Infodesk From Switzerland, joined May 2006, 1256 posts, RR: 33 Posted (6 years 1 month 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 6973 times:
Terve ja tervetuola! Welcome to my trip report!
It has been a dream of mine for some years to visit Finland and finally I decided to stop just thinking about it and actually do it - not least because I'd decided to enroll myself on a Finnish course. We eventually decided on a city break to Helsinki. Packages from Switzerland are terribly expensive, so the flights and accommodation were booked online. Blue1 and Finnair both fly ZRH-HEL and funnily enough Finnair was actually slightly cheaper. I wanted to fly AY anyway, as I've heard good reports about them and because of their their cute adverts with the panda!
Wednesday May 2nd 2007
Seats 4E, 4F
ETD ZRH 1055, ETA HEL 1440
We arrived at Zürich by train 2hours before departure, which is when Finnair check-in opens and were the first to be served. I asked for 2 seats near the front and we were assigned 4E&F, on the first row in Y. It was a surprise to see that the flight would be departing from the B gates, normally AY use Dock E. The lounge that C class pax can use is in E too, so not satisfactory for them.
View from the airside centre -- Malaysian & Singapore 777s, Qatar & Thai A340s
It was the first time I'd flown from B. The gates are mainly used by AF, 2L, IB, AZ and various ethnic flights and there was no wait to pass security. There was, however, an almighty queue at the toilets -- 2 just aren't enough!
Boarding was due to start at 1020 from B28 and was only a few minutes late. We were bussed out to our aircraft which looked very shiny in the spring sunshine. Incidentally, I later discovered that we just missed DJ BoBo flying out to Helsinki for the ESC -- he departed 3 hours later on Blue1. Once on board we had quite a long wait, apparently there were some missing passengers......
BH airlines, most likely on a charter to Sarajevo or Banja Luka
Push back wasn't until after 1100 (ETD was 1055) and the estimated flying time was 2hr40. We headed out past the the heavies that were over at Dock B......
.........and took off at 1115 from Runway 28. I was looking forward to the feature of the outside camera, but somehow couldn't bring myself to watch it on take-off and looked out the window instead!
We flew to the south of the Lägern and saw Baden and Wettingen.
Then we banked over Lake Zürich......
Here's the dam at Rapperswil
....and the snow covered Churfirsten
We crossed the Bodensee over Mainau and then flew over Stuttgart, Erfurt and Berlin.
Lunch was served very quickly. I'd ordered a vegi meal which consisted of pasta, green beans, mushrooms and a type of potato & carrot cake; bread roll, water and two sweets -no Fazer chocolate with the vegi meal
Here's a picture of the meat dish -- complete with fazer chocolate
The meal was wasn't bad, what I found a little disappointing was that there was no dessert. Wine and beer were free, coffee and tea were also offered. The cabin crew were friendly and professional and looked very smart in their uniforms -- particularly the women with their leather gloves and pale blue waistcoats. The plane was also spotless inside; you notice that AY have a relatively long turn round at ZRH.
As we approached Northern Germany we turned right and flew over Gdansk, then Latvia and Estonia. The cloud cover built up so no views.
Soon enough we started our descent. There were some beautiful views on landing of all the hundreds of islands dotted aroud the Finnish coastline, all enhanced by the outside camera.
It was quite windy on approach so was interesting to watch the pilot lining up for landing -- we seemed to land at quite an angle. Unfortunately we were right under the screen which made taking a photo of it impossible. Touchdown was 1415 and we parked at a remote stand and had quite a long bus ride to the terminal. It was drizzling and I reliased just how cold it was in comparison to Switzerland where summer had arrived early!
Me on arrival in a wet and windy Helsinki
The airport was, as you would expect, spotless with some lovely wooden flooring. And I even found the cute panda!
On clearing customs (where not one official was in sight), we headed for the Finnair bus to the city centre, 5,20E.
On arrival at the main station the heavens opened so we sheltered for a bit before getting the tram to the hotel -- the Radisson SAS Seaside. I got an excellent deal on ebookers and despite it being a little way out of the centre, the trams were so frequent and good value with the travel card that it made no difference.
I've taken the liberty of including some pictures of our stay.
Uspenski Orthodox catherdral
The old town in Porvoo
On the boat to Suomenlinna
Taken on Suomenlinna, a fortress included on the World Heritage List
Taken from the Olympic tower
Sunday May 6th 2007
Seats 10E, 10F
ETD 1630, ETA 1815
After a leisurely morning it was time to head the the railway station where we picked up the Finnair bus again.
