Review: Finnair Business Class A350 New York To Helsinki

Introduction
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Finnair operates out of Terminal 8 at JFK, which is the terminal primarily occupied by American. I’m starting the trip report here since my flights from Los Angeles to Dallas to New York were uneventful, and I also barely had time to use the lounge.

Finnair business class passengers use the Admirals Club at JFK, which isn’t all that great as far as international business class lounges go. Oneworld Emerald members can use the Flagship Lounge, which I’ve reviewed before. It’s located inside the Admirals Club, and is definitely a step up, though probably more comparable to the better business class lounges globally, rather than competitive with the better first class lounges.

The flight to Helsinki boarded from gate 16 at 5:15PM, starting with business class.

Finnair 6
New York (JFK) – Helsinki (HEL)
Wednesday, January 20
Depart: 5:45PM
Arrive: 8:50AM (+1 day)
Duration: 8hr5min
Aircraft: Airbus A350
Seat: 3A (Business Class)

I boarded through the mid-cabin door, and upon presenting my boarding pass was directed left by the chief purser.

Finnair’s A350 business class cabin is quite large, with a total of 46 seats. They’re all in a reverse herringbone configuration, which is my favorite kind of business class hard product.

There are 32 business class seats in the forward business class cabin, spread across eight rows in a 1-2-1 configuration.

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Finnair A350 business class cabin

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Finnair A350 business class cabin

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Finnair A350 business class cabin

On top of that there’s a mini-cabin located behind the door through which I entered. It has four rows, with a total of 14 seats (one of the rows only has two seats in the center section and no seats by the windows, due to the lavatories in front of them).

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Finnair A350 business class mini-cabin

I quickly found my seat, 3A, which was the window seat on the left in the third row.

I absolutely love Finnair’s cabin design and finishes. I know some may say that it screams IKEA, but when the airline is based in Northern Europe, I think that’s perfect. And I also loved all the splashes of color in the cabin, from the lime green pillow to the blue amenity kit and “folder.”

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Finnair business class seat

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Finnair business class seat A350

This seat is very similar to the reverse herringbone configuration found on other airlines, like American, Cathay Pacific, etc. The seats all face towards the window, and the TV screen “swings out” when you want to watch TV.

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Finnair business class seat A350

There’s one important point I want to make about seat comfort, but I’ll save that for a bit later.

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Finnair business class seat, legroom and personal television

To the left of the seat were the entertainmant and seat controls, headphone jack, USB plug, and 110v plug.

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Finnair business class seat controls, entertainment controls, and power outlet

To the side of that was a reading light.

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Finnair business class reading light

And then next to that was a place where you could hang headphones.

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Finnair business class headphone storage

Speaking of headphones, Finnair offers Bose headphones in business class. Other than American, they’re the only airline I know of which offers Bose headphones in business class.

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Finnair business class Bose headphones

To the left of the seat by the side of the footrest was a pouch for magazines, as well as a water bottle holder. There were a pair of slippers waiting in the magazine pouch.

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Finnair business class slippers, magazine storage, and water bottle holder

Then on the right side of the seat was a pretty deep storage compartment, as well as the aisle-side armrest, which needs to be stowed for takeoff.

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Finnair business class seat storage

The tray table swung out of the left side of the seat, and could be extended by being folded “over.”

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Finnair business class tray table

As soon as I settled in, one of the business class flight attendants offered me a pre-departure beverage. I had the choice between champagne, water, and juice. I chose the champagne, which was Nicolas Feuillatte. I absolutely adore the glassware Finnair uses in business class, though.

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Finnair business class pre-departure champagne

Also waiting at my seat upon boarding was the colorful amenity kit.

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Finnair business class slippers and amenity kit

The amenity kit was sparingly stocked, with eyeshades, earplugs, and then Clarins hydrating cream and lip balm.

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Finnair business class amenity kit contents

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Finnair business class amenity kit contents

There was a note in the amenity kit noting all the other amenities they had available on demand, including a shaving kit, mouthwash, socks, a hairbrush, makeup remover, etc. I actually think this is a pretty smart system. Eyeshades and earplugs are the most important amenities on a longhaul flight, and all the other amenities are available on demand, so they don’t waste as much.

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Finnair business class additional amenities available

Also waiting at my seat was a dotted-folder, which had a menu, wine list, breakfast card, and duty free card.

