FLIGHT REVIEW: Finnair Airbus A321 From LHR to HEL
The boarding process at London Heathrow for Finnair 1336 from London Heathrow to Helsinki, Finland was very smooth. We entered the gate, where an agent checked our passports and boarding passes. I was asked one question: “Have I had been in Europe in the last six months?” My husband was asked a similar question: “When were you last in Europe?”
The gentleman then directed us to the left of the boarding area where they had space specifically for business class and Oneworld elites. That was pretty convenient, as we were right next to the boarding gate and it helped avoid the situation of people crowding the gates that’s normal on U.S. domestic flights.
Cabin and Seating
It should first be noted that business class on the Finnair Airbus A321 is a row of three with the middle seat blocked out. People who have been on European flights, including with British Airways, may already be aware of this. But I think it’s important to note for people who haven’t booked yet so they are aware. This flight is about 2 hours and 50 minutes, so it’s fine for that amount of time.
The seating is similar to the comfort of an American airline’s (with a small a) domestic economy cabin. There is no difference between the size of the seat in business and economy. In each cabin, the width of the seat is 18 inches and the pitch is 38 inches. This is very similar to the size of an American Airlines A321 economy cabin seat, just as a point of reference.
A note on the seating. I don’t use the blankets and pillows given by the airlines after a fair number of reports have spoken about the amount of germs that infiltrates the blankets and how rarely they are cleaned/new. In fact, comedian Nicole Byer went viral when she tweeted out finding human feces on her blanket from a Delta flight in March 2017.
That being said, the blanket that was in the seat when I boarded the plane was absolutely disgusting. There’s a picture above of the blanket. It may be hard to see in the picture, but it was very dingy and dirty. I’m not sure it was ever washed. In fact, it looked more like a dirty tower rather than a blanket. Sorely disappointing for a business class seat, no less.
There was a nifty coat hook on the bulkhead wall for each of us in the bulkhead row. That was a pretty nice touch to keep my jacket close and not have to give it away to be stored.
Shortly after taking off, the flight attendant came around with sour cream pretzels. They were pretty tasty. I also chose to drink Chivas Regal Gold Signature Scotch Whiskey. The flight attendant kept them coming throughout the flight and joked with me when I stopped after four drinks that I was going soft.
The flight options were beef and fish. The flight attendant did not go into details of how the beef was prepared or how the fish was prepared. He also did not mention the sides that came with it. Both my husband and I went with the beef.
The beef came with mashed potatoes and another side that seemed to include corn. I have to say that the meal was surprisingly better than I expected. It also came with a slice of raw salmon on the side and a small dessert cake.
I admittedly did not use the inflight entertainment system on this flight. There were no individual screens. The screen on the bulkhead in business was up against the bulkhead just in front of the first row of seats.
The flight attendant in business class was not particularly friendly. However, I realize that this may also be a cultural thing. I have only taken one other Finnair flight from HEL to JFK and the crew was very kind and outgoing. The flight attendant on this flight was not outgoing and very to the point. He did not do small talk. I realized during my time in Finland and reading about Finnish culture that this is not particularly rare. Finns are supposedly very to the point. They don’t mean it to be rude.
Knowing that, I think it’s more likely to be the case with my flight attendant. He was friendly enough, but he certainly wasn’t there to converse. Overall, I have no complaints. He was quick with refills and making sure we had everything we needed. So a job well done on that end.
The Finnair Airbus A321 is a convenient flight from London to Helsinki. The plane is old, so anybody should be ready for that. It’s very similar to a domestic economy flight on American Airlines in terms of seat comfort and size. The meal was pretty good and service was prompt and professional.