After 36 hours in Finland, it was time to head home to Dallas. I’d flown Finnair on the outbound flight segment from Paris (CDG) to Helsinki (HEL), but this was my first long haul flight on Finnair. My return journey was to start with a Finnair A330 from Helsinki to JFK.I’ll get to the Lounge in a moment but I wanted to point out what a fan I am of the Helsinki Airport in general. It’s complete eye candy for design and architecture geeks. The new train station is strikingly well designed and I couldn’t stop snapping photos. Taxis are quite expensive in Helsinki so I highly recommend the train from Central Helsinki to the airport.

And what aviation geek could resist a good snap of the click-clack departures board!?  Not me!

This report will cover the Finnair Premium Lounge located in the Non-Schengen section of Terminal 2. There is a separate Finnair Lounge for Business Class which uses the same check-in desk. The access rules, per Finnair’s website, is as follows:

Finnair Lounge (Business Class) Free of charge for Finnair Business Class customers and Finnair Plus Platinum, Gold and Silver members (+ one guest with Platinum or Gold cardholder), and OneWorld Emerald and Sapphire cardholders (+ one guest), when the departure flight is marketed by Finnair (AY code on the ticket).

Finnair Premium Lounge Available exclusively for Finnair Plus Platinum and Gold members (+ one guest), and oneworld Emerald and Sapphire cardholders (+ one guest), when the departure flight is marketed by a oneworld airline.You may have to read the rules twice as the rules per lounge are quite specific. It comes down to your class, elite status, and the airline which your ticket is marketed by. For my trip, I was traveling in Economy Comfort which in itself, does not provide lounge access.  I do however have OneWorld Sapphire status but my ticket was marketed by American Airlines, rather than by Finnair. This gave me access to the Premium Lounge rather than the Business Class Lounge. The amenities are nearly identical although the Business Class Lounge is much more spacious. Quite frankly, there was no disappointment with the “lesser” lounge.

One frustration with airline lounges in general is the lacking of seating and crowds. This was not a problem at all in the Finnair Lounge. If you’ve ever visited the Admiral’s Club at JFK, for example,  you’ll find the Finnair Lounge to be a welcome change. There’s a ton of seating, even in the smaller lounge, with comfy loungers and ample power outlets. There’s even a relaxation room with cozy cots for a quick pre-flight nap. Just don’t forget to set an alarm!The lounge is very stylish with strong Nordic style cues. Finnair put a lot of thought into the interior design of the lounge. And while I didn’t use the facilities, the lounge features a coed sauna and shower suites.

I arrived at the airport quite early because I wanted to spend a fair amount of time in the lounge. I arrived just after 12 pm and my flight for JFK departed at 2:30 PM so this wasn’t during the hot meal hours. However, gourmet snacks are served all day. But what Finnair considers to be snacks, many other lounges would consider hot meals. There was a very wide selection of food choices and desserts. I particularly enjoyed the pumpkin soup at the buffet.Complimentary wine, champagne, and cocktails are served at the bar but don’t expect Krug. You’ll notice the unique footed champagne flutes in the photo below. Not sure if they’re really my style but I will say they are unique.Food in the lounge ultimately was far superior to the on-board dining experience in Economy Comfort. Especially if you are in the lounge during hot meal times, I would recommend eating in the Finnair Lounge. If you are flying Economy or if you just want to get some rest on your long-haul flight, the lounge dining is a good option.Service in the lounge was reserved but friendly. The staff was on top of keeping everything in the lounge in tip-top order.

In the end, I was left very impressed with the Finnair Premium Lounge. Being the home base of Finnair, I would expect high standards for this lounge. The comfort of lounge ranked high, the service was polite, and the food excellent. This lounge certainly impressed and set a good tone for the rest of my Finnair journey.

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