A few weeks ago I embarked on a journey from Sydney, Australia to Kittila, Finland. 36 hours in the air, lounge and road just to drive the new Porsche Taycan deep in the heart of Lapland. In my usual attempt to gain as many Qantas Status Credits as humanly possible the trip was graciously booked with Finnair, a Oneworld partner.
Had you asked me if I wanted to travel on Finnair, I would have said no, but as it turns out the Queen of the Scandinavian skies could be the best no-frills business class we’ve experienced. When I say ‘no frills’ I don’t mean Jetstar or Ryanair no-frills, rather Finnish no frills. You know, light on substance, big on style.
The flight was booked on an AY ticket which earns Qantas Status Credits, albeit half of what you would get with a QF flight but at a heavily discounted Business Class ticket. On average you’ll save between A$2,000 – A$3,000 in comparison to booking a QF or EK flight which is nothing but good news.
Yes, you’ll have to fly into Helsinki but it’s a relatively short trip anywhere in Europe. More importantly, the Finnair Business Class experience is one of the best we’ve had. Here’s why.
Route: Hong Kong to Helsinki (via Sydney)
Aircraft: Airbus A350-900
Cost: A$6,500 (Sydney – Helsinki Return)
You’ll enjoy the latest Airbus A350-900 on your route from Hong Kong to Helsinki.
The latest Finnair aircraft providing a whisper-quiet flight and the very latest business class seats and cabin fit-out. Before you fly you can also enjoy The Wing, Cathay Pacific’s amazing lounge in Hong Kong.
Just in case you’re wondering, The Wing has The Cabana.
Your own private cabin for 90 minutes. That’s me taking a bath. Totes luxe, bitches.
Lie flat seats that rival the best of them.
The 1-2-1 cabin configuration ensures you have aisle access and the seat design provides ample privacy from your neighbour. Interestingly our flight was half empty and there were no obviously Finnish cabin crew onboard. So I suspect Finnair run a Hong Kong hub for this route.
A welcome drink… with a difference.
Not your usual champagne glass, but still did the trick. This is where things begin to feel a little no so premium but still premium enough.
Enough privacy to feel comfortable and not annoy your neighbour.
Given the likes of Qatar Airways now have fully enclosed suites in Business Class it’s not there but it’s not bad at all. We would say it’s similar to Cathay Pacific’s Business Class.
No overhead bins for the middle rows.
Try and score the window seats if you’re travelling with a lot of hand luggage. It will make life a little easier.
More than enough legroom.
Maybe it was me but I did feel the seat recline positions limited so getting comfortable did take some time. However, there was more than enough room for my long legs.
Adjustable armrest gives a touch more privacy and comfort.
At the push of a button… and some gentle lifting.
Ample plugs and points in an easy to reach location.
Even for those weird Australian plugs. Another USB would have been useful for the phone and headphones.
Slippers. Check. Travel kit. Check.
Less is more but still very much no frills. The slippers were pretty funny… I did not see anyone wearing them.
What’s inside you ask?
Just the basics. Nowhere near as grand as Emirates but you have what you need for the 9-hour flight. Eye mask, toothbrush and earplugs.
The large entertainment screen gracefully glides out at the touch of a button.
Loved the way it slowly creeped out to its final position. Super smooth and classy like.
The UX of the entertainment system is remarkably simple yet effective. With ample TV shows and movies to choose from too.
No, not everything is in Finnish either.
Meal service is quick and efficient.
Not quite the culinary experience of Singapore Airlines or Qantas but for someone who tries to not eat on flights I didn’t really care. The wine and drinks selection is very impressive. More impressive than the food IMHO.
The in-flight external camera actually works!
So many times we’ve been on flights and not been able to see anything. The A350-900 is a different story.
You’ll get a taste of the Northern Lights on approach into Finland.
The A350’s cabin is beautifully lit, reminiscent of the Northern Lights. A small but very cool touch and a great way to finish (no pun intended) the flight.
Two windows are better than one.
After a seat change to ensure I made my connecting flight, I scored the best seats in the house. 8A. Perfect for the everlasting sunset that awaits you in Helsinki in Winter.