This is my first trip report. Hopefully you enjoy reading it! Let's get to the point, shall we.. Finnair had some really nice offers to the USA and my girlfriend had never visited the States so we decided to book a small holiday in New York.
Date : 1.1.2005
Flight : AY005 from Helsinki to New York - John F. Kennedy Intl.
Aircraft : MD-11 OH-LGF (48766/600, mfd 0496, del 0604)
STD/ATD (local time) : 14:20/14:23
STA/ATA (local time) : 15:55/15:35
Duration : 8h 12min
Distance : 6602 km
Photo © Sam Chui
We got to the Helsinki-Vantaa airport at noon to check-in for the flight. The check-in was quite smooth except that Finnair's Miami and New York flights had their own check-in desks. I noticed only on four screens title "AY033 Miami", but no "AY005 New York". Finnair uses usually all the desks for their flights but sometimes there are specified desks for flights. There were actually two specified desks for our New York flight in the darkest corner of the number 2 check-in hall. There should have been some signs to show better where the desks for Miami/New York flights were. Well we checked in and got our pre-selected seats 56K/L.
The security check was quite interesting. Before me there was a man with a wallet in his pocket and the metal detector beebed. I waited for my turn as a security officer searched that man's pockets. I was advised to go through the detector and it beebed (I think it was my belt). I waited for some security officer to come and advise me what to do but then they just said that crab your bags! And I was free to go. I could have carried any kind of weapons inside the plane. Not so good thing with security! Hopefully this kind of things do NOT happen anymore!
We had time to walk in the airy terminals of HEL. There weren't many flights departing because of the New Year's day. Shortly we got into the Non-Shengen area which was brand new. The terminal was great with some shops and places to sit and wait for your flight to depart.
Our plane (OH-LGF) was the latest MD-11 addition to AY's fleet so I was waiting eagerly to fly with this one because I only had flown on the four older ones.
Boarding the plane was also quite smooth but it would have been nice if they were boarding the plane from the rows behind. Usually AY uses this method, but not this time. We were fortunately sitting near the bridge and got early to the back of the economy class. The flight seemed to be fully booked. The cabin looked tidy and smart and on the seat pockets were a bottle of spring water and a pillow and head seats were waiting on the seats. Then I noticed something; No personal blowers on the sealing! Only the reading lights. Well this aircraft served previously on the fleet of CityBird but still those would have been a nice thing on board. The seat pitch was ok. Not very generous but I am quite tall (1,85 meters). Our cabin crew consisted of a male purser and stewardesses.
Our Off-Block time was few minutes behind our scedule and we taxied towards runway 22R. There were no other traffic so we took off immediatly after the line up. It was nice to follow our ground speed and altitude on the IFE screens when we were climbing but when we reached 5000ft the only information on the screens were: Time on origin, time on destination, eta and duration and of course the map. The map was nice because it had a darker area showing where the Sun had set. There used to be ground speed, altitude and temperature information on Finnair's MD-11 IFE but not anymore.
Photo © Lauri Huima
The cabin view during flight over Greenland
We flew for one hour before the meal service started. First was the beverage trolley with drinks and a tiny snack and after that followed the food trolley. For dinner they served some bull in sauce with smashed potatoes with a roll, salad, spring water and a Finnish chocolade sweet. The food was good and the portion wasn't too small. After the dinner the IFE provided us a movie called "Wicker Park". We flew quite a northern route passing north of Iceland and half away over Greenland. After the first movie IFE provided the BBC News considering the Tsunami disaster in Asia and some documentary films and cartoons. After that the second movie "Catwoman" followed. When we reached Canada the cabin crew served us a snack. They served a stuffed roll with juice.
Photo © Lauri Huima
Descending over The USA
The service and the food was generally good. The cabin crew were smiling and were polite and helpful. So no complains on that part. During the flight our captain announced only one time very briefly the weather in New York nothing else.
We started our descent at the border of the USA and Canada and flew west of New York and turned back towards North and KJFK. It was nice that we flew over Mahattan quite low so everyone tried to seek the skycrapers through the windows. Fortunately we had one window seat (56L) and I was able to catch some photos during the flight. We landed at 15:28 local time on runway 31R and taxied to our gate 23. Unfortunately we were on the wrong side to see the planes on the gates and we taxied only for few minutes. On-Block time was 15:35 so we were 20 minutes early!
Very nice flight on board a MD-11 which tends to be more and more rare on passenger services.
Would be very nice to have some feedback! Stay tuned for the return flight report from JFK to HEL..
Photo © Jussi Kettunen