gabrielchew
Topic Author
Posts: 3750
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 5:43 am

Helsinki For The Weekend On BA And KF

Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:01 pm

Helsinki for the weekend on BA and KF

Hi everyone!

This will be a mainly picture report – I hadn’t planned on doing a report, but then I had a bit of time at work, and thought I’d give it a go quickly, so please excuse the lack of detail!

In late March I was thinking ahead (as normal) looking for places to go for the second May bank holiday. I originally planned on doing a tour of the UK (London - Liverpool by train, easyJet to IOM, Manx2 to BFS, the Flybe back to LGW via LBA), but then decided at the last minute not to book, and to go to Finland instead. This would be my third new country this year after Oman and Ukraine.

After a bit of research, the best fare was available outbound on BA, and returning on SAS-controlled Finnish Airline Blue 1. The return was just over £100, not bad for a bank holiday weekend.

Of course, things didn’t go entirely to plan, and my dates coincided with the BA strike – my flight wasn’t cancelled, but was now to be operated by Finnish charter carrier Air Finland. I was annoyed with this at first, but then decided that it would be a good way to add a new carrier, and enjoy another B757 flight. Also, there would be an up gauge in capacity from an A319, so the flight should be pretty empty, so plenty of space to spread out. On ba.com I was offered an earlier flight to HEL, so I tired to pick the mid-afternoon Finnair flight. Despite there still being seats available, and the rebooking engine telling me I could rebook, the page kept crashing, so I stuck with my original flight.

Departures at Heathrow


JAL to NRT
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7528.jpg

May 2010
British Airways BA 798 (operated by Air Finland OF 798)
London Heathrow (LHR) – Helsinki (HEL)
Boeing B757-200 (OH-AFJ)
Scheduled: 1820-2310 (2h40m)
Actual: 1841-2252 (2h21m)
Economy Class

Boarding our ‘British Airways’ flight
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7529.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7530.jpg

Biman’s new B772
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7532.jpg

'BA' Barcelona flight
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7533.jpg

AY scheduled for 5 minutes before us
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7536.jpg

Lots of grounded BA
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7540.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7542.jpg
SQ 77W and QF A380 and B744
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7543.jpg

Terminal 5
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7544.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7545.jpg

Surprisingly good legroom for a charter
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7547.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7534.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7546.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7563.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7548.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7549.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7552.jpg

Catering was as per BA – I always thought of Finland as being ‘miles’ away (probably as it’s 2 hours ahead), and so worthy of a proper meal – the flight was only just over 2 hours though, so BA only deemed it worth of a cookie (albeit a tasty one).
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7551.jpg

Very empty rear cabin on Air Finland’s B757
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7555.jpg

Descending into HEL(l)!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7557.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7560.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7561.jpg

Still surprisingly light for 11pm
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7568.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7570.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7572.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7574.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7576.jpg

Helsinki Vantaa Airport
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7579.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7582.jpg

Finnairs late night flight to HKG or BKK
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7586.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7588.jpg

Finnair Airport bus
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7589.jpg

I found Air Finland pretty good – I know it wasn’t their normal service, but the legroom was very nice. The FAs were all very friendly, and spoke perfect English.

A few photos of Helsinki
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7604.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7606.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7746.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7757.jpg

Reindeer Meatballs
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7707.jpg

Fort of Suomenlinna
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7608.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7668.jpg


Helsinki Cathedral
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7716.jpg

A church hewn from stone
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7742.jpg

May 2010
Blue 1 KF 557
Helsinki (HEL) – London Heathrow (LHR)
MacDonnell Douglas MD-90 (OH-BLU)
Scheduled: 2005-2115 (3h10m)
Actual: 2036-2125 (2h49m)
Economy Class

I was dropped off at the airport by FlyingFinn76 (takes for the guided tour!), and went to pick up my boarding card. The first thing I noticed was a delay – but only 10 minutes (in the end we left nearly half an hour late).
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7770.jpg

View of HEL
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7769.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7771.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7772.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7773.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7775.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7776.jpg

My jet back to Heathrow
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7777.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7778.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7779.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7780.jpg

Views
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7781.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7783.jpg

Best seat in the house
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7786.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7791.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7792.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7795.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7796.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7802.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7804.jpg

Free catering was limited to tea or coffee and a glass of water – better than Ryanair.

