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Everything to Know About Flying Finnair Business Class

By
Karen Burshtein
|
Freelance Writer
Finnair business class cabin.
June 21, 2022
|
7 min read

Finnair, part of the oneworld alliance, is the flagship (and largest airline) in Finland, with a home base at Helsinki Airport. While it has carved a niche connecting passengers traveling from Europe to Asia via Helsinki, it also connects several US cities to destinations across Europe. In spring 2022, Finnair launched new long hauls to Helsinki from Seattle and Dallas to add to their routes from Chicago, LA, and New York (JFK). 

Slowed down travel during the pandemic also gave the airline the opportunity to introduce, in fall 2021, a second base at Stockholm Arlanda Airport with direct flights to New York and LAX (and, in winter, to Miami) as well as Bangkok and Phuket for the Swedish market.

Finnair currently has a mixed fleet of wide body A330 and A350 for its long haul flights and a commitment for 29 aircraft, with two more to come in the next couple years. For short haul flights, Finnair uses the Airbus A320. 

What to know about Finnair business class

Business class is available on all long haul flights and most international short haul flights (especially Helsinki to London and Helsinki to Amsterdam). Finnair took advantage of downtime imposed by the pandemic to overhaul its business class or, as they put it, “totally reimagine” business class. The company sunk 200 million Euros into this upgrade (and its premium economy.)  

Finnair’s business class philosophy is to offer a distinctly Nordic and “residential” experience in the air.  Its new business class seat, the Collins Aerospace AirLounge seat, designed for both its A330 and A350 birds, really is game changing, with a 3D-scooped, fixed hard shell seat that looks like a little condo couch in the air. They were designed to enable a wide variety of sitting and sleeping positions, perhaps with more of a millennial customer in mind: It’s as if they imagined the way people sit and work at home now, crossed legged with pillows on your lap, or sitting back while resting your feet on the ottoman. 

new finnair business class seat.
all photos courtesy of Finnair

Finnair started rolling out the seating concept in February 2022. Plans are to have all its long haul flights outfitted with it by 2025, in time for its centenary. There will then be one seat type across the whole wide-bodied fleet which is quite unique for an airline of Finnair’s size. For now, the updated aircraft seats are found on flights between Helsinki and New York, Dallas, Chicago, and Singapore, select flights between Helsinki and Amsterdam and London, and flights between Arlanda and New York. Flights that don’t have these seats don’t have quite the wow factor but the long haul aircraft are fairly new and the cabins look fresh and in good condition. 

Further “Nordic enhancement” of the business class cabin comes via “mood lighting” with colors inspired by the northern lights. These are set across the backdrop of the business class color scheme, a minimalist and soothing light gray that is a continuation of Finnair's Nordic design aesthetic and also a continuation of the color scheme in Finnair’s lounges. The overall look is fresh and modern. 

Finnair’s short haul business class flights are a typical Eurobusiness affair. The Airbus A320 family meant for short-haul flights is older but the planes also look and feel well-maintained. Business class is an empty middle seat and a hot meal is served. 

Examples of deals we've seen in Finnair business class

The Finnair business class experience at the airport 

Finnair has really tied the user friendliness of Helsinki Vantaa airport into the virtues of flying its airline. (Finnair offers a practical stopover in Helsinki option, too, to let passengers experience the city on the way to their final destination.) Business class passengers at Vantaa will typically find the process even more streamlined: Terminal 2 which hosts non-Schengen and long-haul flights just underwent a lengthy renovation.

The travel experience is well thought out and you can feel the smooth flow in both departure and arrival areas.  All Finnair gates in T2 are located along the same short walkway. The Helsinki hub has fast connecting times, typically 35 minutes between flights for Schengen flights and 40 minutes for out of Schengen. After clearing customs, passengers enter the main hall, with its timber clad ceiling and dramatic free-form installation of living trees, shrubs and stones. The skylight above it brings daylight down to the ground floor. T2 is connected to the airport train station. 

Finnair business class check-in

Finnair offers an upgraded business class priority check-in in the new T2 hall in Helsinki. New security machines don’t make you take out laptops and liquids. That said, like almost everywhere, because of staffing issues, lately you’ll likely see queues. It’s still smooth, relatively speaking, and business travelers can soon be on their way to Finnair’s lounges.

If you want an extra layer of protection you can also opt for a VIP meet and greet service which fast tracks you through the airport and security but, really, the process is typically smooth enough that it doesn’t require extra services.

As well, there is always a priority check in for Finnair business class customers at other airports.

Finnair business class lounge access

Finnair business class lounge.

