For many of our members, the change last year with Qantas to route European bound flights via Dubai meant it was time to look at alternatives. For others, avoiding Heathrow and its departure tax surcharges has also been a primary concern. This week’s trip report offers a real world review of one of those alternatives – a mixed bag of flying with Finnair and Qantas.

Over recent years, Finnair have been expanding their Asian presence. Early forum members would remember their popular “tag” flights ex Bangkok to Hong Kong and Singapore, offering very attractive status run opportunities. These flights are long gone, in their place more flights offering connections with Qantas services into Asia. With a refurbishment underway for Finnair’s A340 cabins, it also provided an ideal opportunity to compare new with old.

A quick trip up to Czech Republic (such a great place) over Easter, so grabbed some airline pics along the way for anyone considering Finnair. Finnair have started to introduce their refurbished fleet especially across the A340s. It was a refurbished A340 on the way up from Bangkok and then an old config back to Singapore.

With the journey starting on Qantas, not much can be said for the equipment which is due for upgrