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AY HKG-HEL-GVA And Back In J August 2006  
User currently offlineCarfield From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1834 posts, RR: 9
Posted (7 years 8 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 6072 times:

Hi folks,
Here is my promised trip report on Finnair. I took advantage of a relatively low J fare (I fare for around $17,000HKD + tax) and decided to fly into Geneva because I have been trying to book an EMB-170 flight for sometimes. Unfortunately, due to the situation in London, I cancelled the original side trip because my planned itinerary involving multiple LON-MAN roundtrips. GVA-LGW-MAN-LGW/LHR-MAN-LCY-MAN-LHR-GVA becomes impossible due to the new regulations and having to check-in bags. I really am not afraid to fly into UK, but the circumstances are running into lots of risks especially Jet 2 is involved. I guess when they let me bring my digital camera on board, I will be back in UK. Back to topic, Finnair’s new business class lie-flat seats are definitely nice, but are below my expectations, which will be explained as you look at the seats through the picture link. Service wise ?intra-European flights are better than intercontinental flights and F/As are more personable on the European flights. Fortunately and unfortunately, both my flights feature one responsible F/A (while the rather is the galley chat crew), who actually does their rounds and ask if you need anything else, other than just walking by you. I will rate AY F/As to be above the average US based airlines?F/As, but I have better crew at AA, B6, UA and of course, AY needs to do more to catch up with the top Asian carriers. Anyway, here is the full report.

August 15, 2006
AY 68 HKG-HEL 0940 1505 MD-11 OH-LGA
Photo Link
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8QbNHDNy5bs5U
Well the day began with a check-in at the Airport Express station, and Dragonair is the ground handling agent for Finnair, which includes the check-in, ground servicing, and lounge for premium passengers. Because I am traveling with a friend (who is going back to the US on the same morning), I do not do much plane-spotting including CX’s Airbus A340-600 B-HQB heading to KIX, QF’s Airbus A330-300 (VH-OPF) to SYD, Boeing 747-400 (VH-OJK) to MEL, a CX’s Boeing 747-400 B-HOY Asia’s World City livery, and a PR’s Airbus A330-300 F-OHZS. Well I did not use the KA lounge this time, so I can’t report, but should be fine based on previous visits. The aircraft, OH-LGA, looks like it needs quick wash, and I can’t help laughing at comments by fellow HK folks, “Wah, that planes look really old wor!?and “Ar ma, that plane looks really dirty wor!? Thankfully, there is also this father, who insists on taking a family picture with the plane because “it is rare to see these Douglas planes in Hong Kong.? The flight was 100% full with lots of Mainland Chinese, which was surprising because AY already flies to three major Chinese cities, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Beijing. The flight was overbooked, as there are lots of opup at J and the flights went out 100% full. In Hong Kong, two doors were used and no one was stationing at the J door, as I walked in. There was one galley F/A working in preparation, but I found my seat relatively easily. Since there was only one active F/A welcoming passengers by offering them drinks and hanging coats (also on the return), even NW has more F/As doing the beverage rounds and hanging coats. AY needs to address this aspect. At each seat, a bottle of water (a very cheap local brand?not even Watson’s) and a headset are at the magazine pocket, as well as AY’s “amenity kit?(eyeshades, earplugs, and socks all in a bundle). The F/A soon noticed me and brought me a glass of orange juice. Newspaper trolleys are set up in front of 1D and 1F and self-service, and F/As made a quick round after boarding was completed. Newspapers include mostly Finnish papers, English International papers, and some local Hong Kong papers. Door was closed at 9:31am, but we did not push back till 9:55am because of 10 minutes ATC delays. We slowly taxied to R/W7R and at 10:12am, this good, old reliable MD-11 began its quick roll down the runway and took off to a rare non-hazy day in HK. I took a picture of the Hong Kong Disneyland and after passing the Hong Kong island, we turned north and headed towards Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Shaoguan. We took a more northern routing. We flew up to 33,500feet, and headed towards Beijing, and after passing Wuhan, we climbed further to 35,500feet before passing Beijing, and then further towards Ulan Bator, and then retreated to 35,000feet as we left the Chinese airspace, and entered Irkutsk and then Kransoyarsk. We climbed further to 38,000feet, as we crossed the Western Siberian Plain, and then cities of Khanty, Mansiysk, Syktyvkar, and Kopino/South of St. Petersburg, and began our descent towards Helsinki.

Well the new Finnair seat can be viewed at www.finnair.com, as well as the photo link for the return flight. Like most lie-flat seats, they are not 100% flat, but the sliding factor is not that bad. I can sleep well for a couple of hours. There is a magazine/laptop slot next to the headrest, which is an excellent design, and there is a side armrest that can be dropped to increase the width. The divider is also extremely useful and served its function, unlike some of the earlier designs. However, I am disappointed that the laptop plug requires one of those adapters, which can be requested from the F/As, and the personal television system is not updated to the “on demand?function. I am just surprised on why Finnair does not further update the entertainment system, as they update the interior. Hopefully, the new Airbus A340/350s should have PTVs and AVODs at all aircraft. The seats are controlled electronically, and the F/As will turn off the recline function before takeoff, during takeoff and landing, which are good and saves the need for passengers to argue with F/As on when to put their seats up. There are also two silver buttons that can put the seat back on the upright position and one to put the seat at the full flat function directly but pressing on to it. There are also ample seat pitches to allow the window seats passengers using the facilities without disturbing the aisle passengers. In present, the seats will not go fully flat, as the website wants to convey, and there is a sliding factor, not as bad as CX’s NBC and CO’s BF. I will rate it better than average, but when the next generation full flat seats come along, AY will need to adjust accordingly (but I am sure can be done easily, however it may need to adjust the seat pitch, which is not that easy). I took a picture of the full flat position on the return flight, so you can be the judge. However, when the new A340/350s come online, AY really needs to consider allowing the seats to go full flat, as the new generation business class seats will definitely feature.

Menus and wine lists are passed out next, and passengers are not addressed by their last names at anytime during the flight, which is a big no-no to me. Even Northwest made their Japanese F/As go around the cabin and addressed passengers by their last names, while taking their entrée orders. I never expect an Asian airlines?approach by forcing the F/As to memorize our last names obsessively on AY, but at least, the purser should do his or her welcome rounds by addressing passengers by their last names and saying their hellos.

Here is the wine list and menu transcript. (Wine list is the same for the return flight.)

Wine List
Champagne
Joseph Perrier Cuvee Royale Brut Vintage 1999

White Wines
Chablis Premier Cru Les Vaucoqins 2003, Albert Bichot
Riesling Zobinger Heiligenstein 2003, Brundlmayer, Austria

Red Wines
Osoyoos Larose 2002, British Columbia, Canada
Grandarella Apassimento IGT 2001, Veneto, Masi

Sweet Wines
Chateau Guiraud 2000, Premier Cru Classe, Sauternes, France
Nieport 20 Years Old Tawny, Port Portugal, Nieport (Vinhos) S.A.

Other Beverages
Chivas Regal
Balvenie Founders Reserve Malt
Bombay Sapphire Gin
Finlandia Vodka
Koskenkorva
Bacardi
Underberg Bitter
Campari Bitter
Cointreau
St. Brendan’s Irish Cream
Irish Coffee
Cloudberry Liqueur
Martell Cordon Bleu
Calvados Roger Groult 20 ans d’age
Koff and Lapin Kulta Beer
Asahi Beer (only on routes to and from Japan)
Sake Osakaya Choubei (only on routes to and from Japan)
Tsingtao Beer (only on routes to and from China)
Non-alcoholic beverage
Spring Soda and Tonic Waters
Orange, Apple, Grapefruit and Tomato Juices
Coca Cola, Coca Cola Light, Fanta and Sprite Soft Drinks
Bloody Mary

China to Helsinki
Lunch
Smoked Salmon Mousse, yogurt spring onion sauce
And/Or
Creamed Asparagus Soup

Deep fried sole with sweet and sour sauce, steamed rice and diced sweet peppers with broccoli
Or
Grilled tenderloin of beef with mushroom brandy sauce, Parisienne potatoes and green beans in bacon bundle
Or
Sauteed strips of beef in red wine sauce, baked new potato with parsley butter, green beans

Fresh Fruit

Assorted cheeses: Emmenthal and Camembert
Or
Chocolate mousse gateau

Coffee, cappuccino, espresso and tea available during the flight.
Sandwiches also served on request.

Snack
Toasted prawn and chili with cheese crust
Mango Mousse Cake with mixed berry compote

Well catering is fine for the main meal, but definitely has rooms for improvement. I have more problems with the lack of mid-flight snacks and the pre-arrival snack.

Hot towels started off the service, and the beverage trolley was rolled down next, and a nice canap?is offered, which is a Parma ham with melon on rye bread. Lunch is offered next with the appetizer and soup served first, refills of beverages, and bread basket is served by the galley F/A. The salmon mousse is quite nice, as pieces of smoked salmon mixed in. The soup is poured from a thermo and it is delicious. Not a canned soup, but real asparagus cream soup made from scratch and blended. Breadbasket features garlic bread, brown bread, dark crackers, and French rolls. Entrée orders are already taken, and I had the second beef entrée, which was a more Asian style cooking. All is missing was a bowl of rice. My neighbor had the fried fish, which looked fine and my neighbor cleaned off her plate. After the trays were collected, the dessert trolley was rolled out, and you have a choice of a cheese plate or dessert (a whole cake was featured and the F/A gave you a slice). I still think a world class airline should offered cheese, fruit, and dessert. Fruit is never offered, so I can’t tell you anything about it. But from what I got on the return flight, I did not miss much. After the meal, lights were turned off and F/As did not force everyone to shade their shades, which were good. I always argued that people can use their eyeshades if they want a dark cabin. Duvets and pillows were also passed out. The Duvet was not like CX F, but a wool blanket with a nice cotton lining. Better blankets were used on the return flights from Helsinki to Hong Kong. However, I don’t know why all the blankets are so short these days. I am not a tall person, but the blanket failed to cover my whole body (from shoulder to leg). Most Europeans are taller and please make longer blankets.

For mid-flight snacks, the sole caring F/As offered a tomato and cucumber sandwich with some sweets around 4pm HK time, and kept refilling our beverages. I later found out that a small snack corner was set up at door 2, which included packaged brownies, Fazer’s chocolate (Geisha and Raspberry), and boxes of pastilles. I honestly think cup noodles and more substantial sandwiches should be offered on a daytime flight. People are hungry towards the middle of the flight, as we had an early lunch. Of course, later I found out AY offered a BOB snack menus for Y, which included cup noodles of 2 euros, curry meal for 3 euros, and chips and chocolate bars for 1euro. I guess I should ask the flight attendant and see if I need to pay for it. I honestly think Finnair should offer these snacks for free for its J passengers, and most importantly, let us know about the option. On the return overnight segment, it does not matter much, but on the daytime flight, these items should be made known.

For entertainment, personal television systems feature various movies and short subjects showed in a cycle. BBC News (updated) was shown shortly after takeoff at the main screen, but a major problem is that there is no movie soundtrack at the business class audio system, so I have to turn on the PTV and go to the mainscreen channel, instead of watching the map and the news at the same time. There is a situational comedies channel, which is cool, and Asian movies include only Japanese movies.

Around 6pm HK time, lights were turned on, and hot towels made its round, followed by the snack meal, which was a very basic one tray affair. The entrée was a shrimp toast thing, which tasted fine, and the mango mousse cake is okay too. Breadbasket was offered with whole grain rolls, brown bread, crackers, and then some freshly baked cinnamon rolls, as most passengers were still hungry after the meal. For this daytime flight, a fuller meal should be offered and most importantly, a choice should be offered at all meals in business class, especially long haul. I am sure there will be folks allergic to seafood, and a more proper full entrée, like pasta, should be offered too. It is like “dinner?for most folks. It is unacceptable to serve a light meal as second meal on a ten hours daytime flight. As I filled out the survey later, I rated the catering rather poorly. I hope some of you will agree after seeing the picture.

Flying time was a quick nine hours and fifty-five minutes, and descent began at 2:37pm Helsinki local time. After passing through some rain clouds, we landed on R/W22L at 3:07pm, and parked at gate 30 a few minutes later. Our aircraft will continue onto Tokyo Narita later. At gate 31, OH-LGG is preparing for its flight to Guangzhou. At gate 32, the sole AY’s Airbus A340-300 OH-LQA is heading to Shanghai, and at gate 29/30a, OH-LGF with the cartoon livery is preparing for its flight to Osaka/Kansai. AY uses its MD-11s quite heavily. Transit desks are busy as expected, but the wait was reasonable. Because Switzerland is not part of EU, we go through passport controls at Geneva and remained in the relatively small non-Schagen section. Fortunately, as an oneworld emerald member and coming off from a HK flight, I was allowed to use the nicer Long Haul lounge. The whole lounge complex is divided as a regular gateway lounge for J passengers, and a long haul lounge. The long haul lounge was relatively small, as evidenced on my return flight. If AY decided to schedule all Asian flights at 5pm (about three and four full MD-11s), the long haul lounge needs to expand or AY needs to spread out its schedule. Foods include the usual snacks, such as peanuts, cookies, pretzel sticks, and fruits, and there is a small cold buffet of Chinese chicken salad, meatballs, and lots of bread rolls. There is a full self-serving alcohol and non-alcohol bar. Wireless Internet access is available for a fee, so I did not even turn on the computer, after seeing the sign at the reception.

