I watched the 1999 biopic film "MAN ON THE MOON" starring Jim Carrey about the famed 1980s US comedian Andy Kaufman. I didn't get to finish the film, but the first 45 minutes provided me a good impression!



We began our decent eventually and soon enough we were flying low over Southern Finland as we began our arrival into Helsinki Vantaa.


There were some nice views of Helsinki as we came in as well as going back to the tailcam for the final approach and landing. It was really amazing seeing the arrival from two different views, as I had done some two-three hours before leaving LHR.



We came off the runway and began to taxi to Terminal 2 and the non-Schengen area.


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We pulled up and everyone started to get off the plane.


I didn't rush off as everyone else was keen to do, I also got to see the jet bridge at Helsinki Vantaa connect to our plane, but I had something I wanted to try and do!



Grabbing some last photos of the Business Class cabin, should I not fly this cabin again, I was permitted to visit the flight deck. I had a quick chat with the pilots on the flight and they were happy for me to get a quick shot of the flight deck, something I always find very fascinating on these modern airliners with all the computers, compare to the classic analogue dials in older generation planes.



I left the Airbus A350 and said goodbye to the cabin crew on the way out, and that wrapped up this particular OneWorld Sapphire farewell party. Will I ever go for OneWorld Sapphire again? Possibly- but that remains to be seen with all the changes going on in the aviation world. I would personally love to have another year of it, but given I use my own funds for flights, I can't say or promise.


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Thank you for reading, and I'll be providing more Flight Reports, coming soon!


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Verdict

Finnair

9.3/10
Cabin10.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Meal/catering9.0

Qantas Lounge - 3

8.3/10
Comfort9.0
Meal/catering7.5
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Services9.0

London - LHR

9.3/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness10.0

Helsinki - HEL

9.3/10
Efficiency9.0
Access10.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

Finnair Business Class- Amazing product, especially when you can bag an Airbus A350/A330 on the European routes they offer (mainly London & Amsterdam in 2023). Crew are often very friendly and provide great customer service and even though its being replaced- I still love this old business cabin on the Airbus A350s!

OneWorld Lounges- All four of the lounges are good in their own way with their own unique gimmicks and quirks. I really enjoyed my "Lounge Hopping" experience, and I am very impressed by the Qantas & Cathay Pacific lounges specifically- I can only imagine what the lounges in their hubs are like!

Information on the route London (LHR) Helsinki (HEL)

Les contributeurs de Flight-Report ont posté 11 avis concernant 1 compagnies sur la ligne London (LHR) → Helsinki (HEL).


Useful

La compagnie qui obtient la meilleure moyenne est Finnair avec 7.3/10.

La durée moyenne des vols est de 2 heures et 37 minutes.

  More information

1 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 635544 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6731 Comments
    LHR T3 is fantastic for oneworld lounge-hopping, as you've shown. I'm so bored with T5 lounges (#FirstWorldProblems), but I never have any flights out of T3 anymore. AA Admirals Club is probably the least interesting of the T3 OW lounges, though, it's a fair amount better than Admirals Clubs within the US, so just be aware if you ever fly AA domestically. The AA Flagship Lounges are great, but only in a few cities--regular Admirals clubs are generally meh.

    It's always great to snag a long-haul J cabin on a short-haul flight and AY's "old" Business class still remains a very competitive product to this day. I was surprised when they announced their new Business class cabins last year considering that their current long-haul Business cabin was only a few years old. I hope to get a chance to try out the new seat, though,

    Thanks for sharing!
    • Comment 635552 by
      Jett Tyler GOLD AUTHOR 361 Comments
      With pleasure Kevin, glad you enjoyed the report! Maybe I'll enjoy a flight with an AA lounge in the future over in the States, not sure if it'll ever happen though. I have done this one however, so I am grateful for that. I do enjoy AY Business class, I can't wait to experience that long-haul though!

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