Finnair hosts three business class lounges at Vantaa. The first is reserved for outbound passengers connecting and departing to Schengen countries. It’s located at gate 23 in T4 and is open from 5:30am to 11:30pm. It has a cool blue and white color scheme, 320 modernist seats including work stations and “rejeuvenating” Neurosonic chairs in the relaxation area, wide windows, a play area for kids, storage lockers, two private shower suites, wifi, and printing facilities. 

Wine, beer, coffee, tea, and cocktails are self-serve and the food is generic, business class fare that feels like it’s in need of updating—it's really the design that stands out. Finnair Plus Platinum Lumo members can bring four guests with them. Finnair Plus Platinum or Gold card holders can bring one guest. Finnair Plus Platinum Lumo, Platinum or Gold member, can bring their children under the age of 18. 

The other two business class lounges are in the non-Schengen area, near gate 52 serving long haul flights (including London-bound flights). The Business Class Lounge, which unveiled a splashy redo in 2019, has 450 seats, also of different designs, including little business cubicles with screens, more modernist Finnish designed seating, and full overstuffed sofas for socializing. 

Showers are available on a first come, first served basis. You can watch chefs prepare internationally inspired dishes in the open kitchen; the meals are self-serve buffet style. Food changes on a weekly basis, with vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. The bar area offers cocktails and mocktails and coffee and specialty coffees are served in stylish Marimekko-designed latte cups that more than one guest has been seen helping themselves to as a souvenir. (These glasses are hot commodities on resell sites.) 

The Finnair Business Class Lounge is open to Finnair Business Flex, Business Classic and Business Saver* ticket holders and Finnair Plus Platinum Lumo, Platinum and Gold members can bring up to four guests. The lounge is also open to oneworld Emerald and Sapphire cardholders. 

The Finnair Platinum Wing Lounge is the lounge people aspire to. It’s designed to soothe the weary traveler with its Nordic design, a la carte meals prepared by chefs cooked in an open kitchen bar. (You can try a reindeer burger here). There’s also a bartender mixing great cocktails, and a sauna in the shower suites. This lounge reopened June 1, 2022 after being closed since Covid due to low volume (for the moment it’s only open from 11am-6:30pm but that covers the bulk of flights leaving, including US flights.)  

There are 155 seats in the Platinum Wing lounge, in natural textures with dark blue tones. Oversized sofas look out onto the tarmac. It feels like a really exclusive space and the service is quite personal because the staff seems to know a lot of the clients (they’ll hand a favorite drink to regulars, for example.) The Platinum lounge is available exclusively for Finnair Plus Platinum Lumo members (+ four guests), Platinum members (+ one guest) and oneworld Emerald members (+ one guest) 

Outside of Vanta and Arlanda, business class passengers can access oneworld partner airlines’ lounges. 

Baggage allowance

Checked baggage allowance with Finnair differs depending on where you are flying to and what level of business class you’ve booked. For example, flights to and from Japan in Business Flex and Business Classic allow 3 pieces of luggage of 32 kilos, or 70.5 pounds) but flights to and from other Asian countries in the same category allow 2 pieces. 

Business Flex flights to and from North America and all other destinations allow two pieces ( (10kg in total)  of carry on luggage and two pieces of  checked in baggage (32kg each) But if you have its basic business “Light”  ticket you don’t get any free checked baggage, among many other restrictions with this kind of fare (business class access and seat assignment for a fee, with no no cancellation or changes.)

The Finnair business class experience in the air

finnari galley.

The airline’s revamp has also focused on the plane’s entrance area which was retrofitted. During boarding, this main entrance is a lobby space, with clean, functional lines. During meal times it’s a full working galley. During cruise it’s a walk up bar where you can grab a refreshment and head back to your seat.

Onboard crew will hang up your coat and show you your seat’s storage areas, some of which are hiding in plain sight. And once you’re seated, they offer a drink and amuse bouche. In typical Finnish fashion they are not overly effusive but very friendly and highly attentive. (And occasionally they show off Finnish humor. They’ve posted videos of themselves and colleagues dancing in the galleys on TikTok and Finnair’s social channels). All speak English and Finnish (and there is always some staff on an Asia bound flight that will speak a third language native to the destination.)  

Finnair business class seats

finnair business class cabin.

The refitted aircraft with the Collins seats have been routed for the Helsinki or Arlanda  to New York, Singapore, Chicago and Dallas. In addition the busiest Helsinki to London flights (typically the morning flight) often use wide body aircraft if aircraft rotation allows so you can sometimes try the new seats on these shorter haul flights. The non-retrofitted business class seats still look nice and  in good condition.They are flatbed seats with 32” or 35” inch pitch and 18” width. A330’s are  2-2-1 and the 350s are 1-2-1with both floor and overhead storage (except first row seats which don’t have floor storage. 

