Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Spending less than 48 hours at Helsinki and a long way flight back to Singapore!

Introduction

Flying on Finnair's A340 operated flights is like winning a lottery! I hope on my return flight, I would get one of the 4 Finnair's aircraft (LQB-LQE). I did my on-line check-in on the day I arrived at Helsinki. This has to be one of the fastest European trips I have ever done! The reason why I couldn't stay longer was due to work, I had already taken about 3 weeks off not too long ago, so just a few days and that was it.

On my this trip report, I will be posting some photos of the workshop and the tour around Helsinki Airport. So sit back, with a cup of coffee or beer and enjoy!


Immediately after reaching the hotel, I went to the hotel to refresh myself, unfortunately my room wasn't available. Thanks to Inflightfeed, I left my luggage and joined the rest for breakfast. I was happy to see most of them again, and after an hour of my arrival at the hotel, we took a taxi to the Finnair office near the airport.

                                                          Here are some of the photos:


                                                      Announcement of the launch of the event!


The Qualityhunters, only some of us were there.






Business class wine tasting session.




Objective is to get as many tweets as possible for this event!



Notice the nicknames on the can? Those are our twitter's nicks. 



I wish I can take this model home!





Hungry? :) 


This is what I had for lunch! It was quite delicious especially the Finnish's pancake. 


After the day's event, we had a few hours break, so I joined a few others for a drink at the pub. At around 8 pm, we had dinner with the rest of the group. 

I had the steak and the "Ash" for dinner!



Small potion but its delicious! 


This is the "Ash", its chocolate and combines with the main course very nicely. I enjoyed it! 

After dinner, I couldn't take it any more. I had to go back and rest! This time, I managed to get my room and then not long after, I hit the bed. 

This is the Radisson Hotel Blu Seaside Hotel's interior. 


Very comfortable! Unfortunately, I stayed only for a night!


The next day, I had to pack up, brought my luggage to the airport and did an early check-in! It was a more exciting day than the previous. A tour around the airport was to me a highlight of this trip! Once again, thank you to Helsinki and Finnair for organising this tour. 

Breakfast at the hotel, my type of breakfast!


The Qualityhunters!



The tour will be held at the airport, so some of us went to check in for our respective return flights. 

I made use of the self check-in and  drop-baggage facility reluctantly, still prefer interacting with human and also to get a proper boarding pass. 




It took me quite a while to figure it out. Fortunately, there was someone there to assist me. Its useful to those rushing for time! I believe once you know how to use it, its as easy as ABC. 


The check-in area for Finnair! 


Once that was done, we met up with the airport staff who then proceeded with the tour. 

Do enjoy the photos!


The VIP terminal!










Passing by some aircraft while we were on our way to Finnair's hanger!






A big thank you to the engineer for allowing us snap these photos!


OH-LQD and OH-LZF

The maintenance manager told us that LQA would be flying to Singapore that day, I was kind of disappointed! But then he managed to change our aircraft to LQB! A big thank you to him. LQD had flown to Singapore so it wasn't possible to fly there again. :( 


Once that was done, we headed out to our next stop, that was the ATC tower! I was particularly excited about this one! 


What does this looks like to you? 





Finnair's Airbus A319 waiting for its next assignment!


This is where they control the apron area! 


Steven (Airwaysfoodie) on the left! :)


Airlinerflyer and Maria (@Qualityhunter) in this photo!




Of course, I need to have my photo taken! 


Unfortunately, photos at the luggage area was prohibited, but it was a great experience for all of us. The guide taught us how the system worked and we had a pretty good walk down there. 


Once we were done, we headed to one of the restaurants for lunch! 


Took a window seat and snap happily! Unfortunately, I lost my lens cover while getting a bit excited with the traffic. 


That's lunch! Appetiser, main course and dessert all on the same plate. It was delicious especially the lamb. 



Next, we went to this booth which was near one of the international gates to experience the traditional Finnish. 


Some delicious snacks and juice that we got to sample. 





Another cute babybus at the tarmac. I couldn't resist taking photos of aircraft while walking. 


This is the Yoga class room! I didn't take part but just sit on the map and relax. 



After that, I decided to leave the group early. Decided to do some plane spotting elsewhere before meeting up with A.net plane spotters. Here are some of the photos!




Not long after, I received a text from Markku about where to meet up and later on Jani came along! Thanks, guys! 

We ended at Flamingo and had dinner there! 

Had the local beer and the Chicken for dinner! Great dinner with both of them! 


At around 8 plus, we bid farewell. I took the bus back to the airport with Markku and off to the air side, it was pretty quiet and the security officers probably recognised me by then! Made my way to the gate to check out my aircraft, and was disappointed to see OQD heading to HKG as scheduled. Fortunately, OQB was taking me to Singapore instead of OQA, that's a pleasant change even though I had flown on this aircraft before (NRT-HEL). 

