#933059 by marshy11
25 Feb 2017, 15:36
This weekend trip came about due to Headforpoints and their daily emails. Coupled with Raffles’ review of the Hilton Tallinn, it was time for us to try somewhere new.

The flights were booked through BA but flying on Finnair metal. With a £100 off a £500 Amex offer we added in an airport hotel to tip us over the £500 and make the trip even cheaper.

LHR - HEL (business)
HEL - TLN (economy but on a business ticket)
and return, for £232.

£232 x 2 for flights
£83 Renaissance Hotel, Bath Road.
Total £547.
Less £100 Amex credit
= £223.50 each.

A brief bit about pre flight. We drove up from Cornwall and parked at Heathrow Business Parking T3 (£43) on Thursday early evening. Walked the few hundred yards from there to the Renaissance. Checked in and were absolutely delighted with the room. The hotel has clearly had a refurb and the whole experience was a massive improvement on our normal Hilton Gatwick pre trip stay. I was impressed with the bedding on the super kingsize bed, which was absolutely sumptuous and felt like top quality 6million thread count finest cotton!

We had a typical pub-fish-and-chips at the nearby Three Magpies and had a few drinks before settling down for the evening. Next morning we made our way to T3 via the free bus (outside the hotel) and straight through FastTrack security. We pondered the lounge choices we had and went for Cathay purely because we’d heard it was newly opened and had rave reviews for the Noodle Bar. A few photos from there were on my “wave”.

Boarding was called through gate 1 a short walk from the lounge and as we arrived the gate was busy. A Finnair A350 was on stand. Group 1 pax called first and we flashed the iPhone boarding passes and turned left into the business cabin.

The A350 has a very airy layout and appears well designed. We chose (for a change) to sit “together” in 3D/H rather than behind one another. It was a good choice for couples but you still had privacy and did need to lean forward to chat through the small divider. The odd part was on take off/landing where I could see His TV screen and He mine (of course He took the opportunity to show me the onboard cameras - front and over - which wouldn’t be my choice of viewing but was very cool).

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Not having flown on a “proper business class flatbed” on a short haul flight I didn’t really know what it would be like. It felt like a long haul but wasn’t. The main and obvious difference was earphones rather than headphones and no amenity kit.

There is no pre take off drink and in fact it was a good 1hr 15- 1hr 30 into the flight before we got anything at all. For me that was food and a glass (bottle) of champagne. He had a drinks run (twice) and food, yet our side had a food run with a drink but no separate drinks run. Needless to say further drinks requests were graciously delivered and received.

The Finnair crew were very good but I wouldn’t say it was anything special.

Food. Food was funny. The trolley came and I was asked if I wanted lunch. I asked what it was and the reply was “lunch”! She didn’t mean that in an abrupt way, but she genuinely didn’t think I needed to know what type of food I was getting. Thankfully I’m not a veggie and although it did look like someone had squirted my lunch from a Mr Whippy ice-cream van, it was actually delicious.

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Smoked fish (possibly herring) with a dill and lemon dressing.
The bean/meat affair was meatballs of some description (pork?) with a really tasty sauce. Mash potato in a sort of dumpling fashion with floret or two of broccoli. I didn’t eat the raspberry pudding but am told both portions He ate were very nice.

Trays were taken very quickly - by that I mean as soon as I had finished and was replaced with a coffee. I opted for more champagne at this point (although it wasn’t offered).

Overall I did enjoy the food despite it’s appearance.

I was very surprised to see a full service on the IFE. I could easily have watched a couple of the movies and opted for a light hearted love story - 500 Days Of Summer. A word of note on the IFE on this (and probably all Finnair flights) is that you can start watching from the gate and understandably are interrupted for the safety briefing, only to go back to your movie to then have a 5 minute mini movie on “come to Finland we are great” FORCED on you, not once, but twice! You get the English version and then the Finnish version. No way of opting out and it IS an annoying video.

The fight lasted just short of 3 hours and honestly went very quickly, aside the first hour and a half waiting for a drink!

I did not like the A350 seat, nothing I could do made it comfortable. I had tons of room, it was well padded but no matter which angle I had it at, it wasn’t comfy. The arm rest to my right, which was a pull out type, was at the wrong angle, it faced away from me, the IFE screen was not movable (other than in or out of the holder) which meant you had to get your overall angle right in order to see it and still be comfy. That said, I feel 100% sure that on a long haul, if converted to a bed, I would love it. It was wide, long and felt very airy/spacious.

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Arrival at Helsinki was scary for me, not least because He chose to keep the cameras on and I had full view of the tarmac approaching from underneath and ahead. It was a gentle but snowy arrival.

And onto Tallinn.
#933069 by hiljil
25 Feb 2017, 18:01
Thank you for such an interesting and different TR. I must admit I have always wanted a flight where one can view take off & landing !!
#933072 by mitchja
25 Feb 2017, 19:07
Thanks for the TR. I believe Finnair are putting on the A350 on the LHR>HEL route for crew training purposes and it will end up on long-haul flights.

Mind you saying that, when I flew to HEL last year from LHR, the outbound flight was on a long-haul A330 A/C again with a full IFE which again had the outside cams on.
#933082 by gumshoe
25 Feb 2017, 22:23
I thought I read somewhere they used an A350 once a day because of its cargo capacity.

Anyway thanks for the great TR, very useful as I'm doing this trip in July (albeit with only one leg on the A350, and a night stop in HEL).
#933085 by marshy11
26 Feb 2017, 06:20
Enjoy the trip in July. We only have one leg on the A350 as the return is at some ridiculous hour of the morning, we're having a leisurely breakfast, spa and swim before leaving at 1215 later today.
#933109 by honey lamb
26 Feb 2017, 21:24
A friend of mine flew on the Finnair A350 last October on the same route. Unfortunately the plane went tech in LHR and they had to wait till an A350 engineer could fly from Helsinki to fix it. The flight left five hours late and he missed his connection to Riga.
Virgin Atlantic

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