In recent times, I had three Business Class flights with Finnair’s long distance flagship, the Airbus A 350. In August, I had the morning service from Helsinki-Vantaa to London-Heathrow, which is always serviced by that aircraft, while we had Friday daytime flights from the Finnish capital to Dubai for our holiday season vacation in December 2019 / January 2020. Typically, this route is flown by A321 airplanes. The review is based on all three flights’ experience.
Finnair Airbus A350 Business Class – On The Ground
Business Class passengers have full priority services on the ground at Helsinki-Vantaa airport. The priority check-in desks are a bit hidden in Terminal 1, but quite well signposted and lead to a separate fast-track security lane. For non-Schengen gates, there is a separate Finnair Lounge including the Platinum Wing I already reviewed on Flyctory.com. The boarding to our Dubai flight was quite interesting, because they did pre-boarding at the gate, which lead you to a waiting area – priority and standard passengers thereby had different waiting areas – which also means that the different levels of boarding groups are merged into two groups.
The gates at Dubai Airport opened three hours before the flight in Terminal 1 at the very end of the terminal building. Quite a lot of passengers were already significantly before that time in the area (I would assume about 100 easily). As the local ground handling did not organize the queues before the check in desks were opened, splitting up the check in passengers between Economy and Priority passengers was rather chaotic. While Vantaa also has a separate line for oneworld Emerald member, there was none at Dubai Airport. Dubai also generally does not feature a priority security. The lounge for Finnair guests was the Merhaba Lounge, which was unfortunately that crowded that we had to wait for a seat and that I could not do pictures or a proper review.
Finnair Airbus A350 Business Class – The Cabin
The Finnair Airbus A350 Business Class seating is a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration, i.e. there is one window seat at each side and two seats in the middle. The middle seats face each other, but still offer a lot of privacy. Even though I have been sitting next to my wife in the middle seats, we could not see each other. On the way back to Helsinki we were sitting one after another in the window seats, which face towards the window. Of course, the seat is lie-flat, i.e. you sleep in a horizontal position.
The seat equipment is quite nice. The monitor is quite large. There is a USB port and a universal power plug next to the seat, including the plug for the noise cancelling headphones and a reading light. The positioning of this panel is very nicely selected and makes it easy to use the appliances. The box for the feet is a bit narrow, but still sufficient for a good sleep. Underneath, it offers quite some space for carry-on luggage – of course, in a lying position the access to it is blocked. For smaller items, there is a small box next to the seat.
The in-flight entertainment monitor was quite good. The selection of movies and other entertainment was absolutely in the business’ average, not too outstanding. Nicely, the planes feature two cameras, so that the monitor can also show you current views to the front and down. Very nicely, the monitor also shows you when meal times and other events (like duty free) are olanned.
Finnair Airbus A350 Business Class – Food and Service
On the flight from Helsinki to London, Finnair is serving a breakfast. The flight to Dubai started with a warm breakfast with cold cuts, fruit, muesli and bread, which was very nice. The pre-arrival snack was a grain bread sandwich, which felt a bit lousy (but, of course, the flight is comparably short). On the return flight, you could choose between three main dishes, which have been served together with a starter (duck and pumpkin in five ways, though I did not count that much variety…) and a cake for desert. I loved my Butter Paneer (Indian cheese) with dal (lentil). Sarah had the salmon lasagna, which looked very delicious.
Apart from the warm dishes, there were some snacks. Especially on the return, the crew was very attentive and served drinks whenever you needed one. The service was precise and friendly. However, the warm dishes were served on a plate from the trolley directly. Another really nice feature regarding the service on board of Finnair is that they offer one hour of complimentary WiFi in Business Class. If you are a high status Finnair Frequent Flyer, you enjoy free WiFi during the whole flight. Unfortunately, Finnair does not block Voice over IP – at least some other passengers were having loud phone calls in the cabin, which has been kind of strenous. On both Dubai flights, an amenity kit was given to the passengers – on the route to Dubai, it just had limited contents, though.
Finnair Airbus A350 Business Class – My View
Finnair is delivering a pretty good Business Class product. The cabin layout is very nice, offers sufficient comfort for a good sleep and a lot of privacy. Food was nice, the pre-landing sandwich is a bit of odd, though. The free WiFi is a plus on the service side, while the cabin service itself could be a bit more proactive – it was better on the return flight definitely. Especially for Eastbound flights to Asia from Europe, taking the Northern route via Helsinki is definitely worth consideration.
Finnair Airbus A350 Business Class – Some Pictures
Here are some pictures taken during the three flights:
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