Finnair is not your average European carrier. A noteworthy and service-oriented airline based in Helsinki, Finnair is truly a remarkable example of what flying can be for those who pay attention to the details that can take an aviation company from good to great. Finland’s flagship air carrier has recently introduced their Airbus A350 XWB (extra wide body) jets to the American market with non-stop service between New York to Helsinki, linking America’s eastern seaboard with Scandinavia and beyond.
Finnair’s unique and interesting ethos in flying has made an impact on the industry and they have proven to be a leader in the market. Placing an order for 19 Airbus A350 XWB jets, the airline has become the first airline in Europe to offer flights on these newly designed, comfortable and game-changing aircrafts. By making this sizeable investment, Finnair has shown the North American market, and American market in particular, that they are serious about providing nothing but the best for their customers.
I was a recent passenger on the new planes debuting in New York. I had seen Finnair’s plans for the aircraft from a prior experience with them at their headquarters in Helsinki. Nearly two years ago they announced their push towards the new Airbus offering, and showed me how they planned to construct the interior of these fantastic new jets. I spoke, in-depth, to the designers of the cabins on-board, and was able to gain insight into Finnair’s moves in the future. Now, the future is present, and I was able to witness their hard work in motion as I flew across the Atlantic from New York to Helsinki, and on to St. Petersburg, inside the new plane.
Boarding from JFK’s terminal 8, I was invited on-board early to get comfortable. I stowed my belongings easily in the very large overhead compartments. I took my seat in the business class cabin designed by Vertti Kivi, a renowned Finnish designer who was charged with the mission of making this aircraft one of the most comfortable and beautiful in the sky. Mission accomplished.
Pre-flight I was offered a glass of champagne in the airline’s signature Iittala glasses, my absolute favorite glassware in the Ultima Thule design. The glass is reminiscent of Finnish Lapland’s rough and icy terrain – and it’s a beautiful touch while flying to Finland. The courteous crew welcomed me on-board and I placed my order for dinner.
The new business class cabin aboard the Airbus A350XWB has been designed for privacy as well as to help you adjust to your new time zone. Soft, colorful mood lights flicker softly – echoing the Northern Lights Finland is famous for. I ordered from a menu curated with delicious Nordic influenced food options – choices ranging from pan-roasted chicken with leek fondue, grilled beef with broccoli or fresh rigatoni with red pepper sauce. I chose the chicken. It was delicious. I finished dinner with a glass of Nicolas Feuillatte Brut and ice cream.
After my meal, I reclined my pod seat into a full 180-degree bed, covered myself with the Finnish-designed Marimekko comforter and drifted off. The flying time on the new planes from New York to Helsinki is roughly 7 hours and 30 minutes. I secretly wish it were a bit longer as to have more time in this fabulous cabin.
Before landing, I was gently woken up by a flight attendant at the time I specified on my breakfast card. I was given a warm croissant with smoked salmon, landing at 7:00 am. I deplaned and headed straight to the well-equipped Finnair lounge at Helsinki’s Vantaa Airport. The lounge offers breakfast, snacks and drinks to enjoy while waiting for your connection. My flight to St. Petersburg was only an hour after landing, but the lounge is perfect for those making pit stops on their way to Asia or other destinations in Europe. I grabbed a coffee and made my easy connection to Russia.
I have to say that Finnair has always held a special place in my heart. And, now that the new planes are in the New York market, it only enhances these feelings. The airline offers direct flights from New York to Helsinki, daily, as well as from Miami, Chicago and Toronto. You can easily connect at Helsinki’s well-planned airport to other destinations in Europe and Asia. In fact, their connecting routes to Asia (Tokyo, Osaka, Hanoi, Beijing, Seoul and others) are some of the fastest on the planet from North America.
Be sure not to miss Finnair’s offerings in the sky. Whether you know them or think you know them, their new investments and offerings with the Airbus A350 XWB will please you. In my opinion, they’re not easy to beat.