The Whalejet in Heathrow
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7806.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/Finnland/CIMG7808.jpg

Thanks for reading! Comments very welcome!
http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: LGW-FNC-PDL-TER-LIS-LUX-LHR-MUC-BRN,BSL-LHR
 
AI151
Posts: 287
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 3:20 pm

RE: Helsinki For The Weekend On BA And KF

Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:38 pm

Hi Gabriel nice pics on this TR. That 'BA' flight to Barcelona aircraft seems to have a good history with SV as well as having the Iron Maiden livery. Shame its plain white now though! Despite the airline/aircraft change, I would have been happy as a few flights did get cancelled plus its good to see that BA did come up with a back up plan rather than cancelling flights left, right and centre.

Helsinki looks like a lovely city and just out of curiosity what time did it eventually get dark when you arrived?

Sandeep (AI151)
Modern Vision. Timeless Traditions...
 
initious
Posts: 943
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 5:54 am

RE: Helsinki For The Weekend On BA And KF

Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:22 pm

Hello Gabriel, I can see that it is a great substitute from an A319 to a B757! Seeing that BA has already retired their B757s, it's almost impossible to take a B757 operated by BA now. However, a charter is still great! Honestly, I did not know Air Finland actually existed, thanks for adding a new airline to my log! =)

Food on short haul flights in both Europe and North America seems to be getting scarce. In Asia on short haul flights, we sometimes still get a full meal. Well, that's cost-saving in a nutshell. Anyway, hope to be seeing more great reports from you in the future!

Daniel
One day I will fly around the world!
 
andaman
Posts: 2271
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2005 5:29 am

RE: Helsinki For The Weekend On BA And KF

Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:38 pm

Thanks for the TR!
Interesting reading, the first Air Finland report I've seen, I live in Helsinki myself but never flown Air Finland and never been on MD-90 of Blue1.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Surprisingly good legroom for a charter

True, good for the passengers, they have operated long charters to Asia also. And even their busiest route HEL-AGP takes around 4h.

Quoting AI151 (Reply 1):
what time did it eventually get dark

Today 8th June in Helsinki we have light from 03:59 to 22:40, up north in Lapland sun doesn't set at all.
Chinese cookie in SFO: "You're doomed to a life of forever travelling abroad and to be able to afford it!"
 
gabrielchew
Topic Author
Posts: 3750
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 5:43 am

RE: Helsinki For The Weekend On BA And KF

Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:38 pm

Thanks for the replies so far.

Quoting AI151 (Reply 1):
That 'BA' flight to Barcelona aircraft seems to have a good history with SV as well as having the Iron Maiden livery

You could actually just make out the Saudi Arabian titles faintly on the fuselage.

Quoting AI151 (Reply 1):
Despite the airline/aircraft change, I would have been happy as a few flights did get cancelled plus its good to see that BA did come up with a back up plan rather than cancelling flights left, right and centre

To be honest I'm surprised BA kept the Helsinki flights given how easily everyone could have been rebooked onto AY. Vienna and Barcelona on the other hand (where they don't have a partner) should really have got the charter planes.

Quoting AI151 (Reply 1):
Helsinki looks like a lovely city and just out of curiosity what time did it eventually get dark when you arrived?

Helsinki was nice. I think it got dark properly around 11.30pm? Can't quite remember, sorry.

Quoting Initious (Reply 2):
Seeing that BA has already retired their B757s, it's almost impossible to take a B757 operated by BA now.