August 15, 2006
AY 869 HEL-GVA 1615 1820 Embraer EMB-170 OH-LEF
Photo link:
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8QbNHDNy5bs6Y

31c is a bus gate, as expected for flying on a small EMB-170 jet. But I also enjoy the chances to take some plane pictures without a window blocking the sight. If I know that no one will stop me from taking pictures, I will have taken my time and take some better picture. Hopefully you don’t mind these poor pictures. I really like the tail shot. It is a great way to start my “virgin?EMB-170 flight.

Boarding began at 4:02pm, and the load was relatively light, so there was no second bus. Things were very efficient in Finland, after everyone seated, the F/A did a head count, and boarding was completed. Since AY’s E170 equips with its own stairs, the F/As just retrieve the stairs by pressing on an electronic button, pushing the stair to the side, and closed the door. No ground agent was seen during the whole boarding in directing passengers and closing doors. Door was closed at 4:20pm and we pushed back five minutes later. We took off from R/W22R at 4:32pm. Flying time was two hours and forty-three minutes with a cruising attitude of 10,600m (around 33,000feet).

No entertainment system to talk about here, and the J cabin was the typical European airline with no different seat for J, and a movable curtain divider. Two passengers in J guaranteed a very personable and good service. The F/A did the first beverage service, passed out the special menu (I don’t think many European airlines have J menus anymore), and asked when I want my dinner, which was a nice gesture. I decided to wait a bit for dinner, and the F/A immediately helped out the back with passing out Y meals, which are boxes now, and doing a beverage service. I read newspapers and book throughout the flight.

Seats are typical Y seats, but I like how the tray tables are thin and do not occupy any more spaces and I can’t explain it well by words, so take a look at the pictures, and you will see what I mean. Seat hooks are placed on the side of each seat and in front for the bulkhead rows. In terms of legroom, Jetblue’s Row 13 and above of EMB-190 offer more legroom, and Row 1 definitely has the most legroom. Only one bathroom is equipped on EMB-170s, which is all the way in the back. It is not a problem for a less than half full flight.

Here is the menu transcript:
Tastes of the Archipelago
HEL-EUR 4/605HM
Toast Skagen with roe of vendace
Roasted lamb, dauphinoise potatoes and grilled paprika
Strawberry Cake, chantilly cream

No choice seems to be AY style, but for J, it is a bit tacky even when printed menus are used. The meal itself is nice, and the appetizer is really good. Not sure what vendace is, but tastes like shrimps or crayfish. Someone can perhaps enlight me here! Entrée is very nice and lamb is moist and tender, and a cold wholemeal roll is offered with F/A passing out brown bread (my favorite) and crackers, and there is a wedge of packaged Costello cheese on the tray. Then the F/As served tea and kept on asking if I need any more beverages, which is a plus. No more just picking up glasses?they always ask if you need more beverages before collecting the glasses.

The flight soon came to be an end, and descent began at 5:37pm Geneva local time. We landed on R/W23 at 6:15pm and parked at gate B25 a few minutes later. This time, Swissport used its own gate. The nightmare came next, as my bag failed to make the flight, as well as another Japanese passenger. The disappointment came because of the long line at Swissport and no compensation and/or overnight kits were offered. The next morning, I had to call AY ZRH offices to trace the bag and had them holding the bag at Helsinki, as I was heading back the next day. It was not a pleasant experience, and thankfully, AY at least called me (well after one email and two phone calls to ZRH) in the mid morning from Helsinki and I did not need to buy more clothes. I should not have checked in my roller bag, but I decided to travel a bit lighter because of possible tighter security, which did not actually happen. Things seem to be normal in Hong Kong, Helsinki, and Geneva. I guess I am lucky for a seasonal outstation and the Swissport is actually not bad. Nevertheless, I hope AY will offer me some reimbursement for the purchase of clothing for Wednesday.

August 16, 2006
AY 870 GVA-HEL 1900 2300 EMB-170 OH-LEE
Photo Link:
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8QbNHDNy5bs7c
The return flight was pretty smooth and Finnair uses Swissport, and all the counters are wide open, and the business line was not staffed though. Nevertheless, Y counter was wide-opened, but the J agent went back to his station after seeing a J passenger using a Y counter. Boarding pass was printed out, but no direction was given regarding lounge. Fortunately, I know I can use the Horizon lounge (and also the BA lounge as an oneworld emerald). Immigration was quick and the security was no problem. The Horizon lounge was not impressive, but offered two internet-equipped computers. There were some light snacks, as well as an open bar.

