It’s rare these days to see real innovation when it comes to business class seats. Instead, most airlines tend to go for a cookie-cutter, tried and tested design that neither disappoints nor excites.
That was until Finnair unveiled their new long-range A350-900 sporting an all-new business class cabin. The shocking part? The seats don’t recline, not even an inch!
In this post:
Booking Finnair’s New Business Class
Finnair is rolling out the new cabin design for its entire fleet between 2022 and 2023, but in the meantime, you will have to check the seat map to make sure you have the new seats. The easiest way to check is to look for premium economy tickets; if they are being sold, it means the flight will be sporting an all-new cabin design.
How to book Finnair using frequent flyer points
I booked my itinerary starting in Brussels with a connection in Helsinki before continuing to Singapore aboard the new A350.
Booking this particular itinerary is best done using Asia Miles.
While you can pay less than $60 in taxes, it all depends on the departure city in Europe. I decided to fly from Brussels to Helsinki and then to Singapore. The total cost for this ticket is 70,000 Asia Miles and only AU$60 in taxes. An absolute bargain! You can easily transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to the Asia Miles program and redeem those points online for Finnair-operated flights (in Australia you’d need 140,000 Amex Membership Rewards which would convert to 70k Asia Miles).
Booking this flight using your Qantas Frequent Flyer Points is also an option; however the cost will be more. Instead of 70,000 Asia Miles, you will now be up for 104,500 Qantas Frequent Flyer Points. So in terms of taxes, it’s about the same (in either direction).
Ground Experience – Check In
Things didn’t start off so well, departing from Brussels as travel started to get back to its peak minus the staff to support; this meant that the check-in line took just over 1 hour even though I was travelling in business.
Once in Helsinki, things changed for the better as the airport was nice and quiet for my short connection.
Finnair has 2 lounges in the airport’s non-Schengen zone, the business lounge, and the Finnair Platinum Wing. To gain access to the Finnair Platinum Wing, you must have OneWorld Emerald Status. While both my British Airways Gold and Qatar Airways Platinum would have gained me access, unfortunately the Platinum Wing closes at 6PM! In addition, the Platinum Wing has a sauna which would have been fun to try out.
Meanwhile, the Business Lounge is also a lovely space with plenty of seating. Since I had a short connection, I only had time for a shower and a quick Negroni from the bar.
The showers are very nice and feature a soundtrack from what I assume Finnish nature sounds like. Luxury amenities are from the Swedish brand LA:Bruket, which specialises in organic skin care.
Finnair A350 Business Class Cabin & Seat
The Finnair A350-900 cabin sports 43 seats across the main cabin and a minim cabin behind the galley and toilets. I opted for 6A, which seemed like a central seat away from the galley and bathrooms. Talking of bathrooms, 2 toilets are located at the front and 1 in the middle section of the A350 in this configuration.
Boarding proceeded through the middle, where you enter the cabin in what Finnair describes as a social space; here you can find some snacks and water during the flight if you feel like stretching your legs.
Turning left into the main business cabin, I was instantly impressed by the size of the seats; they are massive! The huge shells upholstered in a dark blue material offer fantastic privacy, so much so that you really don’t feel the need for a sliding door which seems to be all the rage right now.
Luckily the middle seats don’t have overhead bins installed, which makes the cabin feel a lot more spacious.
When I tell people Finnair business class seats don’t recline, people instantly think this is a bad thing. But, it isn’t! Let me explain why…
For starters, it means there’s a lot more space for the seating area, there are no complicated mechanics and no seatback taking up space, the whole shell is the seat; and a great one too!
Each seat comes with 2 pillows, offering extra comfort when lounging around. In terms of lounging, the Finnair business seat is in the perfect position.
While the seat is positioned towards the window and on an angle, the footwell is actually extremely spacious. I’m just above average in height at 180cm, and the seat felt like one of the most spacious and comfortable business seats I’ve ever flown.
Considering the seat design is so simple, the only moving part is the leg-rest which comes up to turn the whole seat into a fully flat bed.
Talking about bed mode, when it’s time for a nap, you simply slide down from your lounge position into bed mode. For hygiene, there’s a seat cover provided but no mattress pad; that’s because the seat is already padded, so there’s no need for an extra mattress topper.
In bed mode, I had the best sleep (and I can never sleep on planes) I’ve ever had on a plane. The shoulder area of this seat was so spacious I had room to sleep on my stomach with enough room to stretch out my arms. This usually isn’t possible when confined to a traditional business class seat. There’s even a second seatbelt situated lower down so you can have this cover you while sleeping.
The seat, of course, has plenty of power points for your devices and a wireless charging pad built into the armrest. Storage space is also plentiful, and the tray table folds out into a sizeable dining table or desk for some work.
Amenities & IFE
Finnair provides a small but adequate amenity kit by Marimekko, which has L:A Bruket essentials such as lip balm and moisturiser as well as the expected items such as a face mask, ear plugs, toothbrush and toothpaste. Slippers were also provided on the overnight flight to Singapore, but no pyjamas.
Finnair has a crisp-looking 18-inch touch screen monitor as their IFE system, and while that sounds great, we were informed upon bordering that due to a technical issue, the IFE throughout the entire plane would not be working. At least, it wouldn’t go past the main screen. Annoying, but considering the midnight departure, it wasn’t a huge issue.
Food & Beverage
Pre-boarding drinks of champagne (Joseph Perrier Cuvee Royale Brut), water and the iconic Finnish blueberry juice were offered, and the crew then came back around to take dinner orders as well as the pre-arrival breakfast.
The Finnair dinner service I a pretty straight forward setup. Everything except for dessert is served on a single tray; I’m personally not a big fan of this, and airlines really should go do some homework over at Qatar Airways, but that said, the Finnair meals were very well presented.
To start, you get 2 cold plates; on my flight, these were corn puree with dame and lava beans and a herb tartlet with shredded chicken. Both were ok, but nothing exceptional.
For mains, I opted for the braised beef cheek and onion puree, which was absolutely delicious.
For dessert, I decided to try the blueberry mouse with white chocolate, which was tasty, but the size of it was microscopic.
Come breakfast time, everything was served on a single tray but very well presented. I felt that the overall Finnair menu design was very much on the healthier side of airline meals. Since there was only one single breakfast option, the game meat pie (which was more like a quiche) was my choice.
Crew & Service
The Finnair crew on the Singapore flight were all Singapore based; I found them to be friendly and professional; considering this was a red-eye flight, the crew quickly disappeared out of sight after dinner service. While there’s a self-serve bar on board, they probably could have been slightly more proactive with additional water and drinks throughout the flight.
On a nighttime flight, I personally don’t care too much about overly-engaging service but I do hope a daytime flight would be a touch more personal.
Although I have zero real complaints about the service, I think a national carrier should have at least a few local crew members on flagship routes. Imagine Singapore Airlines operating a flight with just Finnish/Scandinavian crew!
Finnair New A350 Business Seat Conclusion
Personally, I love the new seat design; for someone who prefers to sit in a constant “lounge mode” when flying, this works perfectly. The seat is huge and offers plenty of shoulder width and legroom, so even taller passengers will be comfortable flying this product. If you sleep face-down like me, you will definitely appreciate this seat in bed mode, as the usable shoulder space is the most generous I’ve experienced.
Would I fly it again? Yes, absolutely! Especially considering the redemption prices for these flights are fantastic, and cash fares are also very reasonable.