Advertising their fast & frequent links to Asia.
I noticed that each lay-by where the buses park is equipped with a screen showing the driver what's going on around him, making reversing out much easier. As we pulled out, I spotted a bus advertising the 69 Eyes' latest album, I band I like and who are pretty popular in Finland. It was rather appropriate that the bus was serving route 69!
On approach to Vantaa we passed a lay-by containing lots of airport information, such as prices for the various car parks. I found this a nice touch. Here at Zurich people either end up in the "wrong" car park, or even worse start reversing back down the ramp because they're not sure where they're going.
Some shots of the airport:
I liked the check-in area at T2 as it felt very spacious. We got in the queue before the most of the other bus passengers, so didn't have long to wait. Assigned seats were 10E&F and the flight was to depart from Gate 31d. I wandered down to arrivals to take a look at the info desk
We passed security and I was somewhat unsettled by the fact that there was no passport control, until eventually I realised this must be the Schengen area (in Switzerland we're just not used to this concept!).
It was incredibly busy and stocking up on some last minute souvenirs at Stockmann was like the first day of the sales!
I have to say that I found the shopping area quite cramped and it put me off any further browsing, but maybe that was just due to all the passengers. I noticed there were lots of pushchairs that could be used for those who had checked theirs in - full marks for Helsinki as this is something lacking in Zürich.
A very Finnish scene: Air Finland, Blue 1 and Finncomm
And a shot with a non-Finnish plane!
A nice touch - there used to be planes suspended like this in Zürich
After I spotted passport control we decided to go through figuring it would be a bit quieter, which thankfully it was. Our boarding time was 1600 and 5 minutes prior to that I heard a last call for our gate, which somewhat unsettling. It turned out the Heathrow flight ETD 1600 was using the same gate, but it certainly had me worried for a minute.
At about 1615 a bus pulled up at our gate to take us to the plane.
On the way I saw this 757. Has it deliberately been left in the old livery? I liked it -- very retro.
One of AY's Embraer 170s
Loved the Finnair tractor!
Our aircraft, OH-LVF
AY, MA and OK
Boarding up the stairs was slow and there were hardly any newspapers left when we got to the top. It seemed some people were taking not just one but several.
Our flight time was to be 2h25 and we took off at 1645. Our route took us towards Tallinn and then Bornholm and over Germany again, where the cloud cover built up. It was a bit bumpy on take off, but after having experienced the Helsinki wind for the last couple of days, I wasn't too surprised!
The meal service seemed to take a little longer this time and I was presented with the identical dish to the outbound flight. Here's a picture of the meat dish -- complete with peas and rösti!
This time a second round of drinks was served before landing. The flight was smooth and otherwise uneventful and before long we were starting our descent to runway 14, where we touched down smoothly at 1810.
HB-JMF and JMC, most likely having arrived from LAX and NRT
And so all too soon the short trip to Helsinki came to a close. I'd love to go back to Finland and explore all those lakes and forests. My thoughts on Finnair? I was very pleased by the quality of the service received and would have no hesitations in flying with them again.
Thanks for reading and as always any questions or comments are welcome.
"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
Andaman From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 5, posted (6 years 1 month 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 6772 times:
Thanks for the report, very nice photos!
Reading AY trip reports, you often hear Fazer chokolade mentioned - that sweet thing brought to Finland by a Swiss immigrant family around 100y ago Thank you for that!
Yes, HEL often gets crowded these days... more space coming 2009 when the new 'Asia terminal' is ready.
The old plane hanging there inside the terminal is an aluminium Junkers Junior, which made a round the world flight 1933.
StevAAn From Netherlands, joined Mar 2007, 38 posts, RR: 0 Reply 11, posted (6 years 1 month 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 6296 times:
Great TR! Loved the pictures! May be you should consider visiting Helsinki in winter time too. I was there in February, and loved the frozen sea and lakes, and all the snow the city was covered in. HEL is a great airport too, with the old aircraft hanging on the ceiling, and the great view from the terminal onto the apron.
SandroZRH From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 3385 posts, RR: 51 Reply 13, posted (6 years 1 month 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 6073 times:
Hey Infodesk, i was waiting for this report of yours, since im too lazy to write one Great TR, brings back a lot of memories and i'm already looking forward again to my next finland trip! Lovely pics aswell.
AY is indeed a wonderful carrier. On my years of flying up to Finland, i have tried KF, AY, AB, LH, SK, KL and BA, and AY easily stood out as the best choice so far, too bad that their fares aren't always the cheapest option I just wish LX would start serving HEL, as nonrevving on LX is a lot easier for me than on LH, but i guess it'll neve rhappen.
