23rd October 2014 at 10:00 #578335
Anonymous23rd October 2014 at 10:00 #578336
Pushback – 6min late
Seats occupied: 11
Duration: 7hr20min sched.
My flight was booked direct with finnair via their website. The wesbite is very easy to navigate and allows you to choose your seat at the time of booking as well as your choice of main course for the primary meal. Online check in opens 36 hours prior to departure but as I had a bag to check in anyway I did not use online check in. I arrived at Delhi Airport two hours before my flight was due to depart. Delhi Airport departures is very quiet and calm partly down to the fact that only passengers are allowed entry to the building – your passport and evidence of flight are checked at the entrance doors. There was no one in front of me at the Business Class check in desk and I was swiftly checked in for both my Delhi – Helsinki and Helsinki – London flights and my bag was tagged through to London. Security and passport control was a breeze. Like on my arrival into Delhi there were designated lines for First and Business Class but these were actually busier than the regular line so I joined that. I was through passport and security quite swiftly although it's a good idea to keep your boarding card to hand – at least three people needed to stamp in in the space of ten minutes. I then made my way to the lounge.
As with most Indian Airports the lounges are shared facilities. Finnair directs passengers to the Plaza Premium Lounge on level four which is also the lounge used by Cathay, BA, Singapore and most of the other foreign airlineIs operating at Delhi. It also grants access to holders of certain credit cards and for cash. It was quiet when I arrived and a nice space. Once you pass the reception desk you arrive into a lounge area with comfotable sofas. Further down is a manned bar and some self service food items. And towards the back are some tables and chairs and a smaller lounge area. Beyond this are the bathrooms and showers (very clean).
Boarding was done through one jetty although priority was given to Business Class and OneWorld elites. I had noticed when checking in online that the aircraft taking me to Helsinki had switched to one with the new J full flat seat (when I had booked it was the angle flat product). However on the outbound journey the aircraft changed several times in the days before my flight so I wasn't going to count my chickens until I was on the aircraft. Fortunately for me, I did end up with the full flat product. Initial impressions of the cabin? Hmmm to be honest it looked a little like a hospital waiting room. Lots of light blue plastic panelling, blue cloth seats. Finnair has gone for the staggered seat arrangement and Business Class includes the whole first cabin and a second mini cabin of two rows beyond the galley. On the left hand side the seats alternate between a pair of seats, a solo seat, a pair or seats etc. All the centre seats are pairs. And all those on the right hand side are solo seats. There were three pre set positions (take off/landing, lounging and zzz) as well as a massage function. I was in a solo seat and the idea is that when fully flat my legs slide under the well space in between the two seats in front of me. To be honest, I wasn't a fan. I found my legs were in a confined space from pretty much mid thigh down and it gave little room for manauvere. Also there is no air circulating down there so I got warm very easy. I much prefer J class seats where my legs don't have to be confined in a tight space. The only storage space is the over head locker, no other cubby holes. IFE is on the seat in front and controlled by the remote in the armrest. The tray table is also quite tricky. As per the outbound flight the pillow and blanket was already on the seat along with the 'eco friendly' brown paper washbag. Menus, newspapers and a choice of OJ, water or champagne were offered.
After take off drinks were served followed by lunch. As with the outbound, catering was pretty disappointing. Despite it being a 7.5hr daylight flight it was still more or less a one tray service with starter, side and main all served at once. This was followed by dessert and cheese. I had pre-ordered my meal online and the main course (salmon) was quite tasty. The starter however did not even vaguely resemble the menu description. The crew again were a mix of Helsinki and Indian based crew and were all delightful, in particular the indian based lady serving my side. It's a credit to the crew that they were so excellent on all my Finnair flights as I believe they have been going through some big changes – massive cuts to their pay in order for the routes they fly to not be outsourced to new foreign based crews on lesser wages (Finnair used its JFK based crews on North America flights and spanish based crews on some european flights).
Menu: Starter – chicken roll filled with asparagus spears, mustard potato salad. Garden salad, balsamico dressing. Mains – herb crusted pink salmon steak with wasabi beurre blanc, olive tossed pasta and buttered vegetables. Murg makhani, dalia kishmish pulao and yellow dal (indian non veg). Tawa paneer, jeera pulao and dal makhani (Indian veg). Cheese – red cheddar and brie. Dessert – vanilla or chocolate ice cream.
Light meal – bow pasta with sundried tomato sauce and vegetables, parmasen cheese. Murg keema, laccha paratha and cashew roll.
I had a 55 minute connection at Helsinki and could feel my blood pressure rising slightly at each of the six minutes we were delayed pushing back in Delhi. Despite arriving on the gate in Helsinki five minutes late I had plenty of time to make my connection. This is obviously something Helsinki Airport does best.
Good value for money as I got a great deal on my fare. The seat is not one I like though. It was great to have a solo sea with direct aisle access but I actually felt more comfortable in the angle flat product I had on the outbound. But thats probably a personal choice. The Finnair longhaul fleet still has a good amount of aircraft with the angle flat product and aircraft swaps seem fairly commonplace so if it's a must that you have lie flat you may want to look elsewhere. However if you are looking for good value business class fares, a smooth transit experience, OneWorld tier points and miles and lovely crews I would definitely recommend Finnair.
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