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Transport : Airlines

Related: Airbus, Finnair

In this trip report, I review the Finnair Airbus A330-300 in Business Class from Helsinki (Finland) to Phuket in 2015. While Finnair’s Airbus A330s still features a decent and above average Business Class product with comfortable lie flat seats, it pales in comparison to the Business Class product that is offered on the Finnair Airbus A350.

Finnair is part of the Oneworld Alliance. Its hub, Helsinki Vantaa Airport, is a very efficient place for a transit (all the gates and services are located under one roof, with a minimal connecting time of only 35 minutes). Flying Finnair is your best choice if you want to vacation in sun-drenched Thailand, since they are the only European airline to have scheduled flights (from November to April) to both Phuket and Krabi, in addition to their daily Bangkok flights.

Finnair does not feature in my top 10 list of best Business Class airlines but still offers an excellent business class product.

As a Oneword Emerald member, I had access to both the original Finnair non-Schengen airport lounge and the Finnair Premium lounge which are both located between gates 36 and 37 my flight boarded from gate 36).

Business Class Cabin
Finnair’s Airbus A330s come in 3 layouts. On this flight, there were 46 Business Class seats spread over 2 cabins: a large Business Class cabin with 32 seats (in 8 rows) located behind the cockpit, and a smaller and more intimate Business Class cabin with only 13 seats (in 3 rows) located in front of the Economy Comfort cabin. Both Business Class cabins were divided by the main boarding door, a galley and a lavatory.

The design of the Business Class cabin looks fresh, airy and trendy with a predominantly soft blue colour scheme and some green touches.

The Business Class seats were placed in a staggered configuration, where the foot compartment for each seat is located between and under the seats in front. The same layout can be found on Brussels Airlines’ A330, Austrian Airlines’ B777, SWISS’ Airbus A330/A340, Delta’s B767, and American’s B767.

The staggered Business Class cabin configuration on this A330 plane was made up from 15 single seats, while the remaining 22 seats came in pairs. All seats enjoy decent privacy as none of the rows quite lined up. Most seats also have direct aisle access, except for the paired window seats.

Business Class Seat Review
All Business Class seats on Finnair’s revamped Business Class cabin share the same characteristics: 152 cm (60 inches) in pitch, a width of 53 cm (21 inch), and a 180-degree recline. All seats have at one large work surface on the side. Some seats feature this work space on both sides (a ‘throne seat’). Within that work surface, you will find the seat controls to adjust the seat position (from take-off position to fully flat). You can also adjust the seat cushion since Finnair’s Business Class seats are not made of the customary plastic foam, but instead, the seat cushions have air-filled chambers. With one press on the button, you can either soften or firm up the seat cushion according to your liking, as well as activate its integrated massage function. On the side of the seat, there’s also a power port with international adapters, a personal reading lamp (at eye level), and the meal tray. In front of the seat, you will find a large entertainment screen with the foot compartment below.

In front of the Business Class seat, there was a 15 inches (38 centimetres) entertainment screen which can be skewed and adjusted in brightness. It was controlled via remote control in the seat or by touch. The entertainment program itself was great, with a large collection of movies and TV programs. The cameras installed in the nose and belly of the Airbus also offered some fun moments.

The seat is comfortable when you are sitting upright, but although it’s a 180 degree recline, the seat (and your lower legs) descends into a space carved out for it in the seat(s) in front, below your entertainment screen. This foot compartment is quite small, making it hard to switch position during your sleep while not waking up, as your legs will constantly hit the walls. In addition, in its lie flat position, the seat is low, just 45 cm (17 inch) above the floor, making it quite difficult to get in and out. They are not the most comfortable lie flat seats in the sky, especially when compared to the superb lie flat seats on Finnair’s newest Airbus A350 planes.

What are the best Business Class seats on Finnair’s Airbus A330?
Looking at the seatmap or seatplan, the best seats for solo travelers are the single seats. Single throne seats offer more space (but are less comfortable for sleeping) and can be found in positions 2A, 4A, 6A, and 8A. Travel companions should go for the paired window seats in rows 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9, (I always like to travel by the window).

What are the worst Business Class seats on Finnair’s Airbus A330s?
I suggest avoiding the window seats in row 1 because of the proximity to the galley and the lavatory. I also suggest avoiding the window seats in row 7, since they lack a window.

A green blanket, a green pillow, noise cancelling headphones, and an amenity kit were provided. The kit bag featured the distinctive Marimekko prints and contained essential inflight items including an eye shade, toothbrush and toothpaste, and Clarins moisturizer and lip balm. Socks, shaving kit, mouthwash, hairbrush, makeup remover wipes.

Food
Before takeoff, I was offered a choice of welcome drinks: orange juice, water, or Champagne. A small, hot towel was provided to all Business Class passengers shortly after take-off.

Finnair offers a Signature Menu (using local and organic foods) in Business Class, which was created by Helsinki-based Executive Chef de Cuisine of Restaurant Savoy, Kari Aihinen. Mixed nuts were served as an amuse bouche. Next, the starter and main course were both served at once on a single tray. The food was good but the presentation was uninspiring. As a starter, I had the smoked reindeer mousse with lingonberry coulis. It tasted ok. As a main course, I choose the roasted chicken breast, sweet potato mash, broccoli, and honey mustard sauce, which tasted good. Dessert was a Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream The food was decent but not mindblowing.

90 minutes prior to landing, while flying over the Bay of Bangal, breakfast was served. It consisted of an omelette with smoked salmon, rosti potato with cream cheese, and creamy spinach which. It was ok but again, nothing special.

Bar
The plane had a small walk-up bar, where Business Class fliers could graze between meals. There was a selection of sandwiches, pastries, yoghurt, ice cream, fruit, and/or a chocolate.

Onboard WiFi is currently not offered on Finnair’s fleet of Airbus A330/A340s (while it is available for free for Business Class passengers on the airlines’ new flagship Airbus A350 planes).

You may be interested in my other airline reviews and airport lounge reviews including my review of Business Class on the Finnair A350.

Review by my friends at Luxury Travel Expert

Finnair