And now that i know how you look like, i can pop by your workplace whenever i fly abroad
Ndebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2895 posts, RR: 24 Reply 14, posted (6 years 1 month 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 6014 times:
So here it is, the report of your HEL flight you've been looking forward to for so long. I really enjoyed it, the meals look just excellent, and I also liked the pics of the finnish landscape. Well done!
Andaman From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 15, posted (6 years 1 month 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 6011 times:
Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 10): Nice pics and report! AY seems to have a very good product. I wonder if other carriers beat them with those inflight meals on European flights (out of HEL). These dishes look really great
To my opinion their meals aren't anything special, but nice they serve free meals on European flights. And free wine & beer Overall, they have a good European product. Haven't tried the new E170/190 yet, curious how those are.
SandroZRH From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 3385 posts, RR: 51 Reply 20, posted (6 years 1 month 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 5856 times:
Quoting Infodesk (Reply 16): I was hoping you'd write one - would be particularly interesting as you transited in AMS
Yeah indeed, and combined with all the "special goodies" (aborted takeoff in ZRH, delays, high winds, TMP-HEL Saab340 flight and some stupid lady who le ther live cat go through the xray machine at AMS which made the whole security personel go nuts ) it would sure have been an interesting report, but i ended up not taking any pics at all as i just couldnt be assed to carry the cam all the time, and if i had written one, i would also have written about my sta yin helsinki, the nightlif eand all, but didnt take any pics of that either for the same above reason, and a picless TR is just lame, so i rather leave it. Maybe next time, this sure as hell wasn't my last Finland trip
AGRflyer From Switzerland, joined Nov 2005, 133 posts, RR: 0 Reply 21, posted (6 years 1 month 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 5847 times:
Nice report. I spent the easter weekend in HEL and flew with KF on the outbound flight and on SK on the way back to ZRH. KF was in a packed Avro 85 and on the way home the lost my luggage while transiting trough CPH. This is one of the reason wy I prefer AY most on my flights to HEL.
ZRH-TLV-ZRH on LX in Y, ZRH-VIE-YYZ-TPA-IAD-YYZ-FRA-ZRH on OS/AC/UA/LH in C in June on a award trip, BSL-BRU-BSL in July
FLIEGER67 From Bulgaria, joined Sep 2003, 4423 posts, RR: 56 Reply 22, posted (6 years 1 month 18 hours ago) and read 5618 times:
real interesting story.
Love your city pics of Helsinki and surroundings, gave me the feeling what I've missed till now there.
I was in northern scandinavia for several times and it´s real worth it to explore the area.
And I agree about your AY opinion, nice flights in my log also.
Infodesk From Switzerland, joined May 2006, 1256 posts, RR: 33 Reply 24, posted (6 years 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 5261 times:
Thanks again for all the comments! I'm glad you liked the pictures of Helsinki - I always find it a nice touch when people post photos of their destination. It seems that many of you think highly of AY. I recently read a letter in a newspaper where a passenger on AY long haul mentioned a bottle of water was put it the seat pocket for everyone before take-off - a great idea.
Quoting SandroZRH (Reply 20): some stupid lady who le ther live cat go through the xray machine at AMS which made the whole security personel go nuts )
I bet that a caused a right scene!
"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
25 Alphafloor: Excellent report Infodesk ! The pictures reminded me of my own trip to Helsinki a long time ago and the photograph with all these little islands is re
26 B747forever: Very nice TR and the pics. Thanks for the well written TR.
27 RJ100: Nice report with nice pictures. Good to see Finnair serving real meals . Helsinki looks nice too, I like the wooden houses and the church especially.
28 Vio: Hey Infodesk, Awesome report!!! Thanks so much for it. I loved the photos and I always enjoyed reading trips to Finland. Too bad that lazy ass SandroZ
29 Singhkaur: Hi, Nice report on Finland. Always had thought of going to Finland. Nice photos of the city and the airport including the ZRH airport airside. Cheers.
30 Andaman: P.S..... So they listen 69Eyes also in Switzerland! Seems for some reason Finnish rock music sells well in the German speaking Europe. I noticed ther
31 Sam1987: A very interesting report - I spent a week in HEL at the end of March (I stayed in the Olympic stadium below the tower you went up!), then I daytrippe
32 Infodesk: I remember that I enjoyed reading your reports, I've had another look at them, some fantastic pics! Well, you probably won't find them in the charts