Returning home from my summer trip to Europe, I flew Finnair’s new business class on the Airbus A330.
Finnair made waves a few months ago when they first introduced this product to the market. Unlike most business class seats out there, this seat has a fixed form with no option to recline.
Only a handful of Finnair’s current long-haul aircraft have been refreshed with these business class seats, but the airline intends to eventually roll out the product across all of its Airbus A330s and A350s.
Finnair New Business Class – Booking
I booked this Finnair flight from Stockholm to New York for 61,000 Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, plus around $100 in taxes.
As a member of the Oneworld airline alliance, Finnair’s premium cabin can be booked with any Oneworld points currency, including British Airways Avios, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, and American Airlines AAdvantage.
In my case, Asia Miles had the most favourable rate, as I would’ve paid more miles with Alaska Airlines (70,000) and higher fees with Avios ($300+).
This route from Stockholm to New York is quite noteworthy, as Finnair typically operates out of Helsinki. Stockholm was simply used as a base for some long-haul flights for a brief period in the summer of 2022, as Finnair pivoted away from its Asia flights due to challenges with Russian airspace.
Fortunately, this worked out in my favour. I couldn’t find any available award space out of Helsinki, but I was lucky enough to have found space on the business class flight from Stockholm to New York, allowing me to try out Finnair’s new business class product shortly after it was first introduced.
Finnair New Business Class – Ground Experience
At Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Finnair’s business class passengers have access to the Norrsken Lounge, a contract lounge under Priority Pass.
However, I decided to use my American Express Platinum Card to check out the American Express Pontus in the Air Lounge instead and enjoyed a light lunch there.
If I had been flying Finnair out of Helsinki, I would have had access to the airline’s flagship Finnair Business Lounge, which is a much more impressive ground experience with premium amenities.
But since I flew out of Stockholm on this occasion, I guess I’ll simply have to wait until my next flight with Finnair to check it out.
Finnair New Business Class – Cabin
On Finnair’s newly refurbished Airbus A330-300, there are a total of 28 business class seats. The seats are spread out in a 1-2-1 configuration across seven rows.
As I boarded the plane, I immediately took note of the clean and sleek appearance of the cabin, as well as the spaciousness of these new business class seats.
Solo seats next to the windows are ideal for solo travellers, while middle seats can be best for those travelling with a companion. If you are seated in the middle as a solo traveller, an optional partition can be raised to create additional privacy.
Otherwise, you’ll be afforded plenty of privacy due to the curvature of the seats, creating a cocoon-like environment.
Finnair New Business Class – Seat
Finnair’s new business class seats have a soft grey hard shell, along with deep navy blue padding covering the interiors of the shell. The colour palette is very much in keeping with the airline’s simple navy-blue branding.
I had assigned myself Seat 7A in the very back of the aircraft. However, upon boarding, I noticed that my assigned seat lacked a window, so I asked the flight attendant to switch to the vacant Seat 6A instead.
Taking up residence in my seat, I began poring over the innovative seat features all around me.
Immediately in front of you is an 18″ entertainment screen mounted on the curved seat back.
Below the screen, the footwell spans roughly half the width of the seat (with the other half taken up by the seat in front of you) and points away from the aisle. There’s also a literature pocket and a storage compartment for some small loose items.
Also positioned on the left-hand side is a wooden surface space, where the seat controls and tray table reside.
Given the non-reclining nature of the seat, the seat controls and features were relatively simple. You can adjust the seat lighting, tray table, leg rest, and the “do not disturb” setting with the simple push of a button.
The tray table pops out of the wooden surface, and can be folded over into its full size. I found the movement of the tray table to be quite stiff, whereas I’d expect butter-smooth movement in the hard product of a brand-new business class.
The wooden surface space doubles as a wireless phone charger. This is an innovative feature that I haven’t seen on any other airline yet, but would expect to be quite commonplace in the future.
By simply placing your phone on the surface, your phone will charge automatically.
Near your shoulder, you can find a reading light and some additional storage space built directly into the seat, large enough for a cell phone.
Inside here, you’ll find the entertainment controller, a headphone rest, and USB ports.
Along with the stiffness of the tray table, I also made note of a number of scratches and scuffs that were noticeable on the seat. That was somewhat surprising to see, considering how these seats are barely a few months old.
Finnair New Business Class – Amenities
Before taking off, a glass of Champagne was proactively served in the airline’s beautiful signature glassware, alongside a hot towel.
As I sipped on my Champagne, I decided to check out the contents of the amenity kit.
This amenity kit was conceived by the Finnish design house Marimekko, taking the form of a playful fabric pouch.
The quantity of items was about on par with most transatlantic business class amenity kits these days: lip balm, chamomile/lavender moisturizing facial cream, a sleep mask, earplugs, and a toothbrush.
Finnair New Business Class – Meal Service
The meal service began shortly after takeoff, with an in-flight menu that read as follows:
I started things off by swapping out the Champagne for a Finnair signature cocktail, the Northern Blush.
The beverage was refreshing, but definitely on the sweeter side.
As part of the main lunch service, Finnair serves two appetizers and a choice of one warm plate. Both the appetizers and main course were presented at the same time, resulting in a very efficient service flow.
The first appetizer was a plate of smoked salmon with pickled daikon and mussel mayonnaise with dill oil. The salmon was refreshing and soft, and the mussel mayonnaise was a tasty addition, complementing the salty flavours of the fish.