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Finnair business class menu and wine list

While I’ll talk more about the menu later, I loved the concept of the breakfast card. Basically you could write down whether you wanted to be woken up for breakfast, and what exactly you wanted. That saves both passengers and the crew aggravation, and is something I wish we’d see from more airlines.

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Finnair business class breakfast card

The crew was quite busy during boarding, as the cabin was mostly full. There were about five or six empty seats in business class, but otherwise every seat was taken.

The business class crew consisted exclusively of middle-aged blonde women. Their command of the English language wasn’t great, but they were all extremely friendly and kind. I also thought it was a classy touch that they wore black gloves during boarding.

As boarding continued, a flight attendant came around with Finnair-branded shoe bags, offering to store passengers’ shoes in the overhead bin. That’s the first time I recall seeing that on any airline.

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Finnair business class shoe bag

Once settled into my seat I decided to take a look at the entertainment system. Content aside (which was good but not amazing), the actual interface was my favorite of any airline ever:

  • It was the most responsive system I’ve ever used, as there was virtually no lag after selecting options
  • There were no ads before starting shows or movies
  • The entertainment system had an awesome flight overview, which showed a timeline of the flight, including when meals would be served, etc.
  • The airshow was possibly my favorite airshow system ever, as it was easy to use and showed so many cool angles

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Finnair business class service schedule

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Finnair airshow from New York to Helsinki

But since this was an A350, my favorite view was the tail camera, which is almost always my entertainment of choice.

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Finnair A350 tail camera while at departure gate

Paula, the chief purser, announced that boarding was complete at 5:40PM, and informed us of our flight time of 7hr30min.

At 5:50PM we began our pushback, at which point the safety video began to play.

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Finnair A350 tail camera while pushing back

We were departing from runway 22R, which is a bit of a haul from Terminal 8. This required taxiing across runway 31L.

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Finnair A350 tail camera while taxiing

Once we made it to runway 22R we were number three for takeoff, after two American 737s.

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Finnair A350 tail camera while taxiing

At 6:15PM we were cleared for takeoff, and had a fairly quick takeoff roll.

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Finnair A350 tail camera while taking off

The Airbus A350 is such a gorgeous, quiet, smooth plane. Even the takeoff roll was extremely quiet, much like on the Airbus A380; I barely realized we were taking off.

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Finnair A350 tail camera shortly after takeoff

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View after takeoff from New York

Less than 10 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off (speaking of which, I love the electronic signs on the A350).

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A350 signage

At that point a video played throughout the cabin, explaining some features of the plane, the option to purchase duty free, etc.

After that I took a more thorough look at the entertainment selection. Like I said, it was fairly extensive, though not to the level of what Emirates or Singapore Airlines offer, for example.

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Finnair entertainment system

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Finnair entertainment system

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Finnair entertainment system

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Finnair entertainment system

I don’t usually watch movies, but Ted 2 caught my attention. It’s not a movie I’d ever watch on the ground, but I found the first movie funny enough, so figured I might as well watch the sequel. And it was funny… and even sort of sad. Who knows!

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Finnair entertainment system

The Finnair A350 has wifi, and business class passengers even get a code for free wifi. The bottom left of the screen had the complimentary wifi code throughout the flight, and then there was a dedicated page explaining how to log-in.

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Finnair free wifi

Finnair uses a proprietary wifi system, so it’s not OnAir, T-Mobile, etc. There are two choices of internet plans you can purchase, both of which have no data limits:

  • Full flight for 15EUR
  • 1hr for 5EUR

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Finnair wifi cost A350

Those are extremely reasonable prices, though as a business class passenger they’re somewhat irrelevant, since you get it for free either way.

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Finnair complimentary business class wifi

One thing I’ll note is that their password requirements are rather over-the-top for a wifi service. It has to be between 8 and 16 characters, include letters, numbers, special characters, upper case, and lower case letters. Alrighty then!

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Finnair’s impossibly complicated wifi password

The issue with the wifi is that it didn’t seem to work for the first 90 minutes of the flight. I got an error message saying “Unable to log you into the access controller.” I informed the chief purser, and she told me everyone was having the problem, and that the wifi should automatically begin working at some point.

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Finnair wifi problems

About 20 minutes after takeoff the captain came on the PA for a brief announcement, lasting just 30 seconds or so.

