I usually travel the cheapest way possible. I think it is silly for me to spend money flying first class. I would much rather use the money to do things at my destination. But if money wasn’t an issue, I wouldn’t mind flying a bit more comfortably. I got an opportunity to upgrade my flight to business class so I decided to see if it is really worth it.
Flying first class with Finnair has some perks. You can have two carry-on bags with you, which is handy if you have gone bananas when buying souvenirs or you aim for speed and want to get as quickly away from the airport without waiting for the rest of your luggage. You also get priority security-check and priority boarding. I didn’t use the priority security-check line because I honestly couldn’t find it and the line in the normal security-check line wasn’t that long. I’m not sure if Helsinki-Vantaa airport has priority security-checking. Priority boarding is a bit strange. You have to pass everyone else queuing and then wait for everyone else to board the plane. The bit I most looked forward to was the lounge service. I wanted to visit it properly, so I arrive at the airport early.
The Finnair Lounge at Helsinki-Vantaa airport is spacious and decorated using Finnish design. The Lounge is actually full of light even though in my pictures it looks like a dark cave. I’ve often wondered about the purpose of airline lounges, but now… I want access to them on every trip. Only when you walk down the stairs, after spending two hours in a space where people speak in polite murmurs or hushed voices, do you understand how noisy airports can be. I think the reason I am fairly tired after travelling is because of sensory overload. Too much noise and too many people at the same time. Lounges offer a space for a little relaxation. You don’t have to walk aimlessly around the airport dragging your heavy carry-on bag (I need to learn how to pack so I don’t look like a homeless person when I’m travelling!) looking for a place to sit. You can enjoy the complimentary refreshments in the lounge and have a second helping if you want instead of paying for overpriced tea and a sandwich at the airport. I was offered chicken soup, salad, beef sauce and rice, bread, tea, chocolate and a piece of pie.
During the flight you are offered the much ridiculed hot towel, a salty snack and a drink in a real glass. I don’t mind using plastic tableware and I was afraid of breaking the glass.
The in-flight menu was crayfish-pike terrine and marinated cucumber, delicious pan-fried rainbow trout garnished with leek ash in Baltic herring butter and mashed potatoes and blueberry goodie. The seat next to me was left empty on purpose so I had plenty of space.
I don’t know what to credit for the fact that I arrived to my destination very refreshed and less tired.
Is it wort it? It’s debatable. By buying the lounge access I didn’t have to buy a snack at the airport or go for dinner after arriving. I’m use to slumming it, so I might have saved more money by bringing my usual snacks to the airport and buying food at the supermarket. As an experience it was a very nice one.
It’s back to the economy for me… The three things I’ll miss about travelling in first class is the quietness of the lounge, the free delicious refreshments and the space on flight.