Review: Finnair Economy Class New York JFK to Helsinki

In order to hit American Executive Platinum status, I did two mileage runs, one to Shanghai and one to Helsinki. For my trip to Helsinki, I flew American from SFO to JFK and then Finnair between JFK to HEL.

Upon boarding the plane, the first thing that I noticed was that I was being pushed. I’m not a slow walker by any means, but there were people blocking the aisle in front of me, and yet someone behind me was literally trying to push me past the blockage. I was also pushed multiple times when I was in Helsinki–they weren’t violent pushes, but rather sustained nudging/force that was clearly intentional–so I’m not sure if this is a Finnish thing or if it’s a passive aggressive racial thing or what. For what it’s worth, the vast majority of people on the flight were Finnish (or at least speaking Finnish), and I was the only Asian person that I saw on either of my Finnair flights.

The seats were typical coach seats, but they at least have personal screens and video on demand. Just a note: it’s probably a bad idea to watch “The Notebook” on a flight, unless perhaps you’re in an enclosed suite where no one can watch you bawl.

Economy class seats

Economy class seats

In-flight entertainment system

In-flight entertainment system

I ordered a VGML as I usually do on coach flights. The first vegetarian meal on my flight out was surprisingly tasty: eggplant in tomato sauce with greens and rice, a potato corn salad, and some decently ripe fruit.

Surprisingly tasty vegetarian meal

Surprisingly tasty vegetarian meal

But the rest of the food on Finnair went downhill from there. The pre-arrival “meal” was two slices of pita with a couple of vegetables in it. On my flight back, the first hot meal was a little bland and odd, consisting of some sort of beet patty, potato balls, peas, tomato salad, and fruity syrup. The pre-arrival “meal” was similarly disappointing as it was mostly just a large piece of bread. I think there were supposed to have been vegetables in it, but I couldn’t find any.

Very disappointing pre-arrival meal

Very disappointing pre-arrival meal

Mediocre vegetarian meal

Mediocre vegetarian meal

Another disappointing pre-arrival snack

Another disappointing pre-arrival snack

The service was fine for an economy class flight. They seemed to be pushing the duty-free sales quite hard (I think due to high liquor taxes in Finland), which was slightly problematic because it meant that the cabin was pretty noisy and there were multiple extraneous announcements on a red-eye flight to Europe. Brutal if you’re trying to maximize your sleep on the way over.

Overall, it’s coach, so what do you expect?

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