The pier AY used was quite far away, so I allowed more time in reaching the pier, which was pretty deserted. The 20-29 pier basically handled all the regional jets and turboprops. Therefore, there were lots of advertisement for flybaboo and Darwin Airways. Our aircraft arrived almost on time at gate B25, and with a light load of 2J and 20Y, boarding took place at 6:45pm and completed in eight minutes. Newspaper trolley was stationed at the entrance, and I got the usual International Herald Tribune and Financial Times. The F/As were also quite friendly, and service was very personable. We took off from R/05 at 7:05pm. Flying time was two hours and forty-two minutes with a cruising attitude of 33,000feet.

The service sequence was similar. First there was a beverage service with herbed biscuits, and then menus were passed out, and followed by dinner and beverage refills. For some reasons, our a/c had three F/As, so the J F/A only needed to help out with beverage service in Y. The dinner was once again one tray affair with same bread baskets. The meal was also nice. The white fish entrée was a bit heavy for me, but the appetizer, brown bread, and dessert filled me up nicely. The menu was a different one from the flight yesterday. Catering (Double catering) was done in Helsinki, so the taste of the Archipelago was featured at this flight. Y got the same snack box.

Here is the menu transcript:
Tastes of the Archipelago
Roast beef, roasted potatoes and stuffed chili-paprika
Smoked white fish, creamed fennel, mushroom and tomato compote
Chocolate Mousse, sea buckthorn berry jam, cinnamon cream
HEL-EUR 5/605HM

Descent began at 10:08pm Helsinki time, and we landed on R/W22L at 10:45pm, and parked at a bus stand three minutes later. I saw the AY MD-11 OH-LGG being prepared for Bangkok and Singapore. Immigration was empty and I headed to the baggage center and found my bag quickly. I was able to catch the 11pm Finnair bus to Scandic Intercontinental, which was very disappointing, but a good location. I was really bugged by the lack of individual air vent. Thankfully I used a reward and definitely not worth 229 Euro + tax. I should stay at the Crown Plaza next door.

August 17, 2006
AY 67 HEL-HKG 1700 0745+1 MD-11 OH-LGA
Photo Link:
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8QbNHDNy5bs8A

After a day at Helsinki, which definitely was much better than expected and I could easily spend another day there, I took a cruise, which was nice and I hope you enjoy the picture link. I took the 2:35pm Finnair bus back at the airport, and I was glad that Finnair has a separate oneworld Emerald and Finnair Plus Platinum counter, as well as two GOLD counters, but only one business class line, which was quite busy. The agent quickly checked me in and tagged my bag. The security line was pretty long but manageable. There was no separate premium line, but I don’t see the need. We first passed through the extremely busy SCHAGEN section with all the shops, which were very nice. Then I headed over to SCHAGEN section after passing the passport control and headed back to the long haul lounge, which was packed. All the sofas were occupied and I sat at the tall chairs in the dining area. I read some newspaper, got myself a screwdriver, and had some light snacks. I left the gate around 4:15pm, when the HKG flight showed “TO THE GATE?sign. I wanted to be the first to board, so I could take some cabin pictures. A note about plane-spotting: the same old OH-LQA Airbus A340-300 heading to Shanghai (and very full flight and compared to our flight), MD-11 OH-LGB with cartoon livery to Osaka Kansai, MD-11 OH-LGD heading to Guangzhou, and MD-11 OH-LGF with cartoon heading to Beijing.

Boarding began at 4:35pm, and there was no one staffing the door. The door just opened automatically blocking the access to nearby gate conveniently, and everyone just boarded with no separate priority boarding. A F/A was passing out bottled water to each passenger, and another HK F/A checked boarding pass and directed me to the J section on the left. Newspaper trolleys were set up in front of 1D and 1F. Then the really nice F/A (the only one, who cared about passengers and took good care of everyone and bothered to pass around the tray of sandwiches in the middle of the night) immediately passed around beverages, hung up coats, and took time to talk to each passenger. With a light J load, she was not too overwhelmed, which improved the quality of this flight. Unfortunately, she served the other side, and more troubles were on their ways. Door was closed at 5:15pm due to the prolonged and/or delayed refueling process, and the pilot apologized but with an estimated flying time of nine hours and six minutes, we should be able to catch up a bit.

We pushed back at 5:21pm and took off from R/W22R at 5:32pm. The routing took us from Helsinki to Kerava and Sipoo, while stayed at 15,000feet a few minutes, before climbing to 33,000feet after crossing Kolpino at Russia, and without Sky Map, I only knew we climbed to 36,500feet later, and crossed the cities of Chelyabinsk, and Astana of Kazakhstan, before climbing further to 37,500feet. Then it headed towards Lanzhou, Chengdu, Guilin, and then descending near Guangzhou, Foshan, and then into Hong Kong.

