AY1332 – London Heathrow Terminal 3 to Helsinki Airport
Do it for level points
AY1332 London Heathrow Terminal 3 to Helsinki Vantaa Airport
Finnair, 1A, business class
80 Tier Points earned, 2,260 Avios earned
I guess it’s not something you do every day of the week – board a jumbo jet from the stairs.
I love my big Rolls Royce engines. And in pairs.
It will be sunny tonight, it will be sunny tomorrow.
I should be thankful it wasn’t raining that day – it was more like one of the hottest days of the year.
I was welcomed on board and turned left to seat 1A.
The cabin itself is still the first generation Finnair A350 product, based on Safran (Zodiac) Cirrus seats.
There’s nothing wrong with this reverse herringbone seat – I find it quite comfortable (although it can be a bit rocking on some days). Again it is finished in Nordic Grays which makes it very cool.
Combined with Nordic blues when boarding, it gives off a refreshing effect.
I settled into the seat, my passport going to the side tray and everything else going to the top tray.
Seat console controls
Should have changed the seat to 2A really for more window coverage – for some angles you find yourself twisting around different angles to get a shot.
No matter. 1A is always the first seat on the plane (behind the front ones).
The next door neighbors
Upon boarding the aircraft, the captain apologized for the delay, reiterating that there had been delays in the arrival of the pit guides and stairs. I could also see that as the load progressed rapidly, there was no way to leave on time.
Finally, boarding was over. It was a matter of waiting for cargo and baggage to leave.
Gotta love both the rear cam and the wheel cam.
Loaded, our A350 took off 1h20 late.
All different tails
Luckily, given its location, we took a quick taxi to the main trail. During this time, the crew carried out their safety briefing.
That done, the plane taxied onto the runway and lined up to depart.
British Airways Airbus A320
Air Canada Boeing 737 MAX 8, heading for St Johns.
With a roar, the A350’s Trent engines fired up to begin the flight to Helsinki.
American Airlines Boeing 777
A line of British Airways tails
The plane being in the air, the cabin crew came to do a hot towel service. They then disappeared behind the curtains to prepare for the service.
I took the time to connect and reconnect with the world. Finnair uses the Pansonic Avionics connectivity service, with custom branding on it.
Speed of service was more than passable, as shown by speed tests. Online usage was fair – although posting images and media wasn’t a pleasant experience.
As for media streaming, that’s a no-no on the Nordic Sky platform.
Eventually, the cabin crew came out to do their lunch service. They also combined drink service due to the length of the flight – with a 2 hour 20 minute flight quoted by the captain.
The fact that most flights on this segment have taken place under this raises an eyebrow or two.
Lunch today was beef lasagna. If you feel any sense of deja vu, this is the same main meal I had last time. However, the side salad had been replaced with a cold sliced beef salad.
The best of Karl Fazer.
I think caterers need to have a beef bundle from the looks of it.
A cookie was served for dessert. I also took gin and tonic because this rye gin is the knee of the bee.
Once the service was over, I tried to close my eyes a little, because the few hours of sleep caught up with me.
All too soon, however, the cabin was prepared for landing, the plane being 20 minutes from Helsinki.
I returned the seat to the landing position, packed my things, and settled in as the plane headed for its home base.
With ease, the Airbus A350 landed at its home base at Helsinki Airport.
Conditions seemed much nicer than they had been when I was in Helsinki last time, with sunshine everywhere.
While I suspect a few people were making matches here, no announcement was made for the matches.
The aircraft taxied to gate 48, where the engines were shut down.
With the engines off, both jet decks attached, I grabbed my things. The jetbridge on 2L attached first, allowing people to get off, then the one on 1L joined as well. I was asked by the crew to get out of the plane that way.
I thanked the crew and left for Helsinki.
Globally: A little disappointing to see the crew compress service, drop welcome drink service and squeeze service in the name of “it’s a short flight” when this segment was a constant 2 hour 20 minute step .
The quality of the food on board was good, as well as the drinks when offered. The lack of connection announcements was also a bit of a concern – given that Helsinki can also handle tight transfers.
While the hardware is more than passable, it wasn’t Finnair’s best foot forward on this flight.
Next: Trains, boats and trams – in Helsinki and beyond
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