Before dinner I headed to the lavatory to change into something more comfortable. The Finnair A350 has four lavatories — two in the front of the cabin, and another two between the two business class cabins. They’re all modern, though not especially big. The forward lavatories even each have a window.

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Finnair business class lavatory

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Finnair business class lavatory

After that I headed back to my seat to keep watching my movie and have dinner.

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Finnair business class cabin

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Finnair business class cabin from seat 3A

The service started pretty slowly, especially for a short transatlantic redeye. About 30 minutes after takeoff the chief purser came around to take meal orders.

The dinner menu read as follows:

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And the wine list read as follows:

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Lastly, the cocktail & beverage list read as follows:

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Shortly thereafter another flight attendant came around with hot towels, which were the same cheap ones American uses on their flights.

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Finnair business class dinner service — hot towel

After that the flight attendant came around to offer pre-dinner drinks, along with a small amuse bouche of beef yakitori and grilled sesame pineapple.

I ordered Finnair’s signature drink, the blue sky. It was tasty, though extremely sweet… even too sweet for me (which is rare, since I like my cocktails sweet and sassy). Again, I loved the glassware.

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Finnair business class dinner service — blue sky signature cocktail and amuse bouche

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Finnair business class dinner service — beef yakitori and grilled sesame pineapple amuse bouche

After that the crew came around with tablecloths.

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Finnair business class dinner service — table setting

Finnair’s meal service is simple, as everything is automatically served on one tray. On one hand that would generally be pretty underwhelming, while on the other hand I don’t think it’s a bad idea for a short transatlantic flight.

The meal consisted simply of a salad, a side of cheese (presumably intended for after the meal), and then the main course, for which I selected the beef. There was no appetizer, unless you count the amuse bouche.

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Finnair business class dinner — salad, cheese, and main course

The food itself was fine, though unremarkable. The beef was way overcooked, as is the norm on planes. The broccoli and potatoes were quite good, though.

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Finnair business class dinner — grilled tenderloin of beef with broccoli and potatoes

The side salad was rather simple.

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Finnair business class dinner — baby field greens with vine ripe cherry tomato and cucumber

As was the side of cheese, which just had manchego and gorgonzola.

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Finnair business class dinner — manchego and gorgonzola cheese

Lastly for dessert the only option was ice cream, which was Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream. I also had a coffee to accompany it (Finnair doesn’t offer espresso-based drinks onboard).

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Finnair business class dinner — Haagen-Dazs ice cream and coffee dessert

While I was loving the Finnair experience, the meal itself was disappointing. Again, I don’t think that’s a huge deal for a 7hr30min redeye, but they basically have an “express” service for everyone (on other airlines you can choose an express service, though you also have the choice of a more elaborate meal).

After the meal the lights were dimmed a bit. Finnair has some fantastic mood lighting, though it seemed to change quite often and drastically, so it was almost a bit distracting.

After the meal I just sipped on some water, which I had been handed on the jet bridge as I boarded (that’s the first time I’ve seen that system used for bottled water).

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Finnair business class bottled water

I finished watching Ted 2, and then decided to get some shut eye.

I reclined the seat into the fully flat position, and should note that not only is the A350 quiet, but the seat recline function is super quiet as well. On some airlines the seat’s motor can be really loud, while on Finnair you can barely hear it, which is awesome.

Finnair had a great pillow and blanket, so I was snug in that regard. As I reclined my reverse herringbone seat into the fully flat position, though, I couldn’t help but feel like it was tighter than the seats offered on American and Cathay Pacific. And a closer inspection of the footrest revealed why. The area for your feet is much more restrictive than on other reverse herringbone products. As you can see below, at the back of the seat the space isn’t even wide enough to stretch out your feet.

I tend to sleep with my legs bent, and I could only do that when facing the window, and not when facing the aisle, given how restrictive the seat space was on the side. So I do feel like Finnair went with a slightly tighter reverse herringbone configuration than some other airlines, though all things considered I still found it to be quite comfortable.

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Finnair business class seat legroom A350

I couldn’t sleep especially well, not because of the restrictive space for my legs, but rather because I wasn’t too tired given the early departure time of my flight. So I figured I’d stay up, especially since I had the following day in Helsinki to catch up on sleep.

