Finnair A330, Helsinki-London, Economy Comfort

Introduction

After an enjoyable few hours in the lounge, it was time to head back to London.

Since British Airways cut back to just a single daily flight between London and Helsinki, Finnair have taken advantage of this. They had previously offered the A350 wide body on the morning flight. Now, in addition, they serve the afternoon flight with an A330 aircraft.

The gate was a short walk, and I arrived just as it was opening. This didn’t stop a family barging their way past though on their way to the front of the priority line… only to be processed and then sent in the direction of the regular boarding area.


This Trip:


AY1337
Helsinki – London Heathrow
Airbus A330 OY-LTT
Seat 21A
December 2019

Boarding

Finnair and Helsinki does priority boarding reasonably well. There are two completely separate gate areas for groups 1 and 2, meaning that nobody in groups 3 and 4 can chance their luck. 

Boarding itself wasn’t really announced as such. The glass door to the jet bridge automatically opened and the priority boarding area was free to board. At least that’s what I assume was going on anyway. I just followed the crowd.

Finnair A330

Upon reaching my seat, I found that I had pretty much unlimited legroom.

Finnair A330 cabin
Finnair A330 cabin

Finnair has two layouts on their A330 fleet. And their A350 fleet for that matter. This differed from the example I flew on previously by being one of three aircraft fitted with a smaller business class cabin.

Although that’s where my luck ended. As it turned out, I was one of the few people in the front section of the aircraft to have a seat mate. Who just happened to be wearing the worlds biggest coat. 

Finnair A330 cabin

Due to some heavy headwinds, our flying time was announced as 2h40. We were held on stand for more than a few minutes due to waiting for some connecting passengers. 

Whilst we waited, I was given the standard welcome on board from the purser. 

Once the final few passengers arrived, the doors were closed – just a few minutes behind schedule. Although we then sat on stand for a further 20 minutes.

Departure

Pushback came 20 minutes behind schedule.

A 20 minute taxi followed, and we departed into the rain behind a Qatar A350 at 16:40.

Finnair A330 Departure
Finnair A330 departure

Onboard Service

The onboard service started around 20 minutes after departure. I was offered some “champagne on the house”, but as I was driving on arrival, I had to stick to something less adventurous. 

IFE

Finnair provide their in flight entertainment system for use on European flights. On this A330, the screens were a little old, but they functioned well enough. 

Finnair A330 IFE

Content wise, there wasn’t the biggest selection of films to watch. As such, I relied on my own entertainment, like most of my other flights. 

Finnair A330 IFE

Finnair do fit cameras to their A330 aircraft and they are accessible via the IFE. Although with this flight being entirely in darkness, there wasn’t too much to see. 

Finnair A330 departure

WiFi was also offered, and the pricing was identical to that found on the A350. The map function was offered for free though.

Finnair A330 cabin

Arrival

For much of the flight, I slept. Once I woke up, we were halfway across the North Sea, with around 30 minutes left to run.

finnair A330 skymap

In theory at least. Being Heathrow, there was always the chance of some holding. None was mentioned by the captain during his pre arrival speech. As it turned out, there wasn’t any holding needed, so we were more or less straight in – via a half loop before swinging on to finals.

Being a reasonably clear evening in London, there were some good views of the city on approach.

A330 landing

After a journey over to the opposite side of the airport, we came to a stop just short of the gate. As is seemingly standard practice, this was the signal for more than a few people to stand up. I guess they didn’t want to miss their stop…

Once we got going again, we arrived on to stand a good 30 minutes behind schedule. With the 20 minute delay at Helsinki, we actually lost time rather than made any up on this flight.

Verdict

Another very solid flight with Finnair. In my opinion, they are the strongest OneWorld airline in Europe. The crew were professional, personable and friendly. One minor niggle is that their A330’s could do with a bit of a refurbishment. Whilst they aren’t bad, there is a very big contrast between them and the airlines new A350 aircraft.


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