On a recent trip to Tokyo I ended up initially booking an economy flight with Finnair. However, I was surprised to see that I was able to upgrade from economy to business for only €350! That was definitely too good to pass up on, especially since I had been looking forward to try Finnair’s new “non-reclining” business class seats.
Finnair Platinum Wing Lounge
A trip out of Helsiniki definitely starts with a visit to the Platinum Wing lounge, which you can access with Oneworld Emerald status when flying with Finnair. The lounge was smaller than I expected, and the dining area was full when I arrived in the afternoon. Luckily a friendly Finn noticed my struggles to find a place to sit and kindly offered to share table with me. I ordered the famous reindeer burger (which was delicious), a glass of champagne, and enjoyed some small talk with a fellow frequent flyer.
After a couple of hours in the lounge it was time to head over to the gate. At the time of taking this trip back in January 2023 masks were still required on the Tokyo-bound flights, as was clearly indicated on the board.
Cabin & Non-Reclining Business Seat
The new Finnair cabin looks absolutely fantastic. I love the colors and the cabin feels very cozy. The new non-reclining seats have easily become one of my favorite business class seats in the sky. I often struggle to find a comfortable “in-between” seat configuration, especially when I just want to sit and “lounge”. In this cabin that was never a problem as you naturally find a comfortable spot, just as you would when sitting in a nice armchair or sofa.
The seat felt very “smart” as well. A large responsive touchscreen, wireless charging pad (awesome!), and a nice Marimekko branded amenity kit. During boarding, the cabin crew came around welcoming passengers, gave a short tour of the new seats, and served pre-departure beverages.
A great feature of the IFE system was the timeline showing when to expect meals. The interactive map was good, and the IFE system also features exterior camera views, which is always a nice feature to have. There was a solid movie selection as well, which did feature one of my all time favorite movies, Lost in Translation - a perfect movie to watch on a flight to Japan!
Meal service started shortly after departure. Warm nuts and a Finnair signature cocktail.
I went with the salmon sashimi appetizer and the braised venison main course. Overall the food was ok, not bad, but nothing special. I do wish that the appetizer and main course would have been served separately so that your main course is still warm by the time you finish the appetizer.
So how does it work to sleep in a non-reclining chair? Well, you just fold up the footrest, put down the mattress, and then slide down into a lay flat position. To be honest I much prefer this over a traditional seat as it’s much easier to switch between sleeping, lounging and sitting whenever you feel like it. I don’t like having to through the process of “converting” the seat to and from fully flat.
There’s also plenty of space around the seat so I was able to keep my backpack next to me (making it easier to access my belongings during the flight).
Overall the seat was very comfortable to sleep in, perhaps just a bit on the firm side. In any case, I got a solid 8 hours of sleep and woke up shortly before arriving into Haneda, Tokyo (and opted to skip breakfast).
Due to the closed airspace over Russia, Finnair either flies the polar route over the north pole, or a southern route (depending on the winds). Unfortunately my flight to Japan flew the south route, however, my return flight did end up going the northern route. I slept most of that flight as well, but did wake up to a “Northern Route” diploma that the crew had handed out!
This was actually my first time flying Finnair long-haul and I have to say it was an absolutely fantastic experience. Great lounge, beautiful A350 cabin, the new non-reclining business seat was super comfortable, and the crew and service was fantastic. The only weak part in my opinion was the meal service.