Well, they still fly a few routes. I'm booked on one to Madrid in August.

Quoting Initious (Reply 2):
I did not know Air Finland actually existed, thanks for adding a new airline to my log! =)

No problem!
http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: LGW-FNC-PDL-TER-LIS-LUX-LHR-MUC-BRN,BSL-LHR
 
gabrielchew
Topic Author
Posts: 3750
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 5:43 am

RE: Helsinki For The Weekend On BA And KF

Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:41 pm

Quoting Andaman (Reply 3):
Thanks for the TR!
Interesting reading, the first Air Finland report I've seen, I live in Helsinki myself but never flown Air Finland and never been on MD-90 of Blue1.

Well, Blue1 wasn't so special, but the MD90 was nice (a change from A320 and B737s)
http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: LGW-FNC-PDL-TER-LIS-LUX-LHR-MUC-BRN,BSL-LHR
 
PlaneHunter
Posts: 6521
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:17 am

RE: Helsinki For The Weekend On BA And KF

Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:36 pm

Hi Gabriel,

interesting report with nice shots from Helsinki.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Of course, things didn’t go entirely to plan, and my dates coincided with the BA strike – my flight wasn’t cancelled, but was now to be operated by Finnish charter carrier Air Finland. I was annoyed with this at first, but then decided that it would be a good way to add a new carrier, and enjoy another B757 flight.

I would have done the same - how can one resist getting such a rare carrier?  
Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Catering was as per BA – I always thought of Finland as being ‘miles’ away (probably as it’s 2 hours ahead), and so worthy of a proper meal – the flight was only just over 2 hours though, so BA only deemed it worth of a cookie (albeit a tasty one).

Very poor...

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Reindeer Meatballs

Looks very tasty, just like all the slices of salmon in the other picture.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
My jet back to Heathrow

Good to see OH-BLU which I also flew on two years ago.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
FlyingFinn76
Posts: 1698
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:10 pm

RE: Helsinki For The Weekend On BA And KF

Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:56 pm

Hi Gabriel,

Nice to see you got this up so quickly. Some nice pictures from Helsinki and around. Also a very nice thing to catch that OF 757, something I've yet to fly!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
The return was just over £100, not bad for a bank holiday weekend.

Now that's a bargain!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Catering was as per BA – I always thought of Finland as being ‘miles’ away (probably as it’s 2 hours ahead), and so worthy of a proper meal – the flight was only just over 2 hours though, so BA only deemed it worth of a cookie (albeit a tasty one).

Hmm, interesting. I flew BA on this very same evening flight three times within the last six months and every single time we got quite a substantial and decent sandwich plus of course the full bar service. I hope this is just something due to the strike arrangements and not a permanent cut back...

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I was dropped off at the airport by FlyingFinn76 (takes for the guided tour!),

Don't mention it, too bad we didn't really have enough time for something more substantialm but it looks like you managed to do quite some sightseeing during your period here.

I'm actually a bit surprised that the flight departed from the tiny non-Schengen area at T1, usually even the KF non-Schengen flights depart from the other end of the airport (something like a kilometer away) from the arger T2 longhaul/non-Schengen area.
 
gabrielchew
Topic Author
Posts: 3750
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 5:43 am

RE: Helsinki For The Weekend On BA And KF

Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:31 pm

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 6):
Looks very tasty, just like all the slices of salmon in the other picture.

Yes, very tasty. The salmon was excellent. The spaces in the display were caused by me buying them for lunch  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 7):
Hmm, interesting. I flew BA on this very same evening flight three times within the last six months and every single time we got quite a substantial and decent sandwich plus of course the full bar service. I hope this is just something due to the strike arrangements and not a permanent cut back...

Yeah, I was expecting more - the cookie did seem a bit stingy, but with constant talk of cutbacks, I thought that that was par of the course. LH's short haul catering seems much better. At least I got through a few beers on the flight to get my moneys worth!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 7):

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I was dropped off at the airport by FlyingFinn76 (takes for the guided tour!),

Don't mention it, too bad we didn't really have enough time for something more substantialm but it looks like you managed to do quite some sightseeing during your period here.

