Tried & Tested

Finnair Airbus A321 business class

28 Apr 2009 by BusinessTraveller

Background Finnair flies from London Heathrow to Helsinki four times a day. British Airways and Blue1 also serve the route.

Check-in I travelled by tube to Heathrow and arrived at 0845 for my 1020 flight AY0832 from Terminal 3. It’s at least a ten-minute walk from the underground to the T3 departures building. The Finnair check-in is at Zone G at the far end of the terminal building and there were a few people queuing for the economy desk, but only one person in front of me at business class check-in. I was travelling with hand luggage only and after check-in I went through the fast-track security, which had two lanes. Just as I joined the short queue, a group of people were let through behind me from the normal security line. After security I had to remove my shoes for the scanning machine. I was airside by 0915.

Boarding This took place at Gate 3A at 0945 and was quite a walk from the main lounge area. Business class passengers and rows 25-34 were called for boarding first. The process was fast and the Airbus A321 was busy, but we were all settled without incident.

The seat There are 11 rows of business class in a 3-3 configuration, with the middle seat kept free and a seat pitch of 32 inches. I was in seat 9A. The row in front of me was the emergency exit row, making it a good choice for abundant leg room. However, as rows seven and eight were configured 2-2 (B-C and D-E), with no window seat, I did not have anyone in front of me either, so I had the same legroom as an emergency exit seat. The same was true for seat 9F on the right-hand side of the plane. Economy seats are the same product but with the middle seat in use.

The flight We took off at 1045 and were given a hot towel 15 minutes later. I was offered a selection of newspapers to read, including the Financial Times. The pilot said the flight would take about two hours and 35 minutes. The food service started about 20 minutes after take-off. Soft drinks and alcohol were offered with a little snack of cheesy biscuits. Lunch was served on trays and consisted of an olive, onion and salami salad and grilled salmon with creamy spaghetti, which was tasty if a bit dry. This was followed by chocolate cheesecake and tea and coffee. There were a few drop-down screens in the cabin showing the flight path and some news programmes but we were not offered earphones and I didn’t ask. We landed on time at 1515.

Verdict An efficient and friendly service with a comfortable business class offering.

Price A return business class flight from London Heathrow to Helsinki in May started from £714 online.


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