Date: September 12, 2017
Flight No.: AY80
Route: Nagoya Centrair to Helsinki Vantaa
Type: Airbus A330-300
On my way to Europe back in September, I flew with JAL and Finnair from Tokyo Haneda to Budapest via Nagoya and Helsinki. This review covers the second flight of the trip – Nagoya to Helsinki onboard Finnair’s A330-300 in economy class.
Just as a side note, I booked the flights earlier in the year as part of an open-jaw ticket between Budapest and Bangkok, and Tokyo and Budapest. The total cost for the whole itinerary was just 250 EUR.
Now, let’s jump into the actual flight.
Are you interested in trying business or first class for the price of economy?
If so, you might want to check out Four Ways to Try Business Class Without Breaking the Bank - a free guide that I put together detailing some of the ways I was able to do so - and experiment with some of the methods mentioned in it.
Transfering at Nagoya Centrair Airport
After getting off my flight between Tokyo and Nagoya around 9:10AM, I followed the “International Connections” transfer sign which led me landside. From there, the signs led me one floor up to the international departures hall where I cleared the security and immigration.
All of the above took no more than 15 minutes, and so, in spite of having less than an hour and a half to transfer, I headed to the Star Alliance Lounge that is part of the Priority Pass network.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t let in due to space constraints – the first time I encountered such a problem with Priority Pass. It was not the last time, though, as the same thing also happened at a nearby KAL Lounge. Oh, well…
With only a short time left until the scheduled departure time anyways, I made my way to the departure gate, gate 201. As it was a bus gate and it was raining heavily outside, I knew I was in for a treat!
At the gate, I approached one of the agents to see if I could change my seat to an aisle. Since the flight was full, I wasn’t able to do so.
I ended up, however, “taking part” in a 10 minute “visa check” where the agent went through my passport about thirty times to make sure I hadn’t been in Europe for more than 90 days in the last 180 days…
She also issued me a new set of nicely themed boarding passes for the two Finnair flights.
Boarding the Finnair Flight from Nagoya to Helsinki with a Delay
Around 9:45AM – five minutes before the originally scheduled boarding time – an announcement was made that the boarding would be delayed to 10:15AM due to the late arrival of the inbound aircraft.
At 10:15AM, an announcement about a further delay – this time without any specific new boarding time – was made. At that point, I was starting to think they were waiting for the heavy rain to stop…
Five minutes later, however, the boarding finally started.
Once it was turn for my group 4 to board, I got on the bus. While at that point, the rain got weaker, by the time we got to the aircraft, it was raining heavily again. Luckily, the bus stopped close to the airstairs, and so we could board the aircraft without getting too wet.
Onboard, I headed to my seat 26L where a blanket and a pillow, a set of earphones, as well as a bottle of water were already waiting for me. The seat itself was equipped with a coat hanger, a TV, as well as a power outlet shared by two seats. There was no USB port. There was no footrest, so if you prefer to have more comfort, make sure to check this article.
Departing Nagoya Onboard a Finnair A330-300
Boarding was completed at 10:42AM, and so we were ready to leave from our parking position which was across from a Boeing 787 prototype that is stored at the airport. Shortly after everyone got onboard, the crew made an announcement among other things mentioning the short flight time of 9 hours and 35 minutes.
We were pushed back at 10:49AM, nineteen minutes behind schedule, and in five minutes we were taxiing to the active runway past the observation deck and later a pair of AirAsia Japan A320s.
Even though it was raining quite heavily, a couple of people could be spotted on the deck likely sending off their friends or relatives.
After reaching the end of runway 18, we waited for a couple of minutes to let a JAL 737 land, and then – at 11:03AM – we took off into the gloomy Nagoya skies followed by a 180 degree right turn.
Finnair Economy Class Meal Service: Lunch
The seatbelt sign was switched off less than 15 minutes after take-off, sending the person in front of me into full recline. While I have nothing against people reclining, I would have appreciated if she had at least done so slowly rather than basically slamming her seat down.
In either case, she was asked to put her seat back up within a short time, as the lunch service was about to begin.