Yes, I managed a fair bit of sightseeing - Helsinki is an interesting place

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 7):
'm actually a bit surprised that the flight departed from the tiny non-Schengen area at T1, usually even the KF non-Schengen flights depart from the other end of the airport (something like a kilometer away) from the arger T2 longhaul/non-Schengen area.

That non-Schengen area was tiny - just two gates, but only around 50 seats, so most people were left standing up for half an hour as the screen said boarding when the first flight hadn't even disembarked. Poor organisation from Blue1. There was also only one woman checking passes/passports/visas, so took an age to board.
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FlyKev
Crew
Posts: 1295
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 5:34 am

RE: Helsinki For The Weekend On BA And KF

Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:37 pm

Good report. It was nice to see another Air Finland plane - I flew OH-AFI to JFK a few summers back from LGW when it covered for FlyZoom.
HEL looks like a great city and it is certainly on my top 10 cities to visit in Europe.

Kev.
The white zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only
 
shamrock321
Posts: 595
Joined: Sat May 03, 2008 7:27 pm

RE: Helsinki For The Weekend On BA And KF

Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:50 pm

Nice report, nice pictures. Want to visit HEL myself soon, did you find it expensive?
 
FlyingFinn76
Posts: 1698
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:10 pm

RE: Helsinki For The Weekend On BA And KF

Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:22 am

Quoting shamrock321 (Reply 10):
Want to visit HEL myself soon, did you find it expensive?

Ahh, the irony - an Irishman asking whether Helsinki is expensive!  . Seriously speaking, as a local I say sure Finland and especially Helsinki is expensive as such, but compared to Dublin/Ireland, not really. The only things significantly more expensive here than in Ireland are liquid: beer (or alcohol in general, especially in bars) and petrol  
 
gabrielchew
Topic Author
Posts: 3750
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 5:43 am

RE: Helsinki For The Weekend On BA And KF

Wed Jun 09, 2010 8:11 am

Quoting shamrock321 (Reply 10):
Want to visit HEL myself soon, did you find it expensive?

Well, travelling with the good old Pound, I find most places expensive nowadays. i suppose that why I enjoyed my trip to Kiev so much - one of the few countries that's still cheap! Realisistically, I found it to be fairly similar to most of Europe, and cheaper that Sweden.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 11):
Quoting shamrock321 (Reply 10):
Want to visit HEL myself soon, did you find it expensive?

Ahh, the irony - an Irishman asking whether Helsinki is expensive!

And I find Ireland more expensive that Finland!
http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: LGW-FNC-PDL-TER-LIS-LUX-LHR-MUC-BRN,BSL-LHR
 
infodesk
Posts: 1462
Joined: Thu May 18, 2006 11:06 pm

RE: Helsinki For The Weekend On BA And KF

Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:15 am

Very enjoyable TR and Helsinki is such a beautiful city. You certainly fitted in a lot of sightseeing into your short stay.

What a bonus getting an Air Finland 757. I really love the safety card, what cute drawings! Your pics of LHR from above are also very impressive. Good job you managed to have your weekend away despite the strike.

Thanks for posting & happy flying
Infodesk   
"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
 
gabrielchew
Topic Author
Posts: 3750
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 5:43 am

RE: Helsinki For The Weekend On BA And KF

Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:37 pm

Quoting infodesk (Reply 13):
You certainly fitted in a lot of sightseeing into your short stay.

Well, I try my hardest to see everything!

Quoting infodesk (Reply 13):
I really love the safety card, what cute drawings!

I showed my friend that picture - she said if you survive the crash landing, you'd probably get eaten by the whales
http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: LGW-FNC-PDL-TER-LIS-LUX-LHR-MUC-BRN,BSL-LHR

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