Finnair A321 Business Class Review (Helsinki-Vienna)Finnair, a member of the Oneworld alliance, operates a solid short-haul network all over Europe from its Helsinki hub. The vast majority of these flights are on the Airbus A320 family of aircraft. In this review, we test the Finnair short-haul Business Class experience on a flight from Helsinki to Vienna.

Flight Details

Flight number AY1471
Route Helsinki (HEL) to Vienna (VIE)
Aircraft type Airbus A321
Class of travel Business
Seat number 1A
Route on-time performance 87% (my flight was 25 minutes early)
Star rating 4 stars out of 5

The route

AY1471 route map

Flight Cost

This flight was booked as part of a Oneworld Classic Flight Reward ticket using Qantas Frequent Flyer points. If you were to buy a standalone Business Class ticket on this flight, the one-way price would be around $1,317. (However, most passengers on this flight would likely be connecting as part of a long-haul itinerary.) Alternatively, you could redeem 30,000 Qantas points + $94 for a Business Class seat on this flight.

Airport Experience

Helsinki Airport is a dream, and being the home base for Finnair, my airport experience was very pleasant. There was no queue at the Business Class check-in counter; not that it mattered as there were also plenty of self-service check-in kiosks available.

I was able to use the priority security line and was in the sanctuary of Finnair’s (Schengen area) lounge within minutes of arriving at the airport.

The lounge is long and narrow in shape, but bright and airy. Scrambled eggs, sausages, sandwiches and a range of other food and drinks were available at the breakfast buffet. A full selection of wine, tap beer and spirits were also available – even at 7am. There were plenty of charging outlets and even a couple of massage chairs in the quiet zone. Overall, Finnair has a very solid lounge in Helsinki.

The Hard Product

Finnair A321 Business Class cabin
Finnair A321 Business Class cabin

Like most European airlines, Finnair has not installed proper Business class seats on its short-haul Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft. Instead, you’ll get the European Business Class experience of a regular Economy seat, but with the middle seat left empty. (There are a couple of Finnair flights within Europe where lie-flat Business class is available, including on the Helsinki-London route. But this is the exception, rather than the rule.)

The seats are Recaro slimline seats, similar to those found on airlines such as Lufthansa and even Jetstar’s newer aircraft. On Finnair, the seats are covered in cloth.

I was originally seated in 1A, which is a bulkhead seat. This is a nice place to sit because there is no seat in front of you, however there is no space to stretch your legs out. After takeoff, the flight attendant suggested I could move to another seat of my choice as there were 8 rows of Business Class on this flight and only 3 Business passengers.

Later in the flight I tried out row 2, and found the legroom very good. The seat itself was comfortable enough for a short flight and the recline was fairly generous.

Legroom in row 2
Legroom in row 2

There was no in-flight entertainment, but wifi was available on this aircraft. Business Class passengers receive 30 minutes of complimentary internet access, with additional time available for purchase. The connection speed was relatively fast.

Finnair Nordic Sky wifi
Finnair Nordic Sky wifi

The Soft Product

The service on this flight was excellent. I was a little skeptical when the only pre-departure drink on offer was water, which was served in a small paper cup. But things got much better from there.

We had a great view of the sunrise shortly after take-off.

Sunrise over Finland
Sunrise over Finland

As the sun came up, the chief cabin attendant offered a hot towel, followed by a choice of a hot or cold breakfast and drinks. I chose the hot breakfast, which was a potato rosti with chicken, spinach, mushrooms and ratatouille. This came with fresh fruit, yoghurt and museli, salami, cheese, lettuce and cucumber. I was then offered a choice of breads, including traditional Finnish Karelian pies. The breakfast was filling and delicious.

Hot breakfast on Finnair A321 Business Class
Hot breakfast on Finnair A321 Business Class

Due to the early hour, I stuck with green tea and Finnair’s delicious signature blueberry juice. But a range of wines and Finnish spirits and cocktails were also available on request.

After breakfast, the crew handed out pillows and blankets and constantly checked to make sure my drinks were topped up.

Finnair Airbus A321 Business Class
  • Airport Experience
  • Hard Product
  • Soft Product
4.3

Final thoughts

I cannot fault Helsinki Airport, the friendly crew, nor the catering on this flight. Although the Finnair A321 Business Class hard product was nothing special, the soft product deserves 5 stars.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]

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Chris G Stone

Flying Beijing to Helsinki business July 2020 so your experience is reassuring that I will have a good experience as I have only flown with them once which was a long time ago. Thank you.

Adrian Guest

Totally agree we had similar service HEL – DUB and HEL – LHR in the past year. Great service, like Finnair ‘comfort food’ onboard and Finnish botanical gin.