First, hot wipes were handed out. Then, the menu for the flight was announced – a choice of fried chicken or fish for lunch, followed by a snack served about two hours before landing.
At 11:45AM, the actual service commenced – with a pack of rice crackers and a drink, blueberry juice in my case.
Around that time, the First Officer made an announcement saying we had 8 hours and 35 minutes of flight time left of which about 7 hours consisted of cruising above Siberia. He also mentioned that the temperature in Helsinki was 14 degrees.
Quite impressively, he did the announcement in not only Finnish and English, but also fairly fluent Japanese!
Shortly after the First Officer finished his speech, the main meal started to be served.
While passing through the cabin, the crew members showed a handwritten note containing the menu options. I thought that was a very nice touch since no printed menus were provided and I can imagine there were some people that missed the announcement.
I went with the chicken which was served with a side of Japanese soba noodles, bread, and a green tea pudding made in Nishio – a city famous for their green tea (and green post boxes).
After the not-so-impressive (the chicken tasted very bland) meal, coffee and tea were offered to conclude the meal service.
Finnair A330-300 In-Flight Entertainment System
Between the rice crackers and lunch mentioned above, I had some time to spare, and so I explored the in-flight entertainment system which was different from the one I experienced on Finnair’s A350 back in May.
The in-flight entertainment system could either be controlled by the touch screen or using a remote which was located in one of the armrests.
It contained a selection of over 80 movies including many Hollywood blockbusters. It also offered a selection of over 80 TV shows and programmes including major dramas and sitcoms – such as The Big Bang Theory that I watched. Alas, as many other IFE systems, it only featured 1~5 episodes of each show making it difficult to watch for people that haven’t seen the shows before.
There was, of course, also a music section which had selections of “stations” for a variety of genres. Individual songs were not selectable. There was also a selection of 15 games.
As for airshow, there was a channel with the usual maps and data screens looping, as well as a pair of cameras (forward and downward).
Separately, in-flight wi-fi was offered as well. And although I did not try it, below is the price list:
Cruising Over Siberia
Once I was done with the in-flight entertainment system and the meal, I decided to take a nap. Here, I have to say that the blanket offered was above standard for economy class – not only with its Marimekko design, but also because it was a proper blanket rather than a think “blanket” that many airlines offer.
When I briefly woke up about 2 hours later, crew was passing the aisle, offering bottles of water (which happened regularly throughout the flight). At the time, we were cruising at 36,000 feet above Siberia – near the cities of Poliarny and Mirny.
I fell asleep once again, and when I woke up the second time, it was 11AM Helsinki time, and we had about 3 and a half hours of the flight left ahead of us.
For the next hour and a half or so, I just relaxed enjoying the wing view, reading Sapiens, and writing some articles for the Japanese version of KN Aviation.
Time for Another Lunch?
At 12:45PM, an announcement was made that we had about 1 hour and 50 minutes left until our arrival in Helsinki and that a lunch service (the second one in less than 10 hours) would commence shortly. As a side note, by this time, we were cruising at 38,000 feet.
Unlike with the first meal service, there was no choice this time and everybody was handed the same tray. The meal consisted of “jya-jya men” noodles served with a fruit salad and a packaged pie. For drink, I went with orange juice.
Compared to the first lunch, this meal was taste and flavorful.
As everyone was finishing their meal, an announcement about in-flight sales was made. As mentioned in my previous report, Finnair is quite aggressive with their in-flight sales and pre-orders.
Arrival in Helsinki
Shortly before 2PM, we entered the Finnish airspace. And, at 2:05PM, the purser announced that we had about 30 minutes left until landing and about 15 minutes left until the seatbelt signs would be switched on.
Just a couple of minutes after that, we started our initial descent, and the seatbelt sign went on at 2:23PM. And, we landed on Helsinki’s runway 22L at 2:38PM.
The flight was brought to an end at 2:43PM when we parked at our arrival gate, S52. I took a quick peek into the business class cabin – which is in a staggered configuration unlike Finnair’s reverse herringbone configured A350 – and stepped into the busy Helsinki terminal.