FINNAIR, A350-900, BUSINESS CLASS, HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL-HELSINKI
There are 46 business seats split between two cabins, arranged in a reverse herringbone 1-2-1 configuration, so everyone has direct aisle access. I was in seat 3H, a central seat. There are no overhead baggage lockers above the centre seats, and this, combined with the off-white and light grey décor of the cabin and Finnair’s Zodiac Cirrus III seats, made the business cabins feel very roomy indeed. At the same time, the curving seat-backs provided a good deal of privacy.
The seat itself was wide, with soft-touch armrests and plenty of legroom. A footwell lets you put your feet up and becomes part of the bed when you recline the seat fully flat. There’s a good-sized shelf and a recessed area with a hook to hang the excellent noise-cancelling headphones, but only one small triangular storage bin with a lid. The table slid out easily from under the shelf and mine was sturdy and held my laptop steady – though it was quite high and I needed to raise my seat some way for comfortable typing.
A two-strength reading light is positioned at shoulder height, as are a USB port and international power socket. Here were also the TV control (though the 16-inch monitor, which swings out at the touch of a button, is touchscreen as well) and the seat control panel, which was simple and easy to use, with three preset buttons for take-off, inclined and sleeping positions.
Just before take-off, my dinner and breakfast orders were taken. Drinks were served as soon as the plane was cruising. Dinner followed, with a choice of two starters and four mains – some created by famous Hong Kong-based Finnish chef Jaakko Sorsa, executive chef of restaurant Finds. I tried his roast beef and potato salad with mushrooms, and Atlantic cod with garlic and parsley cream sauce, potato wedges and vegetables, with cheese and petit fours for dessert. The flavours were excellent, and I was happy that the portions were well judged to be relatively light, given this is a night flight and most passengers plan to sleep after the meal. I didn’t try the wine or the intriguing Finnish cocktails, but the three reds and whites on the wine list looked very good – including French, Spanish, Portuguese and Australian vintages.
I watched one of the dozens of movies available on the IFE while I ate, then worked briefly before preparing to sleep. The bed is fully flat and I was able to get comfortable with the cushion and duvet provided. I slept well for five hours – the A350 is a quiet aircraft and the more normal air pressure really helps.
About 90 minutes before arrival a muted pinging sound woke passengers gently. My spinach omelette breakfast was served after I’d freshened up in the bathroom. I then tried to get onto the wifi – I’d been unable to connect before sleeping. This time it worked, and bandwidth speed was as good as I’ve had on board a plane.
This is a great plane for long-haul. Finnair adds a highly functional, well-built seat product and good service to offer a highly competitive intercontinental option.
Right: A350-900 business class