Video screens are 16” and free wifi is also offered.

Layouts on the upgraded Airbus 330 and 350 are 1-2-1 so they all have aisle access.  When in bed position, the seat configurations look like the typical reverse herringbone seat but the smaller footprint of the seat makes for a lot of space between seats. The seat/bed width at its widest point is more than 1m or 3.2 feet.

The new seats have been a bit controversial because the seat doesn't actually recline. When it’s time for bed, an infill panel in the middle comes up, and a mattress and duvet complete the sleeping experience. But once you sit in these seats, you get a real sense of the concept and the amount of space the seat gives you. The bed length is  78” or 198cm. For taller people the space is such that you can get in more comfortable positions lying down than in many other seats in the market (for example by sleeping on your side with knees tucked in.)

finnair business class seat.

These cocoon-like seats also have atypically high dividers to provide privacy (you really can’t see other heads sticking out from other seats.) Middle seats have a full height divider which can be removed if you are traveling with another person. Noteworthy is the lack of overhead bins, (there’s a lot of storage area around your lounge seat) which also adds to the clean and minimalist look of business class.

Finnair has always loved cross collaborations with other iconic Finnish brands and Marimekko has crafted the seat textiles, with vintage designs by iconic Marimekko designer Maija Isola. Customized lamps allow you to tailor the ambiance of your cocoon. The mood lighting, designed in partnership with Jetlite To, is meant to combat the effects of jetlag. And, there's a “Do Not Disturb” light included if you want total privacy.

The airline has set a goal of reducing its net emissions by 50% by the end of 2025 from the 2019 baseline, and achieving carbon neutrality at the latest by the end of 2045. The A350 is a  more fuel efficient aircraft and the young modern fleets rely on weight saving strategies, with every piece of weight needing to be justified to get on board. Removing the parts and components of the recline mechanism in the new Collins seats makes them more sustainable.

Benefits of flying Finnair business class

Business class tickets get you free wifi onboard (the amount of time ranges depending on your ticket category and Finnair loyalty status); everyone gets a half-hour free. You’ll find noise canceling PhiTek headphones in one of the storage spaces for the entertainment system, a good selection of international movies and tv shows, as well as audiobooks and video games (in the “Finnair Aviation game” jets are fueled by blueberry juice!). Shop Finnair, the airline's online and inflight retail space has a great selection of Finnish design products that you can buy with points, Euros or a combination of both.

Finnair has built their entertainment software from the ground up in partnership with Panasonic. This customization makes for a great in-flight entertainment system that’s very user friendly and feels different from typical IFE interface. It’s more intuitive and skimming is easy.  Screens are 18 inches with darker tones that are easier on the eye, especially when the cabin lights are dimmed.  

There’s a flexible table set up and each seat comes with impressive connectivity, including USB A, USB C, PC power, and wireless mobile charging that seem to actually work.

Finnair Business class has some other cool and unexpected features: Its A330 and A350 aircraft are equipped with a nose camera that gives a pilot’s eye view which you can watch on the plane's entertainment system. The A350’s large forward lavatory even has a window—a loo with a view. 

Finnair’s amenity kit is a stylish pouch in one of four pattern designs by Maija Isola for Marimekko. The kits include Swedish brand L:a Bruket’s organic lip balm and moisturizing facial cream (also found in lounges and bathrooms in flight), a Marimekko-designed sleep mask, earplugs, and a toothbrush. In keeping with the airline’s increased sustainability goals, the toothbrush is made of cornstarch-based bioplastic and is bio-degradable and slippers found under the seats are made from recycled plastic bottles. Any returned unused items in the amenity kit get donated to women’s shelters.

Meals in Finnair business class

finnair business class food.

Finnair’s head chef is Japanese-born Koji Moriwaki who creates dishes around the airline’s food philosophy: Nordic focus with a slight Japanese twist. Their new meal service strategy is streamlined and fun. 

You are offered two starters for your first service to give you more variety, then a choice of three different mains. And you choose your sides separately so you can mix and match. Then cheese and dessert, followed by coffee, tea, chocolates and liquor. Fish (at least outbound from Helsinki) is served more often that you might see on other airlines as it’s such a classic part of Finnish cuisine, and there’s always always another Finnish speciality to try on Helsinki outbound flights, such as reindeer pate and Karelian pie on long haul breakfast menus. 

Meals are served on Finnair’s new business class Iittala tableware, the Kuulas collection, which was designed by Harri Koskinen, one of Finland's best-known contemporary designers. The tableware is almost 20% lighter than Finnair’s previous tableware to align with their sustainability improvement program. 

