In January thepickytraveller flew Finnair from JFK to HEL in J class. Expectations were quite high for the Finnish national airline… Unfortunately the outcome was overall disappointing.
The seat configuration (1-2-1, 2-2-1, 1-2-1…) seems clever but the cabin feels cramped and old, with very little personal storage space. Let’s hope they quickly renew their long-haul fleet with the brand new A350. But with Finnair’s goal strongly turned towards the Asian market it’s not likely their A350 will land to JFK any time soon…
If you are travelling solo, it may be smart to choose a single seat in the left section as those offer the most personal space (with 2 seats in front and behind them). All J class seats turn into lie-flat beds when it’s time to get some sleep. On this flight thepickytraveller’s seat was broken and refused to move in any direction… Only one other seat was free in the business class cabin on that day, and it was broken too!!! Ok, you can’t help technical issues but 2 seats broken in the rather small J class cabin at the same time, come on… The cabin crew tried everything they could to fix the broken seat but it remained totally stuck. After many apologies they offered a voucher worth 40 euros valid on future in-flight purchases and asked to contact customer service at destination to get some compensation for the matter. Finnair handles claims only online and it took almost 2 weeks to get an answer… The compensation was a refund of 200 euros or 40 000 Finnair Plus points, which is quite low considering the J class ticket’s high price and the fact seat is the most important thing on a long-haul flight (especially for night flights). In comparison, a few months ago Lufthansa offered thepickytraveller a compensation of 600 euros just because of a 5 hours daytime delay on a flight from Johannesburg to Frankfurt.
What comes to food and wine there is nothing to cheer about either. As wine selection was rather good (2 whites, 2 reds, Champagne, port wine), the food was bland and surely not meeting the standards of international long-haul business class. And they really need to get rid of that tray (so coach).
Though the Finnish carrier surely has a good branding (the Marimekko/Iittala theme in the tableware, amenity kits and even napkins is very nice), it seems they have slightly forgotten the basics we pay for when travelling business class (privacy, comfort, personal space, food…). They are busy implementing the new flagship A350 on Asian routes with menus created by Finnish famous chefs, but it’s not a reason to overlook the other international destinations they fly to.