Finnair AY1337 Helsinki – London Heathrow – BUSINESS CLASS/Airbus A330
AY1337 Helsinki Vantaa Airport to London Heathrow Terminal 3
Finnair, 2L, Business Class
80 Tier Points Earned, 2,260 Avios Earned
I boarded the waiting Airbus A330 – nervously waiting for what product I would get aboard. Well. anticipation mostly.
But also I got this wide shot that I’m rather proud of.
Sadly, turning left when greeted aboard I was greeted with the older product. This time, we have the Thomson Vantage seats. These allow airlines to go for density, with up to a five across configuration in business class in a wide-body.
At the seat were a bottle of water and some headphones.
At least the legroom was more than acceptable.
A massive seat console.
Down the cabin
Whilst the seat itself was cleaned, it was clear that the seat was a few generations old – to put it mildly. And it has seen more than its fair share of use and abuse over the years.
The seat is dressed in appropriate cooling nordic colours.
There is plenty of room in the seat, however, there are signs the aircraft is not in the best of states, as the IFE system was offline for that length of the cabin, with the cabin crew offering to reseat me if I wanted a screen .
It is not the end of the world for a segment like this, but it shows the cabin needs… more than a little loving care. In addition, the massage motor was sounding rough, to the point the moment I switched it on, I switched it straight off. Thankfully these are the reasons why we’re going to see the AirLounge Seat on these aircraft.
The other reason these seats are coming to the Airbus A350? An order for 8 aircraft wasn’t enough. Collins Aerospace needed a few more shipsets…
With a reasonably full cabin going to London this afternoon the aircraft loaded up on time, and soon we were pushing back
Remember what on-time departures look like? I’ve forgotten mostly, but on the clock, the Airbus A330 pushed back from its home base.
With that, the safety demonstration was carried out – again with the cabin crew demonstrating the emergency lighting and pointing out exits during the video.
With that completed, the crew returned to their seats as we were making fast progress to the runway.
All the tails
Finnar (Norra) ATR72-500
Norwegian Air Shutle Boeing 737-800 landing.
With a roar, the Airbus A330 took to the air for the short flight to Heathrow.
As I would have no screen to look at a map whilst the aircraft was in the air (and I’m not swapping a window seat for an aisle seat with a working screen, I headed to the inflight wifi portal.
Again, this is the same Panasonic system that we used on the outbound leg, with Finnair installing its Nordic Sky Portal on top. This part handles the payment processing (and allows payment via points or AliPay, as well as the normal credit cards).
For business class passengers, they offer an hour of free internet connection – which is always nice to see and use.
Connectivity was what I expected on this connection – reasonably fast download speeds, but slow uploads.
In addition, I tried to do a few streaming tests – with none of the sites I tried allowing streaming.
That I can understand with the system installed, however, it would be nice if there was a notice of what was allowed through the system,
With the aircraft in the air, the crew began their in-flight service. This was a three-part service, with drinks service, meal and post-meal beverages.
I started traditional this time. Because, well, champagne is never a bad idea as someone once said. Hot towels were offered too.
Lunch was a strange combination. For a starter, there’s a goat cheese thing. The main meal was a curried prawn dish, served with pasta that had a little too much oil served with them.
A packaged cake was given as dessert on the tray.
Meanwhile, bread was offered – this time, I went with a more normal roll.
I am not sure what the meal planners were on, but this was not the greatest meal on an aircraft ever. The prawn curry was a brave, but good choice, but I think we can see how much oil the pasta was sitting in, which just made it slimly and not pleasant. A better pairing might have been rice for that sort of meal (or a piece of nice naan bread).
Again – if you did not book a veggie or special meal, you were plumb out of luck.
I have come to accept the pre-packaged cake – that is nothing too offensive, and neither is the salad. But the main meal – was pretty much a bust here.
With another drinks run, I was tempted toward Mothers Ruin – or Gin at last. Onboard, they offer a Rye-based Gin by Kyro Distillery. This was served with Fever Tree tonic.
I am not a Gin expert (and I’m not starting now – I have enough bankrupting hobbies as it stands, but it tastes rather nice.
I could get used to this – but not at my bank balance levels.
The flight progressed, as I tried to get comfortable on this Vantage seat. It is reasonably sized, but compared to modern designs, it is missing more than a few curves compared to modern designs. Whilst the seat is designed for density (in its five-across configuration, the design was not taking advantage of the room (for example, the passenger console is massive).
As for the small room, well, it is a small room in the air. At least there is a window view. Try to remember to close the blind when on the ground, though.
The flight tracked towards London, passing some old sights on the way that I recognized.
With the winds low, arrivals from Heathrow we being received on 9L – necessitating the aircraft fly out past London and towards reading before looping back for Heathrow.
With ease, the Airbus A330 landed at Heathrow Airport.
Welcome to Heathrow
At first, things looked good after landing. The aircraft taxied off the runway and headed to the Terminal 3 complex. It then taxied past the parked aircraft, waiting their turns later – including a Qantas Airbus A380 (A sight that never gets old).
However, after passing that, we were parked in a penalty spot, as there was no gate for us.
It got better. The captain came on and announced that there would be a 30-minute delay for a gate. In response, the pilot turned off the seat belt sign to allow people to walk around and use the facilities. That is the first time I’ve seen that happen aboard an aircraft for 15 minutes whilst ground-stopped at Heahtrow.
Titan Airways Airbus A321P2F
Lufthansa A320neo taxing past
British Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner starting its takoff run
SAS Airbus A320neo
Kuwait Airways Boeing 777-300ER
I took the time to get my baggage out of the overhead locker and at my feet for a “quick” getaway when we landed.
This was annoying. But I got my bags down. Well, there was not much else I could do.
The delay carried on. Eventually, the captain put the safety belt sign back on, with people returned to their seats. A few minutes later we started to move, with the aircraft taxing past one of the far arms of Terminal 3, before coming to a halt again.
Movement at last.
Out of the window, I could see an American Airlines Boeing 777 preparing for pushback. Is Heathrow that constrained, to the point that we’re being moved on stand where an aircraft is waiting for that to depart?
Is that… no…
Turns out that gate usage was that constrained, with the 777 pushing back and being directed to one side of the taxiway, whilst our aircraft taxied into the waiting gate.
Thanks for vacating the gate.
Of course, being at the gate meant there was no one from the handling agent meeting the aircraft. So it was another 5 minutes before the jetbridge drove up to meet the aircraft.
Disembarkation was again controlled – with economy class passengers kept back to allow business class passengers off the aircraft first.
I thanked the crew and headed off into the heat of Heathrow Airport.
Overall: Oh, dear. Whilst the crew were great, that Airbus A330 was not in what I would call the best condition, with faulty IFE and seats that had seen far better days. Combined with a meal that could best be described as “oily”, I’m struggling to find many positives apart from the crew being nice.
It’s a sign that the A330s desperately need the AirLounge product installed on them as a matter of urgency, rather than as and when with the general lack of care the aircraft have had.
And whilst this is more than acceptable for a 2 to 3-hour segment (considering the airline operates narrowbody aircraft with extra space economy seats normally), on the routes these types of aircraft are normally employed on (Transatlantic or routes to Asia)., it will not offer the best impression of the airline (especially when the A350 product beats the pants off this, let alone AirLounge).
A case of “must do better” here.
Next: Heathrow Omnishambles.
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