23rd October 2014 at 08:00 #578331
Anonymous23rd October 2014 at 08:00 #578332
14 seats/3 occupied.
I booked my flights direct with Finnair on Finnair.com as part of an Amsterdam – Helsinki – Delhi journey. The website is very sleek and easy to use. I was able to select my seat for free at the time of booking and also my choice of main meal for the longhaul leg. Check in opened 36hrs before departure and I had my boarding cards for both flighs sent to my iphone. I arrived at Schipol by train from Amsterdam Central around 90mins before my flight. There was no line at any of the finnair counters. My bag was tagged and I was given an invitation to the lounge and made my way through the premium security lane which took no time. I made my way to the lounge.
Finnair uses the Menzies lounge at Schipol. It is a relatively bare bones offering. The usual wine/beer/spirits. Some soft drinks from a post-mix machine. And (thankfully) a coffee machine. Food was limited to some bakery items and a variety of spreads as well as a bowl of apples. I have to admit, I fail to see the value in such a lounge in an airport like Schipol. I passed areas in the terminal on my way to the lounge which were just as quiet, offered similar comfortable seating and better views. Along with the free wifi at Schipol I think I would prefer a voucher to use to purchase food at one of the many outlets and wait in the public areas than use a lounge.
Boarding is done by 'groups' that are printed on your boarding card. Being in Business I was in group one but was actually one of the last to board as I wanted to continue taking advantage of the free wifi in the gate area. I was greeted at the door by the Purser and another crew member was in the J class cabin guarding the business class locker space (big thumbs up). She immediately pointed out a space for my bag right above my seat. The business class cabin is the typical euro-business layout of three seats with the middle blocked and a curtain dividing business and economy. There is no cocktail table or similar covering the middle seat on finnair like some airlines have with their 'spare' seat. The seats are all grey cloth with bright green headrests which inject some vibrant colour. Each of the unoccupied middle seats had a small pillow and blanket on it. Row one is only on the left ABC side on this aircraft, there is a wardobe on the right. So the first row on the right is row 2 DEF. I had row 1 and legroom was fairly limited. Row 2 D or F is definitely the seats to choose, with plenty of legroom. Welcome PA's were made in english, finnish and swedish and we were away on time. The cabin crew were all mature ladies and utterly charming and professional with a pace and grace that put you immediately at ease. Like most airlines tablet/e-reader/smart phone use is now gate to gate. Printed menus and hot towels were distrubted before takeoff along with newspapers. We departed ontime and were airborne shortly after.
Around fifteen minutes into the flight the service commenced with a drinks order which was served with some pretzels. The glassware is very unique and attractive. Lunch was then served which was a one tray affair with a small appetizer, main and dessert served at once. An assortment of breads were offered. There was no choice in menu but it was very tasty and filling and these days a hot meal is welcome on two hour flights even in Business. I did notice in the inflight magazine though that in Economy class Finnair has just alunched a 'buy on board' cafe replacing the complimentary service. Tea, coffee and water remain complimentary. The Purser served the three of us sat in Business and she was extremely attentive constantly checking if we needed anything else, topping up our drinks etc. The moving map played on the overhead monitors along with quite a few advertisements. I napped for the remainder of the flight.
Menu: Appetizer or bruschetta with tomato and parmesan. Main of breast of chicken with cheese-lemon sauce, dumplings and braised tomatoes. Godiva chocolate pralines.
This was my first time transiting Helsinki airport and I was told it was a very 'transit friendly' airport. I must say I was a little surprised at how busy the airport was. The place was packed airside and the building with quite low ceilings and narrow-ish corridors didn't help to make the terminal feel any less busy. As I discovered this is a peak time at Helsinki with a large chunk of Finnairs longhaul departures to Asia departing within a window of a few hours in the evening. Having flown in from Amsterdam I arrived at the Shengen part of the terminal and had to clear passport control and security to reach the non-schenghen terminal for my Delhi flight.
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