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Transport : Airlines

Related: Airbus, Finnair

On October 12th 2015, I flew Business Class in a brand new Finnair Airbus A350-900 XWB (Extra Wide Body) from Brussels Aiport (BRU) in Belgium to Helsinki Vantaa Airport (HEL) in Finland. I have also reviewed business class on Finnair A330.

Qatar Airways and Vietnam Airlines also operate the new Airbus A350 aircraft, but Finnair is the first European airline to put this brand new aircraft into service. I loved the brilliant A350 Finnair experience even more so than the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Facts & Figures About The Airbus A350 Wxb
The A350 XWB is the world’s most technologically advanced commercial aircraft, competing with both the Boeing 787 and the Boeing 777. 70% of the airframe is made from  materials combining composites (53%), titanium and modern aluminum alloys. Composite materials are corrosion and fatigue free, while titanium is a lightweight and corrosion-resistant substitute for steel. Eco-smart design brings more than 25% improvement in fuel efficiency. Advanced pure air filtration changes cabin air every 2–3 minutes. The A350 XWB is powered by the new Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, generating 25% lower CO2 emissions and The wings of the A350 XWB change their shape while airborne to reduce fuel burn. Cabin air pressure, which is closer to the sea level air pressure, make the flight more enjoyable and less tiring for passengers. Finally, the diameter of the A350 XWB Roll-Royce Trent XWB engine is the same as the diameter of the Concorde fuselage. They are big engines!

Business Class Cabin Review
Finnair Airbus A350 XWB’s s is dominated by calming white and grey colours with some subtile blue accents and a fresh Nordic style that is light and spacious. In addition, the large panoramic view windows allow a lot of natural light into the cabin. The dynamic mood LED lighting, can be changed according to the time of day, destination or even season to create a relaxing flight experience. A warm orange glow is used to suggest an Asian ambience on flights to the Far East, while cool Nordic blue shades resembling the Northern lights will mostly set the mood as the plane approaches Helsinki.

The Finnair Airbus A350 XWB has 297 seats: 46 in Business Class, 43 in Economy Comfort Class, and 208 in Economy Class. The 46 Business Class seats are spread over 2 cabins: a large Business Class cabin with 32 seats (in 8 rows) at the front while a smaller and more intimate Business Class cabin with only 14 seats (in 4 rows) is located in front of the Economy Comfort cabin. Both Business Class cabins are divided by the main boarding door, a galley and 2 lavatories.

Business Class seats are arranged in a 1-2-1 alignment, ensuring direct aisle access for all seats. The Business Class seats on the sides are angled toward the window (about 2 windows per seat, offering great views), while the seats in the middle are angled towards each other. If you are traveling alone and end up in one of the middle seats, there’s nothing to worry about as you will barely see your neighbor.

Business Class Seats
For its Airbus A350 XWB, Finnair some of the best Business Class seats in the skies. Similar seats can be found on Cathay Pacific, American Airlines, EVA Air and more recently Air France. Qatar Airways also use a similar seat type on their Boeing 787s and Airbus A380/350s. However, none of these airlines (except Qatar) combines these seats with a crisp and bright cabin design like Finnair.

All Business Class seats are the same with a 180 degree recline. Each seat comes with plenty of storage space. Next to the seat are the seat and entertainment controls, a reading light, a universal power supply outlet, and a multi-port connector with an RCA port, an iPhone/iPod connector a USB port. The seats feature a tray table in addition to a work surface so you can eat and work at the same time. There is also a footrest in front of every seat.

The seat reclines to a very comfortable, fully flat-bed. The flat-bed is just over 2 metres (82 inches) long and the side compartment offers knee space for sleeping on your side.

What are the best Business Class seats on Finnair’s Airbus A350 XWB?
The seats in row 9 to 12 are located in their own little private cabin and are therefore highly recommended. Lone travellers choose window seats. For those travelling in pairs the middle seats offer the best arrangement for  conversation.

What are the worst Business Class seats on Finnair’s Airbus A350 XWB?
Seats in row 1, 8 and 10 are close to the potentially noisy kitchen area. The last row of Business Class, row 12, is also worth avoiding as it is in front of to Economy bassinet seats.

Amenity Kit
This was a short flight so no amenity kit was provided. However, Finnair displayed some example amenity kits in Business Class. They feature distinctive Marimekko prints and contain eye shade, earplugs, toothbrush and toothpaste, a Clarins moisturizer and lip balm.

Food
A lunch was served 30 minutes after take off. The Finnair meal was tasty. The starter was country paté with apple chutney, the entrée was chicken with a delicious tomato/curry sauce. Dessert was a Finnish pastry filled with blueberry compote.

Entertainment
Finnair developed an impressive inflight entertainment system. The Nordic Sky entertainment system has a wide selection of new and classic movies and unique channels from the BBC, the National Geographic Channel, and the Discovery Channel. The cameras installed in the tail and belly of the plane are worth watching, especially at take-off and landing. The flight tracking is superb.

Internet
Business Class passengers, Finnair Plus Gold and Platinum members, and Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members enjoy full internet access FREE of charge, while Economy Class passengers can purchase it either by the hour or for the duration of the flight. Internet worked well during the flight.

In other relevant points, the crew on Finnair were excellent with stylish Nordic uniforms and the Finnair Airbus A350 in Business Class unusually had a dedicated Ladies’ Room which was stocked with cosmetics and other supplies. I was thoroughly impressed by this Finnair Business Class offering – it is a new favourite.

See which other airlines fly the Airbus A350. You may be interested in my other airline reviews and airport lounge reviews.

Review by my friends at Luxury Travel Expert

Finnair