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Wednesday 30 May 2012

Flying Finnair's A321 to Helsinki

Welcome to my Trip Report on Finnair's A321 ride to Helsinki!

For my part 2, click here

I had been thinking of flying to Helsinki to explore the city, thanks to the influence on Twitter. After deciding on the trip, I searched for a suitable airline to take me there. Finnair came into my mind and I booked it for S$375 for the return trip. I was so excited as the aircraft would be operated by A321. It would be my 2nd and 3rd time flying on this aircraft type.

The website itself is simple and nothing much to shout about. No problem accessing the website. 'Managing my booking' allows you to check-in, choose your seats (payable), changing your meals and the option of adding additional baggage (payable). To be honest, I don't find this attractive especially paying for the seats, but I guess its fair. If you want the good seats, you should pay for it. If you don't want to pay for the seats, you can wait until 36 hours before the flight to check-in and choose your seats. However, I decided to pay for the seat to Helsinki so that I can have a good view of London after departure and Helsinki during the approach. 

Carrier: Finnair
Flight number: 832
Date: 28th May 2012
Routing: LHR (Terminal 3)- HEL
Seat number: 17A
Aircraft type: Airbus A321
Flight Duration: 2 hrs 35 mins
Engine type: 2x CFMI CFM56-5B3/P
1st time on OH-LZC
Line number: 1185
Plane delivered: 23th Feb 2000
Config: CY181
Registration: OH-LZC
Flight Duration: 2 hrs 35 mins
Departure gate: 5A
Arrival gate: Remote
Scheduled departure time: 1020
Actual departure time: 1020
Scheduled arrival time: 1515
Actual arrival time: 1510
Load factor for Y class: 90%
Departure runway: 09L
Arrival runway: 04R

Flight route: LHR-HEL 

Miles: 1151

My ride: OH-LZC

Soon the day has arrived, I was feeling absolutely excited as this was the first leg of many to come. Not many of my friends and relatives were able to understand my passion for flying until I explained to them. It is not just about having joyrides on them, its also to experiencing different airlines' in-flight service and product. Since the flight was at 1020h, I woke up earlier at 600h and left the apartment half an hour later. Not knowing whether they would be a delay on the tube, so it was better to leave earlier. Fortunately for me, the trains went smoothly and in an hour and a half, I reached the airport. I never like using London Heathrow for travels as its small and crowded most of the time and this time it was no exception.

                        Some photos of London Heathrow Terminal 3

This is Air Canada's Airbus A319.

American Airlines Boeing 777-200ER with the Pink Ribbon livery

American Airlines Boeing 757-200 with winglets

                                                  Check-in counters

                                               Boarding time

The first impression of the airline was positive, greetings and smiles from the crews certainly made a good start, that's for sure. Anyway, I made my way to my seat and waited for everyone to settle down. Looking around me, there were very few seats left. Once everyone was on board, the front door was shut and we pushed back just on time. As you know the traffic in London is often heavy, I was quite surprised we took only 10 minutes to reach the runway 09R and take off almost immediately. The take-off of the A321 seemed sluggish but we made it to our attitude in around 20 minutes. The flight crews kept us well-informed of our flight and the cabin crews took care of us pretty well.

My opinion on the seats

The seat on this Airbus A321 was comfortable and legroom space was reasonable for short-haul flights, however cracking sound was heard each time I adjusted my body and also the seat in front of me would make the noise whenever my leg hit it. I had to be extra careful whenever I adjusted my body posture, a bit inconvenient to say the least. Other than that, I had no problem with the seat, somehow it seemed to be the same seats as the MD-11, which the airline used to operate.

                                            Cabin photos

I wasn't the only plane spotter on board!

Service on board

I was quite surprised by the service, to be honest. The crews were friendly and approachable. Smiles were seen on their faces and they responded fast when passengers called for them. Impressive so far! It was totally different from my flight experience with Finnair in 2003.

In-flight snack

The sandwich tasted great, one of the best in fact or was it because I was too hungry? Nevertheless, it was great and the combination with tea made my stomach very satisfied. This meal was complimentary and that's a very nice touch. If you are still hungry, you can order from the menu which is payable but that's reasonable if you ask me.

This is also a very nice touch by the airline; a nice 'yummy' chocolate!

I can't wait for the A350 to replace the A340-300.

                                              Finnair's magazine

                                     Finnair's shop magazine

                                  Safety card of Finnair's A321

                                        Window shot photos

What is Japan Airlines' Airbus A300 doing here in London?


I am impressed with the service on board, better than what I expected. The seats that I sat on, may have made some cracking noises (can be repaired), but legroom space is decent and the seat is comfortable at least to me for the 2 hours plus flight. Finnair is a decent airline with good in-flight products. It still provides complimentary food and juices at least on my sector and at least on my flight, the service was good. All depends on your luck really when it comes to in-flight service. So go ahead and fly with Finnair!

My ratings

Onboard service: 8/10
Seat comfort: 7/10
Aircraft: 8/10
Legroom space: 6/10
Cleanliness of aircraft: 9/10
Recommendation: Yes.
Overall inflight experience: A-

For my part 2, click here

Thank you for reading my report.

Best Regards
Charles Ryan Teo

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