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February 24, 2016 / oneworld82

From Ultima Thule to Marimekko: Finnair Business Class equals Nordic style! (HEL-JFK)

Flight

Flight AY5, HEL-JFK

2:10p – 3:55p, Nov 14th, 2015

Airbus A330-300

Business Class, Seat 5H

My wife and I were seated in two of the middle seats, around the central part of the cabin (I forgot the actual seat numbers). Finnair has a staggered business class product, similar to what Swiss Air Lines has. The product doesn’t look as good as Iberia’s, especially in terms on modern feel and overall space, but it’s a good hard product that allows passengers traveling together to be close to each other and passengers traveling alone to have good privacy. My only complain would be that the tv screens are rather small.

At our seat we found amenity kits, blankets, and slippers waiting for us – all Marimekko-branded! Pretty nifty, if you ask me.

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After settling down the flight attendant came by to greet us, and then she took our coats away and offered a pre-departure drink. I opted for some of the bubbly stuff – Nicolas Feuillatte again (champagne of choice for AY).

I played around with my seat a bit – I appreciated the easy-to-access power ports and the overall feeling to the cabin.

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We pushed back right on time, and we were soon en route to NYC, for an expected flight time just under 8 hrs. Helsinki airport is rather small, which makes for quick taxiing and take off times – not a small feat. As soon as we reached cruising altitude, the industrious crew started working behind the scene to prepare lunch and drinks.

Orders were taken from a menu that read as follows:

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It was a remarkable menu, with lots of very Finnish options. The wine list was good, with a good selection of wines from all over the World (from Spain to France to Canada). As main course, I couldn’t pass on the chance to have some more reindeer, whose meat I simply love.

Drinks were offered shortly after, and I went for the Sky High drink, a mix of champagne and (ever present) blueberry liquor (Finland has plenty of berries and Finns love ‘em all!), served in Iittala Ultima Thule glasses. The drink was very sweet, not my favorite, but I finished it all anyways.

Drinks cart

Drinks cart

Finnair serves amuse bouches in business class, which in this case was vendace roe mousse with toasted rye bread – it was sensational!

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Amuse bouche

Amuse bouche

As appetizer, I went for the crayfish soup, which was served with a green salad and a choice of bread. The soup was very good and not too creamy.

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After the appetizers, the crew took away our trays and exchanged them with clean ones…! Now that’s great service! Also, the crew offered drinks during the appetizer course, and twice during the main course service. Very impressive!

As I mentioned earlier, I opted for the reindeer as main course. It was stewed, served with veggies. It was delicious! I was expecting hard and rubbery meat (reindeer is very lean and best enjoyed rare or medium rare), but the meat was actually super tender! A true delight to my palate!

Reindeer

Reindeer

Ravioli

Ravioli

Food portions were good and by the end of the entrée I was full – but I decided to go for dessert as well – cheese to be specific. These included Peltolan Blue Cheese – it was great, and I washed everything down with a glass of Vidal Icewine.

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To close off this great meal I had a cup of coffee, accompanied by some macarons.

Coffee and treats

Coffee and treats

Overall, I was impressed by the quality of food served by Finnair (wines were ok, nothing too memorable) and by the service, that was top notch (borderline First Class level). The crew’s attentiveness was remarkable, and really added to the overall experience.

After my meal I lied down, watching TV and napping the food and wine off. The IFE selection was ok – nothing out of the ordinary, and the seat was comfortable in lie-flat position (but not the best I tried).

IFE

IFE

Comfy bed

Comfy bed

Reading light

Reading light

Around 4 hours before landing, my wife got hungry (she was almost seven months pregnant, after all!), and so we raided the self-service snack area in the galley (and we ordered some ramen noodles as well). The selection of snacks was good, and the ramen were just ramen, although the FA was not very familiar with instant-noodle preparation, as she forgot to hand us the flavoring packet.

Self-service snack area

Self-service snack area

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About 90 minutes before landing, a second meal was offered. This consisted of a prawn salad, which was tasty and light at the same time.

Time to eat (some more)!

Time to eat (some more)!

Prawn salad

Prawn salad

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The salad was served with some fruit, and afterwards a warm cinnamon roll was offered. Another good, little meal we had here!

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We ended up landing 20 minutes early, and we were very quickly through an almost empty immigration, on our way back to Dallas.

The only problem we encountered was with my wife’s seat, that halfway through the flight decided to stop working, and would not come up in a vertical position anymore. Luckily the seat in front was empty, so the flight attendant moved her there, but that spoiled our experience a little in the latter part of the flight.

Overall, though, this was a very good flight. The food and service were top-notch, and while the seat on the A333’s is not state-of-the-art anymore, the new seat on the A350 definitely brings Finnair in the top league when it comes to long-haul business class service.

Kudos to them for delivering a great overall experience!

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