Meals are refined but the airline is also not above a bit of Finnish fun and quirkiness. Finland invented the healthy subsidized school lunch and uses it as a prime reason for their consistent high ranking scholastic test scores. A few years ago, Finnair paid homage to the tradition by offering  favorite school dishes like beef and macaroni. During the pandemic lockdown they sold Finnair prepackaged meals in Finnish supermarkets.

Just ahead of arrival a light bistro meal or breakfast is served depending on your destination.  

Alcohol

Before mentioning drinks it’s noteworthy to point out the glasses they come in. Ultima Thule glasses, which were designed for the airline in 1969 by Finnish designer Tapio Wirkkala for Iittala to commemorate the airline’s first flight to New York, have become icons of the airline and are also sold on board in boxes of two.  

Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Grand Réserve Champagne served in the lounge is also served onboard with an amuse bouche after you’ve taken your seat. Finnair’s new signature cocktail is the Northern Blush gin, lingonberry, and orange. The company is also singularly proud of the blueberry juice they serve on board, as the drink is an iconic Finnish beverage. Photos of blueberry juice served in the Wirkkala glasses held up against an airplane window have done many Instagram rounds. The new long haul business class’s  well-designed refreshment bar is also well stocked.

Finnair business class vs economy 

Finnair has also overhauled its economy class and now offers an improved economy experience in its A330 and new A350. On the older birds, they’ve updated seat covers and cushioning to help with the ergonomics. There’s more storage space and a personal stowage locker. Economy comfort seats have  31 inches (premium economy gets 34 inches). 

All long haul economy flights get a meal and a complimentary drink with the main meal service Still, economy is more of an a la carte experience and the economy experience depends on what level of ticket you purchase (at the lower cost end you can feel like you are nickel and dimed as much as on a low cost carrier). There’s even a charge for luggage and meals on short haul flights. 

Booking business class flights on Finnair

How much does it cost for a business class ticket on Finnair? 

As with other tickets, the price of business class varies, with dozens of factors setting the price, but in general you can expect the typical price of an international business class ticket to range from $3,000 to $5,000+. Finnair Plus Platinum members receive two long haul upgrade vouchers per year and four intra Europe upgrades per year. Scott's Cheap Flights often finds business class fares on Finnair under $2,000 roundtrip.

How to upgrade to business class of Finnair for free

You can upgrade starting with 20,000 points or two European upgrade benefits.

How much does it cost to upgrade to business class on Finnair? 

You can upgrade your travel class with money, Finnair Plus points or upgrade benefits. If you purchase the upgrade in advance, you can get all the benefits. Finnair sometimes features upgrade campaigns where you can earn bonus tier points.

Summary

Overall Finniar’s business class offers one of the best experiences of its kind, starting with an efficient airport experience, good lounges, and streamlined and forward thinking design and IFE. Add in a great design experience with good sustainability goals and it’s easy to see why it’s a Skytrax certified four-star airline—and has been named Northern Europe’s Best Airline multiple times.

More business class resources

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Frequently asked questions about Finnair business class

What does Finnair business class include?

Finnair business class includes priority check-in, expedited security, lounge access, meals, and free inflight wifi (from 30 minutes worth and more depending on your ticket).

Do you get lounge access with Finnair business class?

Yes, Finnair business class includes lounge access at its Finnair lounge (or OneWorld Business Class Lounges it shares with partner airlines) unless you have a Business Light ticket. Then you can pay to access the lounge.

Do seats in Finnair business class lie flat?

Yes Finnair's business class seats lie flat with an infill panel and a mattress making them into a bed.

Is food served in business class on Finnair?

Yes, in Finnair's business class meals are served on all flights and snacks and drinks are available through the flight in a social area in business class.

How many checked bags do you get in Finnair business class?

Checked baggage allowed with Finnair differs depending on where you are flying to and what level of business class you’ve booked. For example Business Flex flights to and from North America and all other destinations allow two pieces (10kg/22lbs in total) of carry on luggage and two pieces of checked in baggage (32kg/70lbs each).

What are the best seats in Finnair business class?

Throne seats, single seats by the windows, were typically the ones you want to score but with the new seating system, really every seat is equal. Obviously, if you are traveling alone you’d want the single seats on either side of the seating configuration or if traveling with someone else, you might want the middle seats that can also be privatized with a screen.

Last Updated 
June 21, 2022
Everything to Know About Flying Finnair Business Class
Karen Burshtein
Freelance Writer

Karen Burshtein is an award winning Canadian travel, culture and design writer with a love of Helsinki, a city she visits and writes about frequently.

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