I noticed that there was a business class snack menu, which read as follows:

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There was a cart set up in the mid-galley, which had some drinks and snacks on display. It’s not too often you see that for a short transatlantic redeye, so that was cool.

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Finnair business class mid-flight snack setup

Soon enough we were over half way into our flight to Helsinki, just between Greenland and Iceland. As I said earlier, I really loved the airshow, and how easy it was to change the perspective of the view.

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Airshow enroute from New York to Helsinki

For the next couple of hours I got caught up on some work thanks to the onboard wifi (which began working shortly after dinner was complete). The flight couldn’t have been smoother, as I don’t recall hitting a single bump during the whole flight.

About 90 minutes out a flight attendant came by and asked if I wanted breakfast.

The breakfast menu read as follows:

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I selected the continental breakfast, and had an orange juice and coffee to go along with it.

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Finnair business class breakfast

The main course was a “bakery fresh bagel with smoked salmon, cream cheese and egg.” The bagel was at best a mini-freezer bagel past its expiration. It was stale and hard as a rock. My dreams of having a New York-style bagel were crushed. 😉

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Finnair business class breakfast — bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese

The side of fruit was tasty, and nicely varied.

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Finnair business class breakfast — fresh fruit

As I finished up my meal, most other passengers slowly began to wake up. It was still pitch dark outside, so I turned on another cool feature of the airshow, which was advertised as “cockpit view.”

When I turned it on I realized we were at 43,000. WOW, I don’t think I’ve ever flown that high! Apparently the service ceiling of the A350 is 43,100 feet, so I guess that’s about as high as you’ll get.

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Flying at 43,000 feet!

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Airshow approaching Helsinki

I then switched to the tail camera, where I saw the start of a gorgeous sunrise. I find winter in Northern Europe to be depressing, given the lack of sunlight, but for some reason the last 40 minutes of this flight are among the most magical moments I’ve spent in the air recently. It’s tough to describe, but there was something about the faint, glimmering sunrise which reminded me of how much I love flying (not that I often forget, but…).

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Tail camera during sunrise

I’m not sure if it’s just the distortion of the camera or if it’s because of the altitude at which we were flying, but you could see what looked like the curvature of the earth.

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Tail camera during sunrise

35 minutes before landing the first officer came on the PA to advise us of our landing time of 8:50AM.

30 minutes before landing they played a pre-landing video, explaining the arrivals process at Helsinki Airport, both for those terminating their travels there, as well as connecting passengers.

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Helsinki landing video

The video was over soon enough, so I could switch back to the incredible tail camera view.

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Tail camera on approach into Helsinki

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Tail camera on approach into Helsinki

The view out the window was equally captivating.

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View on approach into Helsinki

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View on approach into Helsinki

And it only got better as we dipped below the clouds. I’m guessing it’s because I’ve spent the past several months in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Australia, etc., but there was something so indescribably enchanting about the snow-filled scenery below.

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View on approach into Helsinki

15 minutes before landing the seatbelt sign was turned on, and I once again focused on the tail camera. The gear came out a couple of minutes before landing, and I could see us lining up with the runway on the tail camera.

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Tail camera on final approach into Helsinki

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Tail camera on final approach into Helsinki

We had a smooth landing on runway 4R at 8:50AM, and then began our taxi to the gate.

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Tail camera upon landing in Helsinki

As we taxied you could see the engines blowing the snow off the taxiway path, as in some areas the taxiways were barely visible due to the amount of snow.

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Tail camera while taxiing in Helsinki

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Taxiing at Helsinki Airport

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Taxiing at Helsinki Airport

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Taxiing at Helsinki Airport

Our taxi to Terminal 2 took only about five minutes, as we arrived at our gate at 8:55AM.

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Our arrival gate in Helsinki

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Tail camera upon arriving at our gate

Helsinki Airport is one of the most pleasant airports in all of Europe, so within minutes I was through immigration and on my way to my airport hotel.

Finnair business class A350 bottom line

I’m so happy I had the opportunity to finally sample Finnair’s business class, especially on their brand new A350.

I love the A350, and from a passenger comfort standpoint it’s a win. Between how quiet it is, the tail camera, and the general cabin ambiance, it’s one of my favorite planes to fly.

I also loved the attention to detail in Finnair’s service. From the colorful pillows and amenity kits, to the flight attendants wearing gloves during boarding, to the breakfast cards, the product was extremely well thought out.