Did my early check-in at the hotel! 


Finnair needs a bigger aircraft, that's for sure. A350 is coming in a years time. Not much of a choice, but I am happy the airline has reserved an emergency row for me. Victoria (One of the Qualityhunters) was my seat partner, it was nice to have a familiar face on board. 


I was all set to go back. If I had more time, I would have visited my sister in UK, but that would be for next trip. 



OH-LQD was heading to HKG, could only admire it from a distance. Photography at the international side is not good. 


My ride: OH-LQB (2nd time flying on her)




Airline: Finnair
Flight: AY81
Route: HEL-SIN
Aircraft: Airbus A340-300
Registration: OH-LQB
Delivered on 25th May 2007
Engines: 2 X CFM56-5C4/P
Config: C42Y227
MSN: 835
Departure gate: 36
Seat: 41C
FL: 370
Departure: 2335
Push back: 0025
Took off: 0035 
Flight time: 11 hrs 10 mins
Scheduel arrival: 1640
Actual arrival: 1636

Boarding the aircraft, I encountered the same Singaporean crew, that ex-SilkAir crew was at the front greeting everyone. I believed she recognized me, but didn't say anything else. The Finnish crew were different and they were slightly better than my previous flight. As this aircraft was a newer one than OQG, so was the interior which was a relief for me.

We departed late due to connecting passengers from other flights, but it wasn't a big deal. What was important was the passengers were kept informed. Here are some photos of the cabin: 


                                              No prize for guessing what airline I am flying on! 





My seat - an emergency row!



Even though I faced the cabin crew, I had no problem using my gadget from Helsinki to Changi Airport, as long as your phone is on flight mode, no problem at all! The seats are better than the OH-LQG and not to mention the IFE system as well. This time I managed to watch the movies I want. The newer cabin looks much more comfortable. So if you are scheduled to fly on Finnair's A340-300, pray hard that you get the newer A340. 

After arrival in Singapore! 


Time to bid farewell to Finnair! Next flight with this airline will probably be on the Airbus A350! 


In-flight service

Service was slightly better than my previous flight but it was still not good enough to convince the regular flyers why they should fly with this airline on a regular basis. Some would not care, as long as the air fare will cheap but with the fiercest competition around you, I have mentioned this before and that is; what you are lacking in the hard product, can be made up by the soft product. The Singaporean crew consisted of the same crew except for one who I didn't see him. The Singaporean guy was helpful but slightly reserved but that ex-Silkair crew should learn how to love her job and the word "equality". 

In-flight meal


Dinner time! It was quite late to have such a late meal to be honest. The airline should have an option of either a light or heavy meal at this hour, perhaps they could add that option on the airline's booking page. 


I can't remember what was the other choice but these meals were slightly better than Singapore's catering. I managed to finish everything up without much problem. The beef noodles was slightly salty but not too bad, would have preferred to eat it with rice though. 


The snack bar at the rear of the cabin!


2 foldable chairs for the cabin crew, but during the flight. At some period, both of them were not around, leaving the passengers at the back wondering where they went. 


Most passengers were sleeping!



Keeping track of my flight!



Enjoyed some music too!


And here we are, back in Singapore! 



Sorry for my lack of details on this flight as I slept for a fair bit during the flight, this trip set my own personal record; fastest trip to Europe! 

Did I enjoy the trip? Definitely! This trip has been definitely an eye-opener; I learnt a lot about the behaviour of human relationship and of course meet up with great Finnish people at the airport and office. If you have an option to go to Helsinki, please do and perhaps spend a few days exploring the city and also go to other places as well. 


My rating:

Website: 6/10
HEL self-check in experience: 6/10 
HEL airport experience: 7/10
In-flight service: 5/10
Cabin interior: 10/10
Seat comfort: 7/10
Cleanliness: 10/10
In-flight meal: 6/10
Punctuality: 6/10 
Aircraft condition: 10/10
Overall rating: 73/100

Conclusion

Overall, I felt disappointed with the airline's performance in terms of in-flight service. I have flown on long haul to Europe before and this was probably one of the worst experiences. OH-LQA,LQF and LQG have to be retired as soon as possible and they are one of the reasons why some passengers are staying away from the airline. However, if you are budget conscious, then flying with this airline to Europe would be a good choice. The airfare from Singapore to Europe is cheaper than most airlines. Even though you don't get the comfort and possibly the service (depends on crew), you can be assured of the safety and reliability. Finnair is one of the safest airline in the world, they do checks on their aircraft regularly especially after long haul flights so nothing to worry. 


Thank you for reading this trip report!

Cheers
Charles Ryan Teo