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February 2, 2016 / oneworld82

Finnair Premium Lounge in Helsinki a.k.a. Relaxing with a Sauna before a long flight

After my short hop from London to Helsinki and two fun- and work-filled days across the Finnish capital city, I was very eager to fly business class long haul on Finnair. The service and quality of food on that short, three hour leg had me look to this leg with anticipation. The fact that I was going to try Finnair’s Premium Lounge was an added benefit.

We got to the airport around 2-and-half hours before our scheduled departing time; check in was quite busy for economy (and security lines rather long!), but thanks to our business class tickets we were through in maybe 15 minutes.

Business class check in area

Business class check in area

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Helsinki’s airport is small, which makes for great connecting times. After a short walk we were at immigration, which has e-gates for EU and select passports from non-EU countries. You gotta love Finnish efficiency!

After another five minutes we reached Finnair lounges in the non-Schengen side. There are to lounges, one for business class ticket holders and one for oneworld Emerald and Sapphire customers (the “Premier Lounge”).

The desk attendant was very friendly and we quickly gained admission to the Premier Lounge. Let me just say: it was really nice! The décor is entirely Nordic – stylish yet minimalistic, with white tones dominating the scene.

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As you enter, the buffet area is on the right, with a lot of seating space all around and a quiet area up a few stairs (overlooking the tarmac). The lounge wasn’t particularly busy at this time, as most Finnair flights to Asia leave in the late afternoon while the JFK flight leaves at 1pm. One of the good features of the lounge was the kid’s room – Scandinavians really care about how they raise their children, something I admire a lot now that I am a dad!

The food at the buffet was varied but distinctively Finnish: there were little amuse-bouche appetizers (including fish liver, fish roe, etc.), plus a nice selection of hot food. The drink menu was extensive, and the champagne was the same that AY serves on board – Nicolas Fouilatte.

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I love how Finnair proudly partners with Marimekko – one of the great Finnish brands! As you might know, Finland is renowned for its modern design that spans from architectural wonders (think Alvar Aalto) to houseware (think Iittala). Marimekko, with its printed patterns, if probably my favorite brand, and the latest partnership with Finnair simply works great.

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After having a small lunch I decided to go check out the showers area. There was no attendant on duty, but I also was the only passenger there. I like the shower stalls – clean, with lots of helpful amenities. I then checked the sauna out, and since the place was completely empty…. I changed myself and enjoyed some Finnish warmth before showering and getting back to the lounge. As you can easily imagine, that set the mood for the flight just right.

Lunch

Lunch

You might or might not know, but Finland actually invented the sauna. In Finnish, saunoa is a verb for “to take a sauna”. Traditionally, birch tree fronds are used to gently pat one’s back gently (there’s a verb for that too). Each condo has one or more sauna, that families book once a week to enjoy this awesome and beneficial ritual in all privacy. It’s a great thing, if you ask me (even better if it’s by one of the many lakes in the gorgeous Finnish countryside!).

"Spa" area

“Spa” area

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Shower room

Shower room

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Sauna changing room

Sauna changing room

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This is it!

This is it!

In any case, I was feeling fully restored by now, and ten minutes after going back to the lounge we started to make our way to the plane.

Overall, this was a gorgeous lounge, with great food and a fantastic feature: the sauna. If you compare this lounge with other oneworld lounges across Europe, Finnair’s beats BA’s or IB’s hands down. When Finns decide to do something, they certainly do it well.

2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Little Miss Traveller / Feb 2 2016 11:02 am

    Completely agree, it is a joy travelling through Helsinki’s Vantaa airport!

  2. Sartenada / Apr 5 2016 5:06 am

    Nice talk about my ex-airline. Thank You.

    Happy and safe travels!

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