Finnair updating long-haul J/C-class?Back to Forum
Anonymous8 Dec 2009
Quick three day trip from ARN to HEL this week, air travel courtesy of AY in business class. Picked up the in-flight magazine which stated in the “Finnar Info” pages:
“The end of December sees the introduction of the newest Airbus 330-300 to the Finnair fleet with full-flat beds in Business Class allowing for an even more relaxing journey. Welcome onboard!”
I have looked for details on this, but unable to find anything on their web site. Anyone have more details on this? This will put pressure on SK to update their lie-flat seat…8 Dec 2009
As you may know from my previous posts, I use Finnair a fair bit, short- and long-haul. I used them a few months ago to Bangkok on an MD-11 and it was pretty appalling (I think I posted about that at the time). For example, their idea of in-flight entertainment on an MD-11 in J class is a hand-held DVD machine and a pack of DVDs.
However, their A330s to places like Nagoya are absolutely excellent and offer all-round comfort levels that are pretty high.
The seats are the same in all their long-haul aircraft, as far as I’m aware and, although not lie-flat, offer a reasonably good night’s sleep – indeed, it’s excellent value when you look at the fares they are currently charging, especially ex-MAN.
They are, however, an airline in a fair bit of turmoil at the moment. They have out-sourcing proposals that are causing problems with unions, and continually-falling load factors and revenues per seat (in all classes). Whether they should continue at the present time with their investments in new aircraft on their long-haul sectors is a matter for debate, given their latest quarterly results. However, it’s obviously a highly-considered gamble on their behalf and I, for one, hope it pays off, as they are a relatively little-heralded airline with a pretty good product at reasonable prices.
Furthermore, they have the Nordic policy of not retiring their FAs once they get over a “certain age”. This means that the cabin crew, especially up front, are usually older and more experienced. Having read recent posts on here about the demoralised FAs of other airlines, I have to say that in several hundred AY flights, I’ve had very few (if any, come to think of it) negative experiences of AY crew.
As far as SK are concerned (and I speak as an SK Eurobonus Gold Member), their long-haul product is pretty basic and certainly much more expensive than AY’s in general. The long haul seats on AY are currently pretty similar to those on SK; I agree with Senator that if AY up the ante as far as seats are concerned, this will increase AY’s competitive advantage over SK, especially when considering the difference in fare levels at the moment.
Hope this helps,
Simon8 Dec 2009
Hi everyone !!
It is only a good timing of AY to refurbish their C longhaul class. IB is going full flat, so it is only a very good step for a Oneworld partner to do the same. Bearing in mind–to win over customers.
I cannot say anything about SK as I have not flown them. But I think is sure that the heat of competition will rise when AY makes itself competitive. The last I flew with AY it was with the MD 11–food experience was not very good. Actually one of the worst I ate in a business class long haul cabin.8 Dec 2009
What are you expecting of FA’s?
I don’t reall understand all the complains. Whether it has been SK, AY, BA, LH, UA, SQ, and others, I never met but nice and attentive service minded FA’s.
I agree that it will certainly be an edge to the competition if AY goes all flat, but then… Why take the hassle to stop over in HEL if you can avoid it.8 Dec 2009
Firstly, I wasn’t criticising FAs myself – the total opposite.
Second – have you ever transited HEL? It’s far from a hassle, especially when they open the new AY lounge and spa (yes, a spa) later this month. You should try it. Also, fares to the Far East between GBP 1,200 and 2,400 depending on destination make it good value.
And by the way, I’m not Finnair’s equivalent of BA’s VK……..
Simon8 Dec 2009
It’s true that Finnair have invested heavily in Airbus 330s and by the end of 2009 the company will have taken delivery of 5 new eco-efficient Airbus 330 aircraft.
The Airbus planes are the first in the fleet to include the new, lighter passenger cabin interior design with fully lie flat beds and their technically advanced features represent a significant improvement in passenger comfort. All passengers have access to their own video monitors with a diverse choice of entertainment, communications and text-message sending options.
The acquisition of the new aircraft will improve profitability and environmental efficiency significantly. The new Airbus long-haul aircraft consume 20% less fuel than the MD-11 that they replace.
With the introduction of the A330s, Finnair has one of the most modern and youngest fleet’s with an average age of just 4.5 years in Europe.
More information on the A330 can be found at http://www.finnairgroup.com/mediaen/mediaen_9_1.html10 Dec 2009
Thanks. I looked at the link you supplied, and it is a bit old. What I am referring to is that the next delivery of an A330-300 will include a different seat – a real flatbed.
I spoke to the purser on last night’s flight back from HEL and he confirmed that AY had planned for an upgrade. However, he said staff was informed of this three months ago and heard nothing since. Under the current trading conditions it perhaps is not possible to retro-fit the A330, and A340 already in service. Looks though as AY will have one aircraft inbound with new seats, no details…
By the way, looks like a new lounge for long-haul/none-Schengen is being opened today with a Spa at HEL.10 Dec 2009
SimonRowBerry, I got the wrong impression when I first read your entry. My apologies.
As for HEL as a stop over, I am sure it is i nice. I try to the outmost to avoid stop overs. Which is why I have been using BA more and more at the expense of SK, which will involve more unless I rely on UA or LH, neither of those have really become a favourite of mine.
