Updated on July 15, 2015
It’s a family affair this summer at Points, MD and today’s post will be from our brother Chris who is a high school history teacher and just came back from traveling through Europe for a couple weeks. After today’s post on Finnair he will be reviewing the cities he visited and giving us a view of the cities from a travel and history perspective. Here we go!
Guest Post: Chris Caldwell
In June, my wife Madeline and I took a two week trip to Europe and for our flight back, as a surprise, I booked us a Business Class flights from Rome-Helsinki and Helsinki-Chicago.
The flight from Rome-Helsinki wasn’t much to write home about, our business class tickets afforded us an aisle and window seat with a middle seat unoccupied. The staff was hospitable and attentive, but I was a bit disappointed in the amenities. But, that’s ok – the trip I was really looking forward to was our trans-Atlantic flight to Chicago.
When we arrived in the Helsinki airport, we checked in and quickly made our way to the Finnair Lounge.
Madeline, not realizing why we were granted access, still had no idea that International Business class awaited us, The Helsinki airport was great – clean, quiet, friendly. I would certainly look forward to flying through Helsinki in the future. The Finnair Lounge was nice, nothing over the top, but a welcome spot to wait patiently for our flight to board. The front desk scanned our Passports and welcomed us in.
When we arrived, the lounge was fairly crowded. It was two floors, with the second floor overlooking the Tarmac. The second floor was totally occupied, so we weren’t able to enjoy the view, but it was a nice option nonetheless. There were also three Mac computers that could be used by guests as workstations.
Overall, the free wifi, quiet work area, and various seating arrangements made the Finnair lounge a great place to wait for our flight. The food spread left a bit to be desired though, Hopefully they will be able to upgrade it in the future.
Route: AY9 HEL-ORD
Seats: D and H
Flight time: 9 hours
When we boarded our flight to Chicago, Madeline naturally turned to the right towards the main cabin, expecting a coach seat. She was pleasantly surprised when I told her that I booked us Business class seats for the 9 hour flight!
The seats were quite comfortable. They were plenty wide enough for us, and would have been comfortable for those considerably larger. The seats folded into a 6’7 bed that allowed us to comfortably sleep (which I did for about 4 hours). Our carry on bags had to be boarded above us, but there was plenty of room to place the essentials that I wanted for the beginning of the flight.
The stewardess offered us a glass of champagne to celebrate our sweet seats for the trip, and some Business class veterans were watching us, amused I am sure, at how excited we were to be there.
Once we had settled in, we were each offered slippers, amenity bags, headphones, socks, blankets, and pillows. After they had handed out all of these, it took us a few minutes to find places to put them!
The entertainment system in Finnair Business class was a welcome amenity. From movies to TV shows, games, and puzzles, there was plenty to keep us occupied. My favorite part of the entertainment system was the selection. They provided upwards of 50 different films, ranging in all types of genres, enough to satisfy even the most fickle film snobs. Between the two of us, Madeline and I each watched 4 films prior to stretching out our seat and sleeping through the rest of the flight.
The food was above and beyond what we had anticipated (I would assume that’s quite common for people making their first trip on International Business). The four course meal began with a garden salad and cold smoked salmon. Both of the starters were great and made me look forward to the main course! We were given three different choices for our main entrée, Lamb enhtrecote, Oven baked guinea fowl breast, or fiorelli pasta filled with basil. All three sounded fantastic, but I decided to go with the fiorelli pasta. It certainly did not disappoint. The fiorelli tasted fantastic, but man was it rich. I guess it was the correct choice considering I needed to catch some shut eye in order to get back on my sleep schedule.
Probably the most impressive part of the trip was the service. The staff was attentive and thorough. Never did I have to wait more than a few minutes for someone to approach me and I was never left wanting for anything. Both Business class flights (Rome-Helsinki, Helsinki-Chicago) provided really outstanding service, and made for a much more enjoyable experience.
Overall, it was a memorable and incredible experience on our flight home. It was a great way to end the trip and was above and beyond our expectations. If you only have enough points to fly Business class one way, be sure to do it on the way home. We were both exhausted after our two week trip and it gave me something to look forward to on the way home. Finnair was clean, friendly, attentive, and comfortable. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity in the future!