Shortest Route to Europe – Finnair A350 Business Class Bangkok to Helsinki

Finnair is a really exciting airline to fly these days and I’ve been flying them quite a bit recently.  I really love their business class product. I feel Finnair have done a fantastic job making the cabin looks spacious, airy and inviting. I like it’s set up with a 1-2-1 configuration with everyone having direct aisle access. 

Every business class seat is a flatbed paired with large touchscreen entertainment systems.  Combine these features with very good service and it really makes for an enjoyable way to travel. 

An added bonus is that the Finnair Business Class product is usually quite a cost-effective way to travel, especially to and from Asia where they have an extensive network serving 16  destinations across this region. I took this flight to Helsinki  and then onwards to London where I had a week of business meetings.

The  thing I love when you first board is that feeling of space and comfort  – there are no overhead lockers above the middle section of the plane, giving it a really open and spacious feel.  When you arrive  at your seat, I was in a window seat, there is a vibrant green and white pillow and an accompanying blanket – the colours are very characteristic of Scandinavia.  Also provided is an amenities kit, slippers and headphones. 

Most airlines flying the A350 have put their own touches on the design and layout.  I don’t think Finnair has done quite so well with the privacy aspect; unlike the Cathay Pacific product that has a wing tip added to the seat at head level, designed to give you a little bit more privacy.  That’s missing from the Finnair version.   

I do find however, that privacy with Finnair window facing seats is very good. They are exceptionally private, and on my flight which was not quite full ( 27/46 in Business Class) I had even more privacy as with no-one directly across from me.

Finnair seat no wings

Finnair provides stylish amenities kits, specifically made for them by Marimekko, a Finnish up-market brand known for their colourful products. Inside the kit you’ll find a small number of travels essentials including an eye mask and earplugs, as well as toothpaste and a toothbrush.

They also contain a couple of small containers of Clarins products from ParisOne of the products is a moisture replenishing lip balm, which is quite good for traveling, and the other is a hydra-quench cream for dry skin.

What I appreciate is that they don’t overdo the contents of the kit, so wastage is limited, which is quite a problem on some airlines. The kit also contains a small card detailing items that available on request from the crew – including slippers, socks, a shaving kit, mouthwash, a hairbrush, and makeup remover. You simply need to ask for them and they will be provided.

amenities kit

Also available at my seat were good quality noise canceling headphones  – Finnair provides Phitek headphones, from the world’s leading supplier of electronic innovation in noise cancellation.  I found them amazing for listening to movies or audio but also when you wanted to get some rest and dampen down the noise from the cabin.

Finnair headphones

As well as the touchscreen to control things like movies and audio, there is also a small handheld personal remote control just on the side of the seat,  next to the USB ports and the other power connectors. It’s exceptionally easy to charge your devices because they’re at exactly the right height level.  You can connect your iPhone, smartphone, or other devices (via USB) or plug-in anything into the multi-power adapter outlet. 

When you are aren’t charging your devices you can place them in the headset area, or on the shelf next to that, for storage. There are several lighting options including a nice, delicate downlight very close to where you’re sitting, as well as lights from above.

Another thing I love on the A350 is the cameras you’re able to watch for take off, landing and throughout the flight. You get great views both from a downwards looking camera and from the forward facing camera, which looks out over the whole plane. This is particularly interesting if you’re like me and you love watching the plane departing the terminal. Its a great way to get a bit of an idea of what’s going on with the ground crew around the plane, but also fabulous for watching the plane take off and land.

Storage on the Finnair A350 is not as good as on other A350s.  There is a small container for a water bottle and the magazines just off to the left underneath where the table comes out.  After that though there is very limited storage space. The only exception is the area directly under your footrest where you could put a small bag, shoes or the like.

Once you settle into your seat it’s not very long before the crew come out to introduce themselves. I really appreciate that Finnair uses locally based  crew –  on this flight the crew were about half European nationals and the other half were Thai nationals, which really adds a unique multicultural element to the flight.

I really enjoyed talking with the Thai crew and getting a sense of what they enjoy about travelling.  They are a great source of knowledge if you’re visiting Thailand for the first time, providing lots of details about what to see and do.

Shortly after arriving at my seat I was offered a range of welcome drinks, including champagne, water, or juice.  I ordered champagne and it was served in very unique glassware, used throughout the flight, it’s beautiful, which is elegant and stylish. Finnair serve Joseph Perrier Cuvée Royale Brut which is really fresh and light. It comes with a small amuse bouche  – today’s offering was smoked trout with sour cream.

After take off you really start to settle in and relax.  This is aided by the fact you can recline the seat in many different ways.  The seat is easy to use, and I found it easy to find a position that was comfortable for me.

I tend to watch a movie, read a book, or do some work once I have reclined my seat into a comfortable position. I usually get the duvet cover out as well, which is really comfortable, very soft, quite large and very useful for just relaxing and, later, for sleeping.

duna and relaxing

Finnair’s approach is that reasonably soon after takeoff they start the meal service. Many of their flights leave later in the evening so this works well if you want to eat quickly and get some much needed sleep on your flight.

My departure from Bangkok was in the morning so I was able to have a more leisurely meal. Finnair serve the other meal very close to the end of the flight.  Business class travellers have the options of snacks from the small galley area throughout the flight.

For my starter I selected the soup which was a green pea and onion soup with fresh thyme. It was really quite tasty and was served with a range of bread and a small salad.  The main course I selected was a crusted chicken breast stuffed with pesto and served with carrot mash, grilled mushrooms and bell peppers.

The dessert options included bubble tea, chocolate ice cream, or petit fours, accompanied by coffee and tea.  By that stage I was more than full and had to decline the offerings.  Meals can be pre-ordered on all Finnair flight if you wish to.

About 90 minutes before landing the second meal was served. This is called your choice and usually consists of three small options. I chose the warm panini with chicken meatloaf, cheddar cheese and potato chips. It was just enough to keep me going until I got to the hotel. The meal was served with a bread roll and fruit.

snack

Before long we were on our approach into Helsinki airport and with the view from the camera it was fantastic to see the sunny countryside of Finland coming in below us. Finnair really encourages passengers to stay over a few days.  I’ve have plans to do just that soon, adding in a trip to see the northern lights. I must plan that stopover on my next trip later in the year!

Expert Traveler recommends…

Finnair has an excellent business class product especially if you fly on their A350. Their business class fares are always very reasonable and a lot cheaper than some of the mainstream commercial airlines. The Finnair crew are very friendly, helpful and keen to provide service as and when you need it. We recommend flying Finnair if you are flying between Europe and Asia.  Finnair flights surprisingly offer the shortest routes between Asia to Europe.




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