One of the best parts of our job is learning about airlines on your behalf. Finnair has been on our radar after having a big few years, welcoming the Airbus A350 as the flagship of its fleet and announcing new routes to the U.S. and Asia. So when we got the chance to experience Finnair’s long-haul product for ourselves, of course we said yes!

We’ll have plenty of in-depth Finnair stories coming up, including a review of their A330-300 business class and an interview with their A350 Program Manager. For now, we wanted to share a few big-picture quick thoughts and observations we had about the airline. Read on for some highlights about what we learned from our Finnair adventure!

Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

Finnair is a whopping 95 years old

Though its name has changed a few times over the years, the first iteration of the airline was founded back in 1923. Who knew?! Well maybe some of you did. But we had no idea when we boarded our first Finnair flight that the airline is one of the oldest in the world.

A vintage Finnair Convair from the 1950s – Photo: Finnair

Finnair takes its “Nordic Experience” seriously

In staying true to its roots, Finnair is serious about cultivating an authentically Nordic experience. The look is one with plenty of clean snowy white colors with punchy blue and green accents. It starts with a eurowhite livery:

Onboard its long-haul A350s, there’s a “Nordic light experience” that aims to recreate the northern lights.

Photo: Finnair

Even the food has plenty of Nordic inspiration, like this reindeer entrecà´te.

Itineraries between Europe and Asia are Finnair’s bread and butter

When walking around Finnair’s hub at Helsinki Airport, we noticed tons of travelers from Asia, and plenty of ads highlighting Finnair’s routes to East Asia. It turns out that single-day one-stop itineraries between Western Europe and East Asia are Finnair’s bread and butter. It makes sense, since the direct route from Western Europe to many East Asian megacities passes right over Finland:

Photos: Manu Venkat & GCMapper

The airline loves its Airbus A350s

Finnair’s Asian services used to be operated by A340s, but as of a few years ago they were taken over by the A350. Finnair was the first European airline to fly Airbus’ new two-engine fuel-sipping widebody aircraft, and it’s safe to say that they’re head-over-heels in love with the plane.

Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

The U.S. isn’t getting any Finnair A350 love, but that’s about to change

Finnair serves a few key U.S. markets like New York, Chicago, Miami, and San Francisco. They’re all operated by the airline’s other long-haul heavyweight, the A330-300. They have a solid but slightly different (and older) business class seat product onboard. There’s no plans to retire those A330s, so cities currently served by the A330 won’t get to see the Finnair A350 on more than a one-off basis when equipment substitutions are made.

Video caption: Our view from a Finnair A330-300 touching down smoothly at New York JFK

But there’s good news! Finnair is launching its first A350-only route to the U.S. next year. In early spring, Los Angeles will receive A350 service from Finnair. We hope its the first of many more A350 destinations in the U.S., as the airline has more A350s on order.

Photo: Finnair

Stay tuned for plenty more coverage from our long-haul trip with Finnair! Next week, we will share a two-part interview with Sara Mosebar, A350 Program Manager for Finnair (who wouldn’t want that amazing AvGeek title?). In the meantime, share your thoughts in the comments section below.

SENIOR CORRESPONDENT - NEW YORK, NY. Manu is an avid air traveler, private pilot, and a dedicated AvGeek. He enjoys writing about aviation from a millennial's perspective, and co-manages AirlineReporter's social media and video projects. His day job is as a doctor in NYC.
A Chat With The Manager of Finnair’s Airbus A350 Fleet

Very likable airline. Flew their very reasonably priced economy comfort from Nagoya to Munich via Helsinki and enjoyed their longhaul product.

Plane-Crazy Joe

I had my initial two 359 flights this past Summer. It’s cabin noise level is bettered only by its cousin – the 380. Although I sat behind the wing on both flights, the cabin was extraordinarily quiet! Even during departure and climb-out! I prefer the 350 to the 7-LATE-7.

My flights were on Lufty – which I DON’T recommend; due my FLIGHTMARES on both outbound and return segments! But the 350 is a winner!

Presently, 350 service from the US to Europe is limited. Aside from Lufty, other options are Singapore from IAH to MAN; Iberia from JFK to MAD; DL from DTW to AMS; French Bee from SFO to ORY. Later, in 2019 Virgin Atlantic will have the 351 from EWR to LHR. BA will also have 351s, next year – but they have not yet announced routes it will fly. That is, I’ve not yet seen any such announcement.

Airline options across the Pacific are plentiful.

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