I also love reverse herringbone seats, though I found this specific type to be a bit less comfortable than others when sleeping. I couldn’t tell when sitting up, but in the reclined position legroom was limited.

The only disappointing aspect of the flight was the food. I don’t consider that to be a huge issue on a short transatlantic flight, but Finnair definitely has some room for improvement there, as it was one of the less impressive catering experiences I’ve had on a transatlantic flight.

All things considered, Finnair’s A350 business class still ranks high. The reverse herringbone seat and wifi are what matter most to me, while the special touches and quirky design are what set Finnair apart for me.

I’m excited to fly them again. Now I’m just hoping Finnair regularly flies the A350 to the US, as this was only limited time.

If you’ve flown Finnair, what was your experience like?

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Comments

  1. “I’m not sure if it’s just the distortion of the camera or if it’s because of the altitude at which we were flying, but you could see what looked like the curvature of the earth.”

    Take a look at your tailcam photos from departure and arrival and I think you’ll find your answer 😉

    Thanks for the new product review.

  2. I like how the Finnair cabin looks icy and cold with all the blue tones. It aligns well with the climate of Finland although I suppose warmer cabin tones would do more to make the cabin more inviting and lush, but that’s just my opinion.

  3. Wanted to hear your thoughts regarding the food. I understand that Finnair is the one responsible to source catering and they should do a good job in finding a better one however I always find food on flights leaving the US always underwhelming. Do you see the same on other airlines? Also, I never order beef on airplanes. They will never be the same as when you order in a restaurant.

  4. Lucky – Great trip report. I almost feel like I was there. I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the A350 vs. a B787.

  5. Great and detailed report!

    The left armrest (the one closer to window) seems a lot wider than on CX. Did you find that significantly better? And on CX the tray is fixed and sometimes feel too close. Did they fix this on this new seat?

  6. Those colorful designs are by Marimekko, a popular Finnish designer that began in the 1950s. Their fabrics and accessories can be pricey, so for anyone flying Finnair, don’t leave your Marimekko items behind. They’re definitely not Ikea!

  7. This tray with dinner looks more like in coach rather than in business class 🙂 Finnair seem to ‘throw’ all the plates at the same time. I guess they were not plastic, though 🙂
    Anyway, would you know when A350 is going to be taken from their route to and from JFK? I am trying to fly to LHR at the end of February via HEL and all I can see is Finnair’s A330 instead.

  8. Hey,
    Just a correction, Lufthansa is another airlines that uses the Bose headphones in buisness class! I had them on my flight from FRA-SIN. It was slowly phased in starting in 2014, and now all their planes have them. (:

  9. I’m surprised to hear the flight attendants didn’t have great English. In my experience, most northern Europeans are quiet fluent, especially in the Nordic countries.

  10. Minor point, but it appears you took off Runway 4L at JFK, no? Otherwise there’s no need to cross 31L/13R. My guess is you crossed 31L on K and then took the runway at intersection KA, as the K entrance at the end of the runway would not have shown 22R on the taxiway sign.

  11. I have flown AY a million times as my former bf is Finnish working for Finnair. It’s a nice plane though I have to travel in Y but FA excellent English and clean planes.
    HEL airport is lovely and bus to downtown is easy. Great connections as well. Love it there in the summer and remember dark cold winter days made me use the Finnish sauna more.

  12. Finnair business class seats had a massage feature, primitive but surprisingly comfortable, the two times I experienced it. Does the 350 have that as well?

  13. I would love to try this product on my upcoming trip to HKG but it looks more and more like Finnair will not receive delivery of this plane on time. Plus the HEL-HKG flight is apparently the worst for being on-time in Finnair’s system.

  14. @Chris, yes definitely a 4L departure. You can tell because the majority of the airport lights in the takeoff shot are to the left of the aircraft (would be to the right on a 22R departure) and the shot from right after takeoff shows the plane flying over a populated area (if departing from 22R, you would be over the ocean when that photo was taken).

  15. IKEA is Swedish, not Finnish. The iittala glassware and Marimekko branded amenities are, by a country mile, superior to the tat that IKEA produce.

  16. I flew Finnair in business from Helsinki to JFK back in November, and catering ex-Finland was definitely superior (blog post coming to my blog airwaysandtravels.com soon). It even included reindeer!
    Also, note that all amenities are Marimekko – quite high-class (and very Finnish!) if you ask me!

