After a productive layover in Copenhagen, it was time for my brief flight to Helsinki, where I would be spending the night. Other than a misplaced meal expectation, my Finnair A321 business class flight was quick and smooth.
Finnair A321 Business Class Review [CPH-HEL]
I booked this flight as part of my 70,000-mile one-way ticket from Doha to Chicago I outlined here.
After departing the Aviator Apartment Business Lounge, I walked over to the nearby A gates where my flight would depart from.
We boarded just 25 minutes before scheduled departure, but there were not more than 40 people on the flight.
Copenhagen (CPH) – Helsinki (HEL)
Wednesday, March 9
Depart: 8:40 AM
Arrive: 11:15 AM
Duration: 01hr, 35min
Distance: 556 miles
Aircraft: Airbus A321
Seat: 3A (Business Class)
Welcoming me onboard, a flight attendant inspected my boarding pass and greeted me in Finnish.
If you’re expecting premium seats in intra-Eureopan business class on Finnair you will be disappointed. Instead, like most European carriers, business class is the same seat as economy class, with a blocked middle seat. The upside to that approach, at least from the airline perspective, is that the business class cabin can be variable – if more economy class or more business class seats are needed, the divider and curtain between cabins can simply be moved forward to backward.
Although eight rows had been blocked for business class, so I ended up with the entire row to myself. Finnair uses the Recaro slimline seat on its A321s you’ll find on Austrian, Lufthansa, SWISS, and SAS (among others). The first nine rows do have 32 inches of legroom, while rows 11 to 23 only have 30. Interestingly (at least according to AeroLopa), in rows 25-36, the ABC seats have an extra inch of legroom (31 inches) versus the DEF seats. Unlike my friend Zach Griff, I did not bring the measuring tape, especially considering it was a short flight in intra-Europe J.
There are coat hooks, but no in-seat power.
We left behind a very cloudy morning in Copenhagen but soon were in the bright morning sun.
Food + Drink
We took off on time and a hot towel followed by breakfast was served shortly after. I’ve been on quite a few Finnair flights and business class passengers have always been served a hot meal. I assumed, like Austrian Airlines, that one of the Finnair touches was a hot meal on all flights. But perhaps not within Scandinavia, as my flight only featured a cold breakfast (unless you count the warm croissant).
- cold cheese and meat slices (turkey and salami)
- fresh-cut fruit
The presentation left much to be desired (especially the fruit served in a plastic container), but looked better when “cleaned up.”
As always on Finnair, I enjoyed a glass of blueberry juice and had a couple cups of coffee, which was strong, as well as a bottle of water.
Note that while you can expect the same type of meal if you take this route today, Finnair recently refreshed its tableware and (sadly) removed both the Iittala Ultima Thule glassware and the Marimekko crockery. I have no idea why, but that’s a topic for another time…
IFE + Wi-Fi
There is no in-flight-entertainment screens (beyond the moving map overhead), but wi-fi was available. Business class passengers received 30 minutes free, which was more than enough for the brief flight. A pass would have cost €4.95 for low-speed and €10.95 for high-speed.
We landed to a very snowy day in Helsinki, where I had not even booked a hotel yet.
This flight (and hopefully not this review) was about as boring as boring could be. And that’s a good thing for a 556-mile flight on a nippy winter morning. Sure, I would have liked a hot meal but for such a short flight, the meal service was more than adequate. Would I pay extra for Euro business class? Generally not, but I enjoy it when I have it. While this flight was empty in both cabins, the extra space in business class (even with the same seats) makes a difference when the flight is full.