THE FLIGHT: Flight AY840 to Helsinki left a minute early from its new home at London Heathrow’s T3. Finnair makes use of the Cathay Lounge and the gate was easy to reach.
THE CHECK-IN: The usual Wednesday afternoon bedlam at T3 is nicely avoided with Finnair’s check-in area at the far end of area G. No queues and helpful staff on hand. As a J class traveller I could use the fast-track security which actually took 15 minutes to get through. Economy looked even slower and I was glad not to be there.
THE SEAT: 1A should be about as good as it gets, but being asked to put the seat forward to allow the passenger behind to manage his food tray is not what J Class seating should really be about. Apart from lack of legroom, the seat and cabin were clean and comfortable. Finnair interiors are always easy on the eye and in perfect condition.
THE SERVICE: If you ignore the fact that the attendant making the announcements sounded like she really would rather be doing something else, service was efficient and attentive. Newspapers were distributed but no pre-take-off drink offered. Food was good with beef and potato salad followed by salmon in a cream sauce, although I do question the wisdom of including tagliatelle which is difficult to eat at the best of times! Dessert was some unidentifiable beige foam with a feint hint of coffee flavour.
THE ENTERTAINMENT: The in-flight magazine was a bit dull; overhead TVs showed CNN with subtitles then an enticing look at Santa-Land. Most passengers opted for their newspaper, laptop or sleep.
THE ARRIVAL: Remarkably arrived 15 minutes early which considering we were coming from LHR was a miracle. Helsinki arrivals is as good as anywhere. Bags arrived 15 minutes after arriving in the hall.
THE DETAILS: Return flights from £150 in February. Tel: 0870 241 441.
This flight was no different from many Finnair flights I've taken in the past – which is a very good sign. Maintaining consistency of quality is not easy in these cost-cutting times and Finnair achieves this admirably. If they could just find a bit more space in business class and time to offer something to wet the whistle before departure, then you have something close to perfection in short-haul business class.
Contributor, Onboard Hospitality Magazine