  17. A couple things.

    I too love the Ultima Thule glassware. My grandmother had full sets of this pattern when I was a kid. Even as an 8 year old, I felt very sophisticated drinking out of them.

    @Arcanum –

    I find Finns, in particular, struggle with some English sounds. It’s not usually that they don’t have a good command of English, it’s just that their spoken English is unusually accented and enunciated, especially compared to Swedes’, Norwegians’ and Danes’ spoken English. It shouldn’t be that surprising, given that Finnish is a wholly separate language (more closely akin to Hungarian) than anything any of the other Scandinavian languages.

  18. Nice report Lucky. The biz product is almost identical to AC’s Int’l Biz Class on their Dreamliners, which I flew recently on trips to/fro Asia. They also use the latest reverse herringbone seats (B/E Aerospace Diamond executive pods).

    There are some subtle differences based on the images here that make the AC product a bit more like-able, at least to me (such as the 18″ hi-def screen on AC that does not have to be stowed so you can watch shows even on the ground) and the nicer finishes of the table in AC. However, in one crucial element, they are the same, which is that I don’t find these reverse herringbones the best for deep sleep (they seem a little coffin-like).

    The products from the two airlines can almost lead to a game of top-trumps where FA has a nicer amenity kit, but AC has better in-flight catering based on the descriptions (AC also serves espresso and cappuccino on board from Lavazza on the 787s :P). AC has better in-cabin ambiance and colors, but FA has a nicer lavatory. The service on AC was exceptional during my trip and the cabin crew were so excited to be on the dreamliner. I will be flying FA next month to visit some friends and hope to compare notes.

    @Chris – I have flown on the A350 and the B787 since I have some contributions to the engineering of both. I personally prefer the 787 since I somehow feel happier (does that make sense?) after getting off of one in comparison to the A350 (the 787 definitely has a better in-cabin climate control system with the bleed-less technology). As for the sound, both airlines produce very little engine noise and most of the noise is attributed to wind shear at high altitude. This is where the A380 excels, although it is not due to clever engineering as such, but due to the shear number of noise absorbing materials within the aircraft (i.e. cushions, seats, people and the large gap that houses more insulation between the seats and windows). In that respect, I find the A350 and B787 to be almost identical – nothing that my Sony MDR10RNC noise cancelling headphones don’t drown out completely.

    As far as technology is considered, I do think that the 787 is a leap into the new and will define the future of MEA. The A350 is a wonderful aircraft and will surely sell well, but it’s a gradual transition from the old towards the new with dependence on hydraulics whereas the 787 is the future and is the backbone of the 777X program and the 747-8 program.

    At the end of the day, they are both wonderful aircrafts, at least if you are seated up front.

  19. @Jared – Finnair uses the Zodiac Cirrus seat as seen on Cathay and American, not the B/E Aerospace Diamond used by Air Canada. The big difference between the two is the placement of the tray table, which comes out from the side console on the Cirrus but tucks under the screen on the Diamond. Personally, I prefer the Cirrus as the tray table restricts leg room on the Diamond.

    Also, FA is the airline code for Safair Ltd. Finnair is AY.

  20. @Arcanum – thanks for correcting me!

    I was just using FA for FinnAir as an abbreviation (just happens to be that AC is the airline code for Air Canada).

  21. I think I would love them – they sound right up my alley. I loved the colors, too. Food isn’t that big of a deal for me on a flight as I prefer to eat lighter so I sleep better. I have wanted to go to Finland anyways, so now I have even more of an excuse/reason to go!

  22. Nice review! Still not sure if I want to fly AY business class….

    One remark: The pictures seem to be mixed up. Or is it just an issue on my iPad?
    🙁

  23. Catering ex-JFK is typically disappointing. The only exceptions I can think of are OS business class and JL first class. Those were exceptional. I’ll never forget the difference between an AA economy meal that was loaded at JFK vs one loaded in BCN, the former was inedible, the latter, not too bad.

  24. I find it cute that they tried to call their skewer a “Beef Yakitori” since yakitori means grilled chicken. Anybody beef flavored grilled chicken? lol.

  25. Great review, thanks for sharing! Looks like a great product except for the meals. It seems that AY has lately been “enhancing” their business class catering to the lousy level where it’s now.

