AY1337 – Helsinki Airport to London Heathrow Terminal 3
Do it for level points
AY1337 Helsinki-Vantaa Airport to London Heathrow Terminal 3
Finnair, 1A, business class
80 Tier Points earned, 2,260 Avios earned
I was welcomed on board the Airbus A350 waiting for me and turned left again.
I like this style of shot.
Here we are…
This left-turning malarky is fun. Unfortunately, I had started over and had the old Safran (Zodiac) Cirrus seats.
Ah. Safran/Zodiac interior.
You’d have thought four random segments could have given the new Collins Aerospace AirLounge a single hit – but it looks like it wasn’t going to be seen again this trip.
Sorry folks – I tried and also ran out of great fares to test (although there was a Dubai fare that looked tasty in the future).
Nonetheless, the Cirrus is a good seat – one I’m happy to fly in for an extended period of time. It would have been nice to try out this much-vaunted seat in a medium-haul setting.
As I settled in, as usual, a bottle of water and headphones were waiting for me.
The crew was in a chatty mood, making sure people settled in for the flight. Again, we would leave quite full, with only one seat remaining in the business class cabin.
With everyone on board, the A350 has an on-time departure.
Here we go.
The crew performed the safety demonstration – again it was a delivered video screen, with the crew pointing to the emergency lane exits and lighting.
Our aircraft took a route that passed maintenance and de-icing areas as it headed for the runway.
Look in the hangers
With that, our A350 took to the skies.
Our plane passed Helsinki airport during its climb, as it began to head towards London.
See you soon, Helsinki.
With the plane in the air, the Wi-Fi system was activated. We all know what that means now. The Aperture Science Bandwidth and Stability Lab is now open.
Connectivity on this Panasonic system was as expected. It’s interesting that Finnair chose to put their own splash pages on this product, rather than using a Panasonic-based system.
On the plus side, it allows them to accept payment in alternative currencies – be it points or AliPay.
Performance was spot on – with usage blocks in place (so no streaming tests even though the system is capable of it).
On the plus side, at the time I had done my tests, the crew was performing the hot towel and first drink service.
It’s nice to see this team going through full serve motions here, rather than trying to combine serve – when there’s enough time for full serve delivery.
Lunch service soon followed. This included braised beef with a thin deconstructed potato, with green beans.
Next, there was salmon. I chose rye bread as a nice texture option.
Those with eyes will note that I also selected some bubbles.
The meal provided was quite substantial and well proportioned, the sauce supporting the beef well, while the salmon starter was light, but not fishy.
No desserts were provided on the tray – although I did notice a few sneaky ones later for passengers who requested them.
What did I say about consistency of service?
I hopped on the IFE and spent some time staring out the window as the plane made its way from Helsinki to London.
Not exciting – which for a long-haul flight might be concerning.
The crew performed a duty-free service. I may have participated in it for once – I especially wanted new socks.
So, what does the small room look like on board an A350 in business class? I thought you would never ask.
He stays small. But there is a window to watch the world go by as you go.
The plane made good progress and good weather as it continued on to the arid and pleasant land of England.
With London looming, the plane was cleared to arrive.
The aircraft was routed north of the city, with intended use arriving from the west. But it does give us a view of the city – which is always nice to see.
The flight path took us past Heathrow – quite a fun sight if you’ve never seen the airport from the air.
Conditions were dry enough to see outlines of other airfields as well.
With ease, the plane turns towards Windsor and its target of the Heathrow complex.
Windsor Castle from the sky
Landing at Heathrow, I honestly expected the worst after previous arrivals I’ve had this year – whether parked in a taxiway, parked between two terminals or parked at a penalty spot.
Again we were ahead of Heathrow as we left runway 9L. But we continued to tax, beyond the maintenance hangers that British Airways and Virgin had.
We continued, turning right past new and old at the British Airways hangars.
New and old.
And again we continued our way past Terminal 2. Suddenly the plane started to turn right – by some strange means our plane had been assigned a gate at Heathrow Terminal – without whether it is necessary to wait at all.
To quote Anakin Skywalker “IT’S IMPOSSIBLE”
We had been assigned gate number one – at the end of the pier capable of handling the A380 at Heathrow but for the first time this year that I have passed through the hub – we arrived at a gate early.
Even the cabin crew were shocked at how quickly a gate was assigned to us at Terminal 3, noting that on some recent flights they had to wait for a gate.
At this point I thought my luck was going to break and we would wait for a jetbridge pilot – but no, after the engines died and the baggage hatches opened the jetbridge approached and docked to the plane.
To everyone’s surprise, the door opened.
With that I thanked the cabin crew and got off the plane – mostly in disbelief we had been processed quickly for an arrival.
Globally: A step forward on the outbound segment, although I would have liked to see a consistency in the service that I had seen on my previous flights.
Catering is something that requires pause to think, while a great meal for meat lovers – those on other diets should be sure to book ahead to get them. I have the idea of only loading one set of meals, which reduces waste and costs – but there has to be a middle ground, which doesn’t involve pre-booking meals.
Next: Heathrow amazes, Euston moans, and Rugby is pretty.
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