The same service sequence, but the nice F/A started with passing around with many magazines and insisted on everyone taking some, and then the amenities were passed out, followed by menus. Then the bad news were announced, as the F/As and the purser were fooling around the personal television system. They tried to restart the program, but failed because passengers could not change the mode from audio to video. At the same time, they showed the mainscreen programming, which included two sets of Pluto cartoons, an episode of “Joey,?and then the cartoon, “Over the Edge.? Unfortunately, the F/A did not realize that the business class audio did not have a channel for main screen program. I watched the movie by reading the Chinese subtitles, and the F/As then walked around and told each passenger that they can moved to a seat with a functioning personal television and then offered me the PSP players (no DVD players, but there were PSP players. DVD players were only available on non-PTV equipped flight.) It was just strange that PTVs were working two days ago, and now they were broken.

The wine list was the same, and here was the menu transcript:
Helsinki-China
Dinner
Apple Terrine and Serrano ham, spruce shoot syrup
And/or
Chanterelle mushroom soup

Peppered salmon, lemon butter, stewed fennel and parisienne potatoes
Or
Lamb minced steak stuffed with beetroot, balsamic sauce, roast potatoes, baked root vegetables
Or
Vegetable cannelloni, amoureuse sauce, mushroom and tomato compote, mixed paprika

Fresh Fruit

Assorted cheeses: Brebiou, Vilho and Brie
Or
Pineapple Mousse Gateau

The meal sequence was similar with hot towel, and then beverage with a canap? a Crayfish tartlet, and then the appetizer and soup, which were nice. The Chanterelle Mushroom soup was pretty good. The breadbasket featured the familiar garlic bread, brown bread, crackers, and wholemeal rolls. Entrée orders were taken by galley F/A and I chose the lamb, which was delicious and finally something more business class quality. For dessert, I chose the pineapple gateau, which was nice, and this time, fruit was offered, which were an absolutely disgrace. It was a small plastic bag, as shown in picture, filled with green apples, which have seen its better time, cantaloupe, and grapes. As Finnair uses a tray for dessert, and why don’t they follow Northwest’s old WBC, and just placed a few slices of cheese, a slice of cake, and a few slices of fruit. It actually saves the F/A time, without the need to cut the cake, and no need to pass around plastic bags of fruits. After dinner, lights were turned off.

F/As headed to the galley for their chatting sessions and I read a novel and listened to my IPOD for the rest of the flight. No snack stations were set up on this return flight, and I did not bother the F/A till I asked for another bottle of water. I tried to take a nap, but couldn’t. Finally the good F/A took her shift later and offered some sandwiches, which a full tray was actually loaded with feta cheese, tuna, and BBQ chicken. They were pretty good and what a pity that the F/As did not make more rounds of them, and set them up in the snack station. Then she made many rounds and even brought more bottles of water to each passenger. Also she took care of a strange case. After watching the movie, I headed to the lavatory and returned to my seat after stretching near door two and tried to see if there were some snacks. Then when I headed back to my seat, I noticed a man sleeping on the floor in front of 1D and F, which had a large space. At first, I worried that he had collapsed on the floor and tried to catch the attention of a F/A, but then I noticed his seatmate, which was awake and did not seem to bother with him sleeping on the floor, and then I felt relieved. Throughout the evening, most F/As let him sleep on the floor and this guy moved around in the floor, and then stretched out. Finally he was blocking the aisle and the good F/A made her colleague waking him up and finally moved him to a real seat. It was just so strange to see a man sleeping on a relatively dirty floor without blankets and pillows for more than four hours. I guess the new J seats did not fit him well. What a strange incident!

Coffee, cappuccino, espresso and tea available during the flight.
Sandwiches and ice-cream also served on request. (I never saw the ice-cream.)

Lights were turned on at 6:30am HK time, and hot towels were once again passed out, followed the one tray breakfast, which was a major disappointment. The fruit salad was small and featured only kiwi, melon, and physalis (small yellow fruit), and then there is a slice of St. Paulin cheese, and then the breadbasket featured orange muffins, brioches, brown breads, crackers, and whole wheat rolls. The entrée was a strange dish with some small tarts, and I really want a more classic egg breakfast. For a more proper breakfast, yogurt and cereal should be offered, and most importantly, a choice should be offered. Not a good way to end this flight!

Breakfast
Potato Pasties, egg and cheese gratin, tomato compote
Fresh Fruit Salad

We began our descent at 7:14am, and landed on R/W25L at 7:38am, which was strange to me. R/W25L was often used as takeoff and only cargo planes used this runway. I guess it was due to the morning hours, but taxing was a bit longer than usual. We parked at gate 19 at 7:47pm, while the QF’s 744 VH-OJH was pushing back for its morning flight to London.