  26. Excellent review as always! I love the color and appearance of the cabin. The clean, cool appearance is a great representation of Finland itself.

    One correction regarding Bose headphones in Business – Cathay Pacific also offers them and unlike American, they don’t come by 30 minutes before landing to collect them and make sure you didn’t steal them…

  27. @Lucky

    Its such a waste to use miles/cash these days on almost any transatlantic business flight with the exception of EK, SQ or TK. The flights are too short, catering out of the US is almost always awful (speaks about the quality of food in the states vs. abroad) and you can’t even get a decent night sleep. The smart thing always to do coach going to EU (using meds to sleep) to conserve miles and fly business class on the longer, better catered, and enjoy the service daytime flights. Its such a no brainer. Can’t believe people waste money/points on the short trips across the pond especially from the East coast with very few products being worth it to begin with.

  28. “There were no ads before starting shows or movies”

    What? Is that a thing that airlines do? I don’t fly even remotely as much as you do; but neither of my recent trans-pacific flights on United and Asiana had ads for their TV shows and movies. Not even in economy.

  29. A small correction to note regarding the in-flight moving map service mentioned… it is actually called FlightPath3D from Betria Interactive. The ‘airshow’ term used is actually a brand name for a very old product that looks nothing like this highly interactive and state of the art technology. Congratulations to Finnair for delivering an incredible, world class in-flight experience!

  30. This is one of the worst business-class meals I have seen, outside of Hawaiian’s meal from Pago Pago to Hawaii. Plus, it’s really not a red-eye flight — unless the definition of a red-eye flight has changed — as the departure time was before 10 p.m. New York time. I could see this pathetic meal offering, if it left J.F.K. at 10 p.m. like Delta’s seasonal flights to the Nordic countries. But this is much, much earlier. Plus, with a flight time of under 8 hours and a departure before 6 p.m., who is really sleeping? I’d have to get pretty drunk to get 5 hours of sleep on this flight.

  31. Great review! I flew the AY 350 back in October from Helsinki to Oslo in business. I really liked the hard product. Didn’t have the time to proper explore much of the aircraft, but the meal service was great, and I do love the Marimekko amenities! The glassware is also absolutely gorgeous.

    One fun fact: Finnair has actually developed the inflight entertainment software themselves! So this IFE is truly unique in that sense-

  32. How far out did you book this flight? I can’t seem to find any TATL space on AY or AB anywhere, just phantom space for AY on AA. Where do you search for these flights?

  33. I heard about an only-women lavatory on Finnair’s A350. What about it? Did you realize its existence?
    Great job!

  34. AY actually does have a Cappuccino machine onboard their A350 – I wonder why you didn’t get one. 🙁

  35. Great review as always! Nice to see they offer free wifi to business class passengers. Unless I need to get work done I rarely bother purchasing it since I don’t find it worth the money so this is a nice perk.

    I wonder what the reasoning is behind serving the entire meal on a single tray. Before this review I’ve only read about this being done on reviews of AA flights. I actually experienced this myself on an American Airlines trip from London to Buenos Aires last week. On the LHR-JFK flight the meal was served per course, while on the other flights (JFK-EZE, EZE-JFK and JFK back to LHR) the meals were served on a single tray. Since the JFK-EZE route is almost 11hrs it doesn’t seem to be just related to the duration of the flight. (The single-tray meals were all on 777-200 planes though, while the LHR-JFK flight was on a 777-300ER).

  36. Its the camera lense, not the curvature of the earth. I think you have to get up over 50-55,000ft to see it, which was always visible on Concorde, especially towards the end of the flight when it was floating up near its ceiling.

    Finnair have a tighter angle for their seat layout, so with that there is less room. You fly so much, you sensed it correctly!

  37. As bizarre as it may be, you have become the way I end my evenings (and I have no reason to believe that it’s anything naughty either).

    Several years ago, when I was gainfully employed in the travel industry, international travel (particularly on foreign [i.e., non-US] carriers and collecting the menus to be had in their business and/or First) classes of service, was my greatest passion. Now, having suffered physical and financial setbacks, I have found myself traveling through the stories of others. Fortunately, you and I seem to share many of those same passions.

    Thank you for allowing me the privilege of being able to enjoy — albeit vicariously — through you.

