Review: Almost@Home Lounge Helsinki Airport

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Introduction
Review: Finnair Business Class A350 New York To Helsinki
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Review: Almost@Home Lounge Helsinki Airport
Review: Finnair Lounge Helsinki Airport
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My flight from Helsinki to London was at 8AM, and Finnair’s lounge only opened at 6AM. I still took the 5AM shuttle from the hotel to the airport.

Why? Because I was jetlagged, and frankly thought the Helsinki Airport terminal would be a nicer place to sit at 5AM than in my hotel room. I’m not sure whether that’s a reflection of the Holiday Inn, Helsinki Airport, or both. šŸ˜‰

I arrived at the airport at around 5:15AM, and took the escalators up to the check-in hall.

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Helsinki Airport Terminal 2 check-in hall

The check-in hall had a pretty cool departures board, which I alwaysĀ love.

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Helsinki Airport Terminal 2Ā departures board

Check-in counters were to the left and right, though I had already gotten the boarding pass for my flight in New York a couple of days prior.

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Finnair check-in Helsinki Airport Terminal 2

There was a premium security line, and I was through within a couple of minutes, as there was no one else in that line. As is the norm at many airports nowadays, security dumped out into a duty free shop, which you had to navigate your way through to enter the actual airside terminal.

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Helsinki Airport duty free shopping

I followed the signage towards gates 27-40, since that’s where my flight was leaving from.

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Helsinki AirportĀ Terminal 2 airside

I had toured Helsinki Airport back in 2013, and was extremely impressed by it. My experience this time was exactly the same. The airport is simply gorgeous, with wood floors, great shopping, and free wifi which is easy to connect to. The airport is a decent size, though manages to feel much smaller than it is. For that matter, the airport also has among the shortest minimum connection times in Europe, showing just how efficient it is.

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Helsinki AirportĀ Terminal 2 airside

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Helsinki AirportĀ Terminal 2 airside

I continued to follow the signage for gates 32-40, which are the gates located in the non-Schengen area.

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Helsinki AirportĀ Terminal 2 airside

There I had to clear passport control, where there was no queue. I found myself in what was a rather dead terminal, and not quite as nice as the departures hall before you go through passport control.

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Helsinki AirportĀ Terminal 2Ā non-SchengenĀ area

To access gates 32-40 you can either walk through the duty free shops or through a hallway. I went through the hallway, and as I walked through it I noticed something interesting.

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Helsinki AirportĀ Terminal 2Ā non-SchengenĀ area

Next to the Finnair service desk was the Almost@Home Lounge, which I remember very briefly touring back in 2013. While the Finnair Lounge opens at 6AM, this lounge opensĀ at 5:30AM. As luck would have it, it was exactlyĀ 5:30AM.

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Helsinki Airport Lounge Almost@Home entrance

The Almost@Home Lounge is a contract lounge used by several airlines, though can also be accessed by Priority Pass members.

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Helsinki Airport Lounge Almost@HomeĀ signage

There are several way to get a Priority Pass membership through credit cards, including:

The lounge attendant quickly swiped my Priority Pass card, and after a signature I was in the lounge.

As you’d probably guess based on the name of the lounge, it’sĀ intended to feel like home, and it’s executed brilliantly. In terms of design, this might just be my favorite Priority Pass lounge. Admittedly part of that might be the fact that I was the only person in the lounge. I might have felt a bit differently if I were sharing my “home” with a hundred other people. šŸ˜‰

Near the entrance to the lounge was a section with magazines and newspapers.

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Helsinki Airport Lounge Almost@Home entrance

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Helsinki Airport Lounge Almost@HomeĀ magazines & newspapers

The lounge is basically separated into two seating areas separated by the buffet in the center; the seating on the left side is designed more around dining, while the seating on the right side is designed more around relaxing.

On the left there were several dining tables, both against the wall and by the window.

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Helsinki Airport LoungeĀ seating

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Helsinki Airport LoungeĀ seating

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Helsinki Airport LoungeĀ seating

In the far corner of the lounge was a small business center with a few PCs.

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Helsinki Airport LoungeĀ business center

At the far end of the other lounge was more traditional lounge seating, with a variety of seats facing one another.

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Helsinki Airport LoungeĀ seating

Next to that was a fantastic espresso machine, which made surprisingly great cappuccinos.

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Helsinki Airport LoungeĀ espresso machine

The most “home” feeling part of the lounge was the far right corner, where there was high-top seating, and then an area intended to simulate a living room.

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Helsinki Airport LoungeĀ seating

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Helsinki Airport LoungeĀ seating

Next to the living room area was a tea station.

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Helsinki Airport LoungeĀ tea station

The food and drink selection was in the center of the lounge, and simulated the kitchen “islands” you might find in a home.