Here are links for the two cities that I visisted.
Geneva Photo Link:
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8QbNHDNy5bs8i

Helsinki Photo Link:
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8QbNHDNy5bs9E

Well, AY’s business class is a fine product especially for the price that I pay, but I will not pay more for the same seat and service. The new seat is a nice improvement from the old seat, but it should be fully flat. I like the functional aspects of the new seat, but the sliding factor bothered me. With the new A340s and 350s, even if AY used these seats again, they should be adjusted to a 100% full flat position. Also hopefully the A340/350s will feature a 2-2-2 six abreast arrangement and a full flat position. Of course the more fundamental problem is to fix the entertainment system ?“on demand?have to be planned down the road, and most importantly, make sure they work and perhaps to allow one of the channels in J class to be able to hear the Main cabin programming, in case the PTVs broke down. Then the catering is a major disappointment. Please serve the fruit in a real plate, not a plastic supermarket bag, even supermarkets used a nice plastic container. If Costco can afford a plastic container, Finnair can afford them. For mid-flight snacks, they should be offered and a snack station should always be set up. Then offered the sandwiches and ice cream in the menu?why load them, if the F/As are too lazy to pass them around. The pre-arrival meal was simply a disgrace, and a choice should be offered immediately (two will be good), and then one more appetizer course (yogurt for breakfast) should be offered. Flight attendants on the long haul flights were not as good as the intra-European flight attendants, so AY should reconsidered the whole F/A work flow. One F/A offering drinks and hanging coats in J during the boarding process were not enough, and the pursuer should make their welcome rounds by addressing passenger by their last names at least once. Then the F/As need to be more active in making mid-flight rounds. Fortunately, each flight featured one responsible F/A, but without them, I will rate Finnair lower.

On conclusion, Finnair offers a decent business class product at a decent price, but there were rooms for improvement, even if they have to continue with the lower J price. Some items such as improved F/A services do not cost any more money, and serving fruit in a plate should not cost AY significant amount of money. The second meal definitely needs to see some improvements, especially on daytime flight. I can’t expect a full dinner, but a choice for entrees, and a small fruit appetizer or salad should be offered along with entrée and dessert. I honestly will not pay more than USD $2500 for AY now, unless some improvements are done for catering. Perhaps the Finland market does not allow them to offer a high priced product, but sometime can be improved. Hopefully with the new A340s/350s, more changes will come along. Will I fly AY again? Yes, because they are the one of the few OW partners offering a reasonable J fare, but will I recommend to people? I doubt it.

Thanks for reading the report!

Carfield

7 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineUpperDeck79 From Finland, joined Feb 2005, 1139 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (7 years 8 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 5972 times:

Thanks for a great report and for the beautiful pics of my hometown!  Smile
I've never been in AY's J class, but I've flown AY long-haul in Y many, many times (DC-10, MD-11, A340 (short-haul)...

One correction, though:

Quoting Carfield (Thread starter):
SCHAGEN section

It's the Schengen agreement which devides the airport into Schengen (= domestic flights + flights to Schengen countries) and non-Schengen areas.



AY and ANA rock!
User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1882 posts, RR: 25
Reply 2, posted (7 years 8 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 5951 times:
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Carfield,

Excellent report and pictures!

I have often wondered what the service was like on Finnair, and the airline certainly looks to be very good! I like the Finnair livery on the EMB-170. The food looks pretty good on all your flights; that's nice that passengers in Business on the EMB-170 recieve something pretty substantial.

Looking forward to more reports!

-767747


User currently offlineMH017 From Netherlands, joined Apr 2005, 1669 posts, RR: 31
Reply 3, posted (7 years 8 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 5917 times:

Adrian,

What an excellent trip-report you've written; moreover, your pictures are comprehensive, both of the flights and the cities...

Too bad, AY left something to be desired in Business-Class, especially, when it came to 'personal attention' by the F/A's; seats and food look quite good on the other hand...

I do like the glassware they use for the drinks: is this Iitala ?



don't throw away tomorrow !
User currently offlineAndaman From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (7 years 8 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 5908 times:

Thank you for the great report, you truly had noticed every detail. I am planning to fly AY's J class for the first time next winter, SIN-HEL one way. Your report gave a good picture what to expect.

Quoting Carfield (Thread starter):
tastes like shrimps or crayfish

I think you had Finnish lake crayfish, the season has just started.

Quoting Carfield (Thread starter):

After a day at Helsinki, which definitely was much better than expected and I could easily spend another day there ---

Good to hear you liked HEL. It sounded you didn't expect much though  Wink


User currently offlineAndaman From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (7 years 8 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 5880 times:

Quoting MH017 (Reply 3):


I do like the glassware they use for the drinks: is this Iitala ?