  38. Any ideas on discounted business class flights from San Diego or Lax or SFO to Venice for the Summer?

  39. There are still a fair amount of LAX > LHR award flights on AA metal this summer. We just managed to get 2 seats each way on the flight in April/May. Also my alerts keep going off on PHL/LHR and JFK/LHR on AA metal in June/July. Isn’t there still a buy miles promotion on AA going on if you don’t have the miles?

  40. I flew the Finnair A350 last Easter from Helsinki to Bangkok and I was equally impressed. It was my first experience of Finnair. I went with a companion and we sat in the middle seats of the first row of business class. A couple of comments on the report: the “Ikea” comment about the cabin is a little unfair, since the cabin is full of classic Scandinavian design: the bedding and amenity kits are Marimekko and the glasses that Lucky liked are Iittala (actually I recently saw them at an Iittala outlet in Sweden retailing at around $50 a glass I think) — so all very stylish and high quality stuff. Also the cabin crew on my flights spoke excellent English and German. I, too, found them incredibly friendly and reassuringly competent. They cannot do enough for you, and they do it in a very nice and natural way. You felt that you could rely on them if there was a problem, which is not what I feel when I fly some of the newer airlines with multi-national imported crews. I sort of get the comment on the food — but I think they do this because some people (I am one of them) find long drawn out meal services a bit of a pain. The qualify of the food was good, nothing exceptional; but overall this was one of the best long haul experiences I have had in a long time and a really pleasant surprise. I should also add that I flew the day after the Brussels attacks — I was flying in from the Middle East on Qatar Airways to connect via Brussels (this bit had to be changed, obviously — I ended up going through Frankfurt) and then Helsinki, and I thought Finnair handled all the chaos that this caused very well, despite being a very small airline. And their lounge at Helsinki airport is fantastic. What a great airline. In these days when so much of travel is an ordeal, it is very nice to be able actually to enjoy the experience. It was good reading this report, because it reassured me that my experience was consistent with what other passengers have also experienced.

  41. Thank you for this, Lucky. We are about to travel Bangkok-Dublin, via Helsinki, using Finnair for the first time. They will be flying the Airbus 350-900. My wife has had back, knee and ankle surgery, so we travel business class so that she gets a genuine full flat bed seat; one which will allow her to stretch out fully, when sleeping. I’ve read (Seat Guru) the same comment as yours about the window seating (A3 and A4). Is there any chance that you had an opportunity to compare the middle seating with the window seat, fully reclined? If the middle seating has the same problem as you had, my wife would be unable to stand the pain for 12 hours. We will be booking our tickets in the next few days. Any advice would be genuinely welcomed. Regardless, really enjoyed your review, truly honest and professional. Thanks for that.

  42. I just flew Finn Air business from Rome to Helsinki and onto Rome. My thoughts are pretty much with you in relation to jfk/hels. The staff were helpful enough with minimal English and amusing for the number of trays with full drinks that were dropped, even before we took off. Loved the marimekko fabrics and the itallia glassware, very retro but both making a big global comeback. I found the seating constriction v difficult to sleep and our cabin was so hot I thought I’d expire. I also had a weird single seat on the A configuration which made me feel like I was wedged in a wall whereas the singles on the other side of the plane were not like that. Food was ordinary but always love Nicholas Feuillate champagne so that helped.

    Many hours in the standard lounge and finally boarded for Rome on a 320. Seriously. It’s bad even for economy but to masquerade economy seats as business and pass off a spare seat as the payoff, Finnair has got to be kidding. The food was inedible. For those in row 1 on left and 2 on right, they are bulkhead with no legroom and immovable arm rests, dreadful.

    My mistake, I didn’t realise it was going to be such a “long way round” and sadly Finnair don’t seem to understand that long haul passengers require a bit more service than they are currently providing! I’m just dreading that I have to do the whole thing in reverse.

  43. Thank you for the review.
    Having travelled on Finnair several times 4 years ago I was extremely disappointed with the food, old plane and service in Business Class I am pleased that all has improved ( except food – mine was a 14 hour flight).

    I am tempted to try Finnair again once more after your experience.

  44. Same seat as SriLinkan.
    I’ll be going to Seoul in a few weeks and will try Finnair – it’s a shame they don’t appear to be operating A350s on the HEL-ICN route. The times are much more amenable than the BA direct LHR-ICN, which is a total killer jetlag-wise.

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