My Finnair A330-300 flight to Helsinki was great…once we finally left. Although a delay meant a very late arrival into Helsinki, the flight itself was lovely. Although not the most comfortable or spacious business class seat, I still was quite comfortable onboard. Here’s a review of my flight.
Finnair A330-300 Business Class Review
An Annoying Delay To Start…
The flight was delayed due to industrial action in Helsinki. Per the captain, the ground staff in Helsinki were striking for higher wages. This was back in February, just as concern for the pandemic was beginning to spread beyond China. Little did the airport workers know that the airline industry would soon implode…
Rather than post a three-hour delay, we encountered a rolling delay that was not managed as it should have been…The departure board simply did not update. It kept flashing boarding…as if boarding had actually begun. The Finnair website was also not frequently updated. Thank goodness for Flightradar24 because I quickly found out the plane had left Helsinki late and was an hour away from London! The weather was dreadful in London as well and the flight arrival was delayed even due to the poor Heathrow weather. Finally around 8:20PM the plane landed and I made my way to the gate, which was quite a walk from the Cathay Pacific Lounge in Heathrow Terminal 3.
As I reached the crowded gate area, I saw that the inbound flight was still unloading. With all the chairs occupied, I just stood near the boarding door, hoping it would not be too long.
By 8:45PM, the flight began to board with business class passengers and oneworld emerald members invited to board first. Practically, however, that was not enforced as we were in a boarding pen where they scan your boarding pass and check your passport as you enter, then you are free to board without any further boarding pass check. In other words, especially with the long delay, it was a free-for-all when boarding was called. Thankfully, I had positioned myself to be the first to board and sprinted down the jet bridge to grab some pictures of the cabin.
London (LHR) – Helsinki (HEL)
Wednesday, February 26
Depart: 6:10 PM (9:15 PM actual)
Arrive: 11:00 PM (1:48 AM actual)
Duration: 02hr, 50min
Distance: 1,151 miles
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Seat: 9L (Business Class)
Onboard, I was welcomed by a flight attendant who examined my boarding pass then directed me to my seat by crossing through the galley and turning right. Prior to takeoff we had to de-ice.
Finnair A330 Business Class Seat
Finnair has two configurations of the A330-300. One has only a single business class cabin between doors 1 and 2 that includes 32 seats. I was on a configuration that had a second smaller business class cabin behind door 2 with three additional rows of seats, for a total of 45. I found my seat in the rear mini-cabin. The cabin is staggered 2-2-1 and 1-2-1, with odd numbered rows with an extra seat on the port side (A + C). The L seats are all private seats. You’ll want even-numbered rows for true window seats. Otherwise, you’ll find a desk/ledge between your seat and the window.
The seats have a massage function, but it is very loud and doesn’t work all that well. Foot room is tight and the cushions are quite firm. Overall, I still managed a nap after dinner but this is not my favorite business class seat. Tray tables fold out of the side table and it took me a few moments to figure out how it worked. There’s also a storage compartment for personal items (the power plugs are located there), reading light, and cubby for shoes.
A pillow was waiting on each seat. Flight attendants offered blankets on demand, though these were not the soft duvets available on longhaul flights.
With the delayed departure, several business class passengers hopped on an earlier flight to Helsinki. I remained on the delayed flight because I booked this flight specifically to review the A330, which only operates once per day from London (the A350 also operates once per day in the morning). The result was a near-empty business class cabin. There were only three other passengers in the rear business class cabin, which seats 14 passengers.
Finnair A330 Business Class IFE
The entire in-flight-entertainment library was available during the flight (British Airways leaves its off when it uses longhaul aircraft for European flights). The library included movies, TV shows, games, and audio. I played Who Want’s To Be A Millionaire? and won $250,000….*sigh* if only.
Disposable headphones were present at each seat upon boarding.
Wi-Fi was available, but I did not connect.
Finnair A330 Business Class Food + Drink
Only water was offered as a pre-departure beverage in an economy class paper cup.
Dinner was delayed…icing on the cake to our three-hour delay. By this time it was late and I just wanted to sleep and would have gone to sleep…but the review would have been incomplete without sampling the meal. There was no menu, but two choices were offered and both were vegetarian: lentils or pasta. Pretzels and a beverage were offered prior to dinner along with a hot towel. Service did not begin until one hour into the flight.
I chose the pasta and it was served with goat cheese and walnuts over a bed of red cabbage. It was an interesting juxtaposition of tastes and actually pretty tasty. It came with a choice of bread (I chose dark rye), a salad of lentils and root vegetables, and raspberry cake. I always appreciate the blueberry juice when traveling on Finnair. And the Ultima Thule glasses and Marimekko cups are such a nice touch…
Finnair food has always tickled my senses and I quite enjoyed this meal.
Finnair A330 Business Class Lavatory
Business class features two lavatories in the front of the plane and one behind door 2. The lavatory as clean but otherwise unmemorable, with no special amenities.
Finnair A330 Business Class Service
Service, as is always the case for me on Finnair, was excellent. There was a very kind young woman who served my section and was not only attentive, but friendly…she even offered me a second dinner when she saw I had finished mine (it seemed they had over-catered the cabin).
We landed nearly three hours late in Helsinki…close to 2:00AM. That was not fun, but I appreciated the service and comfort onboard. On a longahul flight I’d go out of my way to fly Finnair’s A350, which offers a much more comfortable business class product, but the A330 will certainly do in a pinch.
> Read More: Finnair A350 Business Class Review