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Helsinki Airport LoungeĀ buffet setup

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Helsinki Airport LoungeĀ buffet setup

Drinks were on one “island,” with self serve beer, wine, juice, soda, water, etc.

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Helsinki Airport LoungeĀ drink selection

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Helsinki Airport Lounge wineĀ selection

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Helsinki Airport LoungeĀ drink selection

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Helsinki Airport Lounge soft drink, juice, and waterĀ selection

Then there was a continental breakfast spread, with cheese, cold cuts, veggies, yogurt, eggs, fruit, etc.

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Helsinki Airport Lounge breakfast spread

There were also a few types of cereal, as well as several types of bread and pastries.

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Helsinki Airport Lounge breakfast spread

Then there was another station with filtered coffee, chocolates, and delicious cookies.

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Helsinki Airport LoungeĀ coffee & cookies

And then there were also some peanuts and crackers.

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Helsinki Airport LoungeĀ crackers & nuts

To further add to the feeling of being home, all the cutleryĀ was located in a drawer, and there was even an oven with mitts hanging from it.

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Helsinki Airport LoungeĀ cutlery

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Helsinki Airport LoungeĀ oven

I only spent about 25 minutes in the lounge, and at 5:55AM headed over to the Finnair Lounge, given that it was opening at 6AM.

Almost@Home Lounge Helsinki Airport bottom line

This lounge really impressed me, and is one of my favorite contract lounges I’ve been to. While the food spread was fine, I thought the design was especially well executed. Maybe I’d feel differently if the lounge were completely full, but in the meantime this is a great lounge option for anyone with a Priority Pass membership, or anyone flying an airline which uses this as their contract lounge.

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Comments

  1. I noticed in the back of one of the photos, they have a Playstation 4 setup. Thats actually a brilliant way to keep the kids busy before a flight, or those that are children at heart šŸ˜›

  2. What a great looking lounge. I felt similarly about the other Priority Pass lounge in Helsinki, the Aspire Lounge, when I visited in 2013.

  3. @FNT Delta Diamond

    Who drinks wine at 5:30 a.m?
    People going on holiday? Will assume it’s a standard setup, and I think Lucky was there on a Saturday so probably a lot of tourists rather than people flying for work.

    People in the Nordics don’t drink much compared to Italy or France, but it’s mostly done during the weekend so on a Saturday morning they might well get some takers.

    Or eats a salad for breakfast?
    Well I knew an vegetarian once that loved her salads for breakfast.

  4. @FNT you haven’t been to Finland. They get plastered on weekends and when going on holiday. I had the misfortune of going on a charter flight from Helsinki to Rhodes many years ago.

  5. @FNT Delta Diamond – you must not travel outside the US much. Salads are always available on breakfast buffets in other parts of the world. I like to have some fresh veggies with my meat-cheese-bread, personally. Also, what if your body clock thinks it’s 4 p.m.? Then you might want to eat a salad and have a glass of wine. This insistence that there’s only one way to do anything and an inability to imagine anything else is so annoying.

  6. When I flew out of Helsinki Airport a couple of years ago I didn’t think that it lived up to the hype about how good it was. Admittedly I wasn’t flying Finnair, so I assume I left from a different terminal to you, but where I flew out of I found the terminal small, lacking in enough seating in the gate area for the number passengers and very few retail outlets to buy anything.

  7. My comments were more rhetorical than anything else. I fly out of the United States all the time. I’ve never seen anyone outside of Asians, in Asia, eat a salad for breakfast. I spend a lot of time in the Nordic countries and have never seen anyone drink at 5:30 a.m., unless still out partying at mid-summer.

  8. I picked up 2 round trip biz tickets to Europe during that BA/AARP fare sale last October and booked the Finn Air Helsinki-JFK flight to come home. This article came out just in time. šŸ™‚

  9. For the love of everything aviation – it’s Finnair, not Finn Air.
    Simple really – look at their planes to check.

  10. Looks like an Ikea showroom…and, while cozy if sparse, it looks like it would be really cramped if more than just a few people.

  11. The Helsinki airport is my favorite airport in the world. I used to go through it every year when flying in to St. Petersburg. To get the best experience you need to head into the Schengen zone (terminal 1) as that is where most of the shopping and eating is located. I don’t know how that works if you need a visa but with my Canadian passport I used to go through three or four times a visit. (I was young and very bored on long layovers.) The best thing about it is the Moomin store. It is absolutely adorable.

  12. Talk about short connections..35 mins for jfk hel-> svo…. weird question but I bought a separate ticket svo-tlv ..do you think at check in they will attach the pnrs’? If not will I need to get a transit visa or anything like that for svo?

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