….Board the plane, board the plane.
The story so far:
After our early morning and hop to Boston, it was nice to make it to our final stop before Europe. We don’t routinely find ourselves going through JFK, so spending a little time there was a nice change. Plus, we were traveling internationally and so CET’s American Executive Platinum status got us into the Flagship Lounge half of the Admiral’s Club.
We had a couple hours before our flight, since it was an overnight (as most transatlantic flights tend to be) and so had time to have a meal at the buffet, and let Baby Flyer roam around.
This lounge has been recently re-done, and they did a good job. However, during peak times even this expanded space is full to capacity. We ended up grabbing a couple chairs along one of the walls, but almost every seat was taken.
The food consists of a full hot bar, as well as snacks and desserts. The drinks are self-serve, and included a wine/champagne bar, as well as a station with a refreshing ‘signature cocktail.’
Baby Flyer loves some lounge time, and especially enjoyed looking at the planes outside while walking along the wall of windows that makes up one side of the lounge.
At about 45 minutes out, we headed to our gate. They hadn’t started boarding yet, but it was good we were there on the early side as they needed to re-check our passports (standard procedure). Since we were in business class, we boarded early. Baby Flyer LOVED getting to walk down the jetbridge on her own two feet, and holding her own passport!
The plane was one of Finnair’s a330 workhorses. It has two classes- business and economy, and while the seats were lie-flat and functional, could use some updating. Finnair has been doing just that through their fleet, including newly purchased a350 long haul aircraft that look amazing inside.
We sat in 1A and 1C, which was a window seat and aisle at the front of the cabin. The interior is laid out in a 1-2-2 or 1-2-1 layout, depending on the row. This gives good options to both individual travelers and couples. One thing the service lacked was any kind of mattress pad, which would have been a welcome addition since the seats were on the hard side for sleeping.
Finnair does its best to be quintessentially scandi with their decor, including brightly patterned marimekko pillows and blankets, as well as amenity kits. Their signature pre-departure drink was sparkling wine and blueberry juice, served in ice patterned glasses.
The IFE was solid, and included a lot of things you don’t find on AA or Qatar, or probably anything outside of Scandinavian TV, including plenty of nature specials and outdoor adventure documentaries. Ice. So very much walking around on ice.
I always enjoy checking out new airlines. Even though Finnair isn’t a true luxury airline like Qatar or Cathay Pacific, it’s a solid choice with pleasant service and a good reputation. What’s even better about them is that they’re a way to get to Europe that can both avoid the huge award fees that British Airways and Iberia tack on, and can let you skip the chaos of connecting in Heathrow.
The key to award travel to Europe is to just get to Europe, pretty much anywhere in Europe, and then connect from there to where you actually want to go. Bonus if you actually want to go to the destination, like we did with Helsinki.
The flight itself was long, and not too long at once. It was an overnight but only 8 hours including taxi, take off, landing, and meal service. This is the downside of flying East Coast to Europe- even the longest flight only provides for about 4 hours sleep if you’re lucky. We took off and watched the sunset out of the windows before settling in.
We’d brought her plenty of pack-able toys, and she was entertained for a few minutes here and there by watching the IFE, or listening to the ‘Finnish Kids’ song station through our Bose. She also played at our feet for awhile, and set up a fort of sorts in the bulkhead. They handed out Moomins themed towel/blankets to the kids, and she enjoyed ‘going ny-ny’ on hers.
Traveling with a lap infant, especially a lap toddler, is infinitely better the more space you have. She eventually fell asleep, first on CET (much to CAR’s delight), and then moved over after awhile. We didn’t sleep much at all, but she did, and woke up grinning and happy on final descent. We should all be so lucky.
Overall, it was a comfortable way to get the three of us to Europe, especially since we could handle some lost sleep since we didn’t have immediate plans for the day once we got there.
Up Next- Helsinki!