I never really have understood why SK have chosen to have 2 daily flights to ORD/NYC and one to IAD, and none to the west coast. Granted they have had SEA, but SEA is in the middle of nowhere, it is not a hub for any of their partners, so I don’t get it.
No wonder they had to shut down the SEA route. If they had flown on SFO instead, I am quite confident they would make it profitable.
They had planned for a route to SFO twice, first september 11th crashed it, second the financial turmoil.
Now, my regular destination on the west coast is SAN, so I am not asking for a service to my particular destination, but there is just no connection from SEA down there, and if I fly to ORD, I have another flight of almost 5 hrs plus time at the airport. ORD is by no means a favourite of mine.
Especially if they would dump CPH as a hub. I believe that CPH is one of the reasons they are about to go busted. Granted, the Danish unions have been quite lately, but what can they do, presumably they have finally realized they are crashing the entire airport business. No wonder OSL is about to be the largest airport in Scan. What surprises me however is that such a fine airport as ARN is not more competitive.
Anyways, that was quite a diversion from the subject.
If I flew more on asia, I would probably consider AY more, but the little I have done, actually their prices have not been really competitive, possibly because it was in an attractive time frame.
Lately TG has started direct flights from OSL to BKK, there are two no frills start ups coming next year, so my guess is that AY will soon face some real tough competition in regards of getting Scan customers (for those who don’t get it, FIN is a part of the Nordic, Swe/Dan/No is Scan)
My guess; Before 2012 AY and SK is in a merger.10 Dec 2009
Hi everyone !
Yes, AY prices are pretty competitive. And for Oneworld status holder-a good opportunity to earn status points and get the highest status level easier. I flew AY twice in C class. Both in MD 11.and definitely not happy what I experienced. I am eager to try the new long haul C seats–hopefully really full flat and not a ” wanna flat–but though angle in the end” – seat.
Transiting in HEL is really easy and personally feels no hassle at all. When the new SPA is finished-this will make transiting in HEL more comfortable. It is not really everyone’s choice to fly 2 to 3 hours from a European city and transit in HEL and than fly to US or Asia. If the food service, especially in the European flights which I think really more Y class level, will be improved and the luxury of a full flat bed. Than is AY and transiting in HEL a real alternative for European frequent flyers.11 Dec 2009
It is interesting to read that you praise AY as a great opportunity for Executive members. I was considering flying AY when I was going to Moscow earlier this fall. It was not a good price and I would not benefit from it pointwise. I had been hoping this trip could have given me the missing points, but I learned that I would not make any points, so there.11 Dec 2009
Just making some searches using the BT tool, & found that Finair had return business fares LHR -HKG for £1,000 return (31st Jan back 27th Feb?
Almost £450 less than other Airlines, a very good deal these days.
Intrigued have not flown with them, & tend to use Star or Skyteam.
Any input to the current service on that route anyone?
It says an A340 scheduled on this route…11 Dec 2009
I flew Finnair’s MD-11 Business Class service to Bangkok in October and was actually impressed with just about all parts of the service with exception to the seat (the angled-flat beds just don’t do it for me). Compared to other angled-flat beds however, Finnair’s was on par with the rest.
The northern routing proved to be much quicker than transiting via mid-continental Europe (I departed Stockholm and normally fly BA or Lufthansa); the food was very good with an excellent wine list (2nd only to Qatar Airways, which I flew Business Class earlier this week); a nice touch was the stylish Ittalia (Finnish glass and porcelin maker) dinnerware; the FA’s were friendly, helpful and professional; and a decent amenity bag. Helsinki too is an easy airport to transfer through. Having achieved (retained) both BA Gold and United Premier Executive (Star Alliance Gold) for the year, flying Finnair also allowed me to top up my American Airlines frequent flyer account to a level where I can redeem tickets for a holiday early next year.12 Dec 2009
I’ve flown AY A340s to Nagoya and they’re fine. I accept other postees’ comments about the seats, as they are obviously not truly ‘lie-flat’, despite what AY say in their publicity.
However, the AY 340s are excellent planes, the FAs are friendly and efficient (note my comments earlier above about Nordic policy towards FAs – it works well) and the food is also above-average (a mix of Finnish and Japanese dishes on the menu), as well as a serve-yourself snack bar.
I was pleased to note Home’s positive comments above about the MD-11 service – I’m sure, on that basis, he/she would be delighted by an AY A340 flight, as the aircraft are incomparable (again, the shortcomings of the seat notwithstanding).
I’m using AY to Hong Kong in late March, returning from Beijing – the fare was around £1,400 which, for an ‘open-jaw’ ticket seems great value.
You may be interested/amused to know that AY wet-leased one of their MD-11’s to Barcelona Football Club for a few weeks for a tour they were doing – I don’t know if Christiano Ronaldo was happy with the seat and also the lack of AVOD!!
Finnair Plus is also a great FFP and, as others have said, it’s a relatively easy way to gain higher level OneWorld tier status – if you’re prepared to route your Asian flights via HEL. Having said that, your flights with other OW carriers obviously also count too.
Simon12 Dec 2009