Finnair’s four youngest Airbus A330-300s feature both a new Business Class seat – a lie-flat bed which angles down to become completely horizontal –...

The flat-bed seats in Finnair’s youngest four A330s are Contour Vantage seats. When the seats are upright for take-off and landing, the seat pitch (pretty irrelevant except for NBA basketball players) is 45 inches (114.3 centimeters).

Bed length is a respectable 79in (200.7cm), the last few inches of it in a hollowed-out cavity under the control console of the seat in front, while the seat width between the armrests is 20.1in (51.1cm) or 22in (55.9cm) depending on the seat.


The lie-flat seats in the Business Class cabins of Finnair’s four youngest A330-300s are 79 inches long when fully reclined

 

Seat width at shoulder level is 21.7in (55.1cm), while bed width at head level is 20in (50.8cm); at shoulder and hip level 20in or 22in, depending on the seat; and bed width at foot level is 11in (27.9cm) or 14in (35.6cm), again depending on the seat.

Before getting to the flight itself, which actually departed a couple of minutes early, I must mention the experience for the long-haul business-class traveler at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.

One slight negative for people who have trouble walking (these days I am one of them) is that all Finnair long-haul flights depart from the non-Schengen area of Terminal 2. This is because you have to go through passport control for flights to countries which aren’t parties to the Schengen Agreement.

Finnair uses seven Airbus A340-300s to perform its longest-haul routes, from Helsinki to destinations in Northern and Southern Asia. From late 2014 or early 2015 some of the A340s are likely to be replaced by new A350-900 long-haul twinjets, of which Finnair had 11 on firm order as of mid-2012, with another eight optioned

 

All check-in counters and security checkpoints for Terminal 2 are located at one end of the terminal and the area where the long-haul, non-Schengen flights depart is at the other end, with the passport control area about a third of the way along between them.

Accordingly, you have to walk quite a long way to get to your gate after exiting the security checkpoint. There are no moving walkways in the building, which is somewhere between quarter and half a mile long. I’m told electric carts are available upon request, but I didn’t see any.

The gate where Finnair’s flight to New York JFK usually departs from is even farther on, in the new Terminal 2 extension which runs perpendicularly to where Terminal 2 originally ended.

The Via Spa in Helsinki Airport’s Terminal 2 extension has a large paddling pool where weary travelers can dip their feet to refresh themselves or cool off after a sauna. Above a line of discreetly blacked-out windows at pool level, the paddling-pool area has windows that look out directly on to the airport ramp, so spa customers using the pool can watch the bustle of ramp activity at their leisure

 

(An irony: After overlooking the Terminal 2 extension and the New York gate from my room in the extremely comfortable Hilton Helsinki Airport that morning, this meant that on the day of my flight I had to walk well over a quarter of a mile from the hotel to check in and then well over a quarter of a mile back again.

I ended up at a point about 50 or 60 yards farther out than the point from which I had started. It’s good, sweat-inducing exercise on a hot day when you have a heavy check-in bag and a heavy carry-on bag, and are carrying duty-free purchases.)

However, once you finally reach the Terminal 2 extension, you are in for a real treat. I wrote a review of Finnair’s new lounge and the huge spa in the Terminal 2 extension when it opened in December 2009, a gala event for which I was present.

While I haven’t used the spa, I did visit it the day before it opened and saw its facilities, which are superb. And I still reckon the Finnair lounge next door is one of the best airport lounges, if not the best, in the world. Only about 30 to 40 yards from any of the gates which Finnair uses for its New York flight, it’s certainly by far the best lounge I have ever visited.

Finnair’s non-Schengen-area lounge in the Terminal 2 extension at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport is spectacular, both in terms of design and in the amenities it offers

 

It is even better in the late morning and early afternoon, when Finnair’s New York flight departs, because the airline has no other long-haul flights departing in the same period.

As a result, the lounge is very peaceful during those hours – in complete contrast to the annoying hubbub that meets the Finnair Business Class traveler at New York JFK Terminal 8 when he or she visits one of American Airlines’ two overcrowded Admirals Club lounges before Finnair’s 5:00 p.m. departure to Helsinki.

Once you board the aircraft, Finnair keeps up the effort to make your Business Class trip pleasant and relaxing. Finnair’s Finnish crews perhaps don’t have quite all the multilingual ease of Swiss International Air Lines’ flight attendants, but on all three Finnair long-haul Business Class flights I have taken, the flight attendants have provided attentive, friendly service of a very high standard.

Operated by Finnair, the Via Lounge in Helsinki Airport's new Terminal 2 extension boasts visually stunning modern Finnish design. The 1,000-square-metre lounge's interior was designed by Finnish firm Isku Interior

The Finnair Lounge in Helsinki Airport’s Terminal 2 extension boasts visually stunning modern Finnish design. The 1,000-square-metre lounge’s interior was designed by Finnish firm Isku Interior

 

However, Finnair’s pilots could do a better job in terms of passenger communication: On none of my Finnair flights did the pilots speak to the passengers more than once through the announcement system during the flight.

To read about Finnair’s Business Class in-flight service, see Page 3

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