I noticed Iittalas's retro-desing from 1970s, the "icy" Ultima Thule classes.


User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8430 posts, RR: 55
Reply 6, posted (7 years 8 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 5573 times:
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Hi Carfield, another great report.

It seems that the service was a little below par on both of your longhauls. I've had 6 AY longhaul flights to various destinations in asia, on all flights the service was excellent. Hopefully you were just unlucky and this is not a sign of the current service levels.

Quoting Carfield (Thread starter):
Boarding began at 4:35pm, and there was no one staffing the door. The door just opened automatically blocking the access to nearby gate conveniently, and everyone just boarded with no separate priority boarding

- I hate this,there are seperate lines to check boarding pass/passport then note to board the plane.



I'm planning another trip to asia by year end and plan to fly AY 'J', subject to a decent fare. AY 'J' is pretty good, but not on a par with BA,CX etc.

Look forward to your next report.

Regards

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333,342
User currently offlineDLBOIFIN From Finland, joined Jun 2006, 164 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (7 years 8 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 5363 times:

Hi Adrian,

very nice report and just great pictures! I have few comments to your remarks:

Quoting Carfield (Thread starter):
Menus and wine lists are passed out next, and passengers are not addressed by their last names at anytime during the flight, which is a big no-no to me. Even Northwest made their Japanese F/As go around the cabin and addressed passengers by their last names, while taking their entrée orders. I never expect an Asian airlines?approach by forcing the F/As to memorize our last names obsessively on AY, but at least, the purser should do his or her welcome rounds by addressing passengers by their last names and saying their hellos.

In Finland (as well as in other Nordic countries) it is not usual to address customers with their last names, it might be even considered kind of intimidating. As Finnair want' s to be a world carrier, at least to Asia, I think this is something they really should adapt as it is expected from the non-Nordic B/C customers.

Quoting Carfield (Thread starter):
Well catering is fine for the main meal, but definitely has rooms for improvement. I have more problems with the lack of mid-flight snacks and the pre-arrival snack.

I have had the opportunity to fly AY in B/C few times on long haul and to me it seem that they really have scaled down their meal service. Not good. No salad with the main courses? Also, I find their selection of main courses bit weird, for example from Hong Kong to Helsinki they have two different types of beef..what's the point of that? Usually people flying long haul these days prefer more healthier, lighter options such as pasta and salads...Finnair's catering should wake up for the new millennium..!

Quoting Carfield (Thread starter):
Here is the menu transcript:
Tastes of the Archipelago
HEL-EUR 4/605HM
Toast Skagen with roe of vendace
Roasted lamb, dauphinoise potatoes and grilled paprika
Strawberry Cake, chantilly cream

No choice seems to be AY style, but for J, it is a bit tacky even when printed menus are used. The meal itself is nice, and the appetizer is really good.

C'mon, show me any European airline who have printed menu cards AND choices for different meals on intra-EU flight under three hours..? I don't think there are so many..
 sarcastic  I think Finnair has a top notch B/C catering intra-Europe flights but long haul really needs some lift.

Quoting Carfield (Thread starter):
Not sure what vendace is, but tastes like shrimps or crayfish.

Vendace is typical Finnish lake fish, looks little bit like Baltic Herring.

Quoting Carfield (Thread starter):
fruit was offered, which were an absolutely disgrace. It was a small plastic bag, as shown in picture, filled with green apples, which have seen its better time, cantaloupe, and grapes.

Uuh, looks really pathetic, seems that the menu planners on Finnair has no idea how to serve fruits, definitely not like this!

Quoting Carfield (Thread starter):
The entrée was a strange dish with some small tarts, and I really want a more classic egg breakfast. For a more proper breakfast, yogurt and cereal should be offered, and most importantly, a choice should be offered. Not a good way to end this flight!

On the other hand I am proud that Finnair serves Finnish dishes but then again, if they want to be a world carrier, there definitely has to be a choice. Again, many passengers want to have lighter breakfast such as cereal and yoghurt and I think that they should be available as second choice since not all pax are so fascinated about the Finnish delicacies
 Big grin

Quoting Carfield (Thread starter):
Then the F/As need to be more active in making mid-flight rounds. Fortunately, each flight featured one responsible F/A, but without them, I will rate Finnair lower.

This is so typical for Finnair; on one flight the service is almost like heaven but then the next one can really be flight from hell. They relly need to focus to their quality and service delivery. Customers like to know what to expect and consistent product flight after flight after flight.

My five cents..

DB


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