The second appetizer was a cauliflower purée with hazelnut oil and pickled vegetables. This was a more creative dish that somehow made me actually appreciate the tastes of cauliflower.
Both appetizers were quite delectable, and made for a great start to the meal.
For my choice of a hot dish, I opted for the braised veal rump steak, accompanied by vegetables and a horseradish sauce.
The steak was quite tender and tasty, and I had no regrets about ordering it over the fish course instead. The orzo on the side was a bit dry, but still went well with the horseradish sauce.
Lunch was wrapped up with a few slices of cheese, a delicious white chocolate mousse, and a hot cappuccino.
The white chocolate mousse was definitely the highlight here. It was soft and fluffy, with a strawberry sauce drenched on the top for the perfect mix of creaminess and sweetness.
The cappuccino tasted powdered, which was disappointing. The Finns are among the world’s most enthusiastic coffee drinks per capita, so I would’ve certainly expected a higher calibre of coffee here on Finnair business class.
Altogether, this meal service onboard Finnair had a mix of highs and lows. I’d characterize the food offerings as respectable, but not quite at the same level as leading transatlantic airlines like Virgin Atlantic or Turkish Airlines.
Finnair New Business Class – Entertainment
Alongside these new business class seats, Finnair also released a new in-flight entertainment system this year. This system includes over 100 movies and TV episodes with a wide range of genres, including new releases.
The entertainment system also provides an overview of the flight progress, including current locations and guidance for connecting flights. I appreciated this feature, as it’s nice to see where in the world you are as you’re looking at the flight information.
Finnair New Business Class – Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi is available onboard for purchase, either during the online check-in process or through your browser once onboard.
There are three Wi-Fi plans available:
- €7.95 for one hour
- €14.95 for three hours
- €24.95 for the entire flight
The pricing is on the higher end compared to some other airlines, but not egregiously so.
Since this was a daytime flight and I wanted to be productive, I went ahead and paid for the full flight pass. The speeds were sufficient, but not genuinely high-speed – uploading video to my Instagram Stories, for example, proved to be too challenging for the Wi-Fi to handle.
Finnair New Business Class – Bed
After wrapping up lunch service and working for a while, it was time to head to the restroom and freshen up before bed.
I thought the business class restroom was quite spacious. There was ample counter space surrounding the sink, hand cream amenities, and even a window.
Returning to my seat, it was time to answer the biggest question in my mind about Finnair’s new business class: how exactly does a non-reclining seat turn into a lie-flat bed?
The solution is pretty ingenious. To transform the seat, you use the seat controls to bring out the leg rest from underneath the main cushion.
Then, use another lever below the entertainment screen to manually raise a second leg rest. These two pieces come together to fill the gap where your legs normally are positioned.
Two additional pillows are provided for you to customize the seat to your comfort level and create different “reclining” angles.
With how the seat and footwell shaped (funnelling towards either the left or right side of the seat), it’s best to lie on your side when sleeping. In my case, I found it most comfortable to sleep on my left side facing the window, as the footwell is on my left side.
It’s worth considering which side you prefer to sleep on and choosing a seat that supports this. Left-side sleepers should choose seats denoted “A” or “H”, while right-side sleepers should choose seats denoted “D” or “L”.
On the plus side, once the seat is in lie-flat mode, you’ve got a much broader space to move around in compared to other seat types, due to the seat’s minimal engineering and relatively thin hardware.
One understandable gripe about this seat design is the lack of reclining options between lie-flat and upright positions.
You can’t exactly put the seat into a permanent recline at a particular angle; instead, you have to use the two pillows to customize the angle, and it can be hard to get it exactly right.
Once nestled into my bed, I took a quick nap, waking up with just three hours left in the journey. Upon waking up, a fruit bowl was proactively passed around, alongside some refreshing blueberry juice.
Finnair New Business Class – Snack Service
Finnair offers a snack cabinet in the galley for business class passengers to grab-and-go at their leisure.
Just before brunch would be served, I headed to the galley to raid the cabinet. Of course, I mainly loaded up on the Haribo gummies.
With just two hours of flight time remaining, the brunch course was served. This lighter meal consisted of a quiche with a Greenland halibut salad on the side, along with a cup of coffee.
I found the quiche to be just okay – quite dry and not very tasty. What’s more, the black coffee was ashy and bitter, contributing to a fairly negative overall impression of the coffee on this flight.
I much preferred the salad with a slice of halibut, while the fruit plate also surprised me with a tasty slice of mango.
Finnair new business class was a mixed experience overall. The innovative seat was comfortable and relaxing, which made the journey an enjoyable one, despite a few gripes that prevented the product from earning higher marks.
The lack of reclining hardware allows for a substantially wider personal space, but the trade-off is that it’s difficult to fine-tune your reclining positions between the upright and lie-flat modes.
Personally, I still prefer the traditional reclining business class seat, but I do appreciate the innovation on Finnair’s part and would commend their efforts to try something that hasn’t been done before.
On the soft service side, Finnair delivered a great experience in the core elements of the main meal service, like the appetizers, main course, dessert, and drinks. However, little details on the periphery were neglected, such as the subpar coffee offerings, detracting from an otherwise favourable impression.
Ultimately, Finnair offers a strong North American route network, convenient connections through Helsinki, and decent award availability most of the time. I’ll likely get a chance to give them another go in the future en route to a Europe, even if I know it won’t be a world-beater of an experience.