Finnair has a reputation of being a very good airline on domestic European flights. SN Brussels Airlines has a similar reputation. I've never flown AY before and I flew SN only once in the early days of their inception so the time has come for judging the airlines.
I'm off for an extended weekend to Finland, crossing over to Estonia.
12/08/2006 AY 812 Embraer RJ-170 seat 8A in Economy
I've never flown AY or the ER7 so today is all new despite being close to my 250th flight or so. The aircraft is very new but here are a few comments. AY have chosen velvet seats when many airlines nowadays offer leather seats. No cabin or individual entertainment is installed unlike with other airlines who have ordered this aircraft and use it on long thin routes.
Service was indeed pleasant. It was still a sandwich in a box but there were several drink services during the flight and the staff was forthcoming. The aircraft is nice as well and the 2-2 seating is really appreciated.
Departure was from a gate at Brussels but arrival was by bus at HEL. I wonder if they do this in the Winter as well. Brrr!!!
15/08/2006 AY6785 (cs SN2283) Avro RJ-85 OO-DJT seat 15E in Economy
Showing up early at the airport (little over 4 hours prior to departure), it was disappointing to be told that one can't check in until 2 hours prior to departure for this flight operated by SN. HEL is not that entertaining of an airport (especially landside) but there are some viewing options nonetheless.
Check-in was open starting with 1 desk supposed to cater for Business class passengers but eventually catering for all Economy class customers as well, eventually upsetting some Business class folks in the queue when the second desk, dedicated to Economy class, opened. They were allowed to check-in first in that row and that was it. Despite being early in the queue and booking sequence, they didn't manage to give my mother and I a pair of seats on the side of the Avro that has only 2. Instead we inherited an aisle and a middle seat. Boarding was by bus, again.
Soon after take off the meal service was started. From the front of the cabin only (some airlines start it at 2 positions in the cabin) so it took a while for the carrets to reach to us at the back. The Brussels Bistro was nice but it has its shortcomings. They managed to prepare a hot meal and that's nice except that the portion was ridiculously small. A square the size of a 3.5" floppy disk. Crackers where found in the box but no cheese or butter to get along. A single drink service accompanied the meal service and then nothing later on despite a flight duration of 2h40.
We landed 15 mins early and went to park remotely from the old finger despite terminal A being mostly empty (as usual). So we had to take yet another bus.
In conclusion, I would say that AY met most of my expectations while I expected SN to beat AY given it's recent reputation, which - based on this particular experience - I find overrated.