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Sunday 10 June 2012

Experiencing the Finnish hospitality with Finnair and Helsinki Airport (Part 2)

Welcome to my Trip Report on Finnair's Airbus A321 Part 2 

For my part 1, click here
Helsinki Airport

I heard lots of positive feedback on this airport and that made me very curious! It is always good to discover for yourself and now I had the chance to do so! In this section, I would be posting some photos and my thoughts on the airport. Please enjoy!

Helsinki Airport has left a positive impression on me. It is not very big, probably the size of two 60,000 seater stadiums including the tarmac. There are 2 terminals. The home airline, Finnair is based in Terminal 2, which is newer. The airport which is opened 24 hours, offers free WiFi, shuttle-bus service from Finnair, 24 hours cafe, sockets at a certain location for you to use, good lounges and some great resting areas. Later on, the airport will open a QH's book swop which is located in the departure mall in Terminal 2 and a plane spotting gallery for aviation enthusiasts like myself. Lots of innovative ideas from the Quality hunter, a group set up by Finnair to engage conversations with the public. Quality hunter, Finnair, Helsinki airport and possibly a few other airlines are working together to constantly improve the airport, making it more user-friendly and attract travellers to use the airport either to visit the city or transit to other countries. @Qualityhunter @Finnair and @Helsinkiairport can be found on Twitter, do follow them for the latest updates and share your experience with them.

Photos of the airport


This room is supposed to be for the Quality hunter's 'book swop' which is like a little library where passengers and rest and enjoy some reading while waiting for their flights. Unfortunately, it opened after I left Europe. You can check out my latest reports on this airline for updated photos of Helsinki Airport.

                                         The Hunter's lounge

My impression on Helsinki Airport

I think its a decent airport with good facilities that makes it convenient for frequent travellers. It may be small, but its definitely less hectic and have better facilities than some of the major airports in Europe. I like the airport for its convenience, 24 hr, free wifi, good spots to take photos of aircraft and places to rest. Is it worth transiting in Helsinki? I would say 'yes!' and even if you are stopping over at this airport, don't worry about it, its a good place to rest and get yourself ready for the next flight.

Flight route: HEL-LHR 

Miles: 1151

My ride back to London

Carrier: Finnair
Flight number: 833
Date: 30th May 2012
Routing: HEL-LHR
Seat number: 21B
Aircraft type: Airbus A321
Flight Duration: 2 hrs 40 mins
Engine type: 2x CFMI CFM56-5B3/P
1st time on OH-LZF
Line number: 2208
Plane delivered: 19th April 2004
Config: CY181
Registration: OH-LZF
Departure gate: 36B
Scheduled departure time: 1600
Actual departure time: 1610
Scheduled arrival time: 1715
Actual arrival time: 1720
Load factor for Y class: 95%
Departure runway: 22L
Arrival runway: 27R

Time passed by so quickly, soon it was time to go home. In the morning, I did my self-check-in at Terminal 2 before meeting up with @Qualityhunter for lunch. We had pizza for lunch at Vapiano, an Italian restaurant at Mikonkatu. It was delicious but I couldn't finish it.

                                           Tuna pizza

So I took it to the airport to finish the rest. Anyway, I had a great chat with him even though the time we had was short. After bidding farewell, I took the Finnair bus back to the airport. The bus ride cost $6.20 Euros and its the cheapest mode of transport from the Airport to town and vice versa.

Pardon me as I didn't take my photos in this sector because I was feeling tired at this point. I will use the photos from airliners.net.

Checking my flight

Looking at the load, it seemed to be a full flight. I was lucky that this was an A321 in the old airline's livery. I was a bit worried because I have done a check on the history of this flight, the A320 was operated the day before and I flew too many A320s. 

The boarding announcement was made, we made our way to the waiting bus which took us to our aircraft. I was hoping for the Boeing 757, but that "dream" was dashed when the bus went the opposite direction and parked in front of Finnair's A321, OH-LZF. That's great for me, 2 different liveries and another registration to for my flight logbook.

It is always great to board the aircraft via the staircase, and once I stepped in front of the door, the Finnish stewardess was there welcoming us on board. This set of the crew didn't seem to be too enthusiastic later on during the flight but they were professional throughout.

Cabin photos of Finnair's A321

I had no problem with my seat this time around.

After 15 minutes of waiting, the doors were closed and soon the familiar engine start-up was heard and instead of pushing back, we headed to the taxiway with another 2 Finnair A320s in front of us. Not long after, we took off and heading south-west towards London.

Here is the complimentary snack that we were served. I had an apple juice to come along with it.

It was served cold but delicious. I enjoyed it very much.

After the meal, I took a nap until the approach to LHR. It is very unusual for me to sleep during flights but I dozed for a quite a while before finally waking up, in time for the descent and approach to London Heathrow.

The weather in London was cloudy and we were put on holding pattern for 30 minutes before landing. It was to be my 3rd landing at the same airport within a week and I was actually feeling nervous, hoping not to encounter a fierce airport immigration officer.

The queue took about 20 minutes to clear and I was very lucky to encounter a very nice officer who listened to my explanation and without further questions, he chopped my passport. 

I made my way out of the airport quickly and took the tube to my sister's place at Tower Hill.

This was the end of the little joyride in Europe which I thoroughly enjoyed.


I enjoyed my flights with this airline. It may cost more than the others, but its money worth spent. From what I heard, the airline is upgrading the seat cabins and I am looking forward to that in the near future. Will I fly with Finnair again, yes! I think you should too if you have the chance. Its a Finnish airline with decent products.

My Rating

Onboard service: 7/10
Seat comfort: 7/10
Aircraft: 9/10
Legroom space: 6/10
Cleanliness of aircraft: 9/10
Recommendation: Yes.

Overall rating: B+


- Good in-flight service
- Complimentary food and drink (juice and water)
- On time
- Clean aircraft
- A selection of flights to choose from.
- A member of the Oneworld alliance.
- Decent in-flight product


- Expensive air tickets
- Newspapers are chargeable.
- No mileage points for my flights

Thank you for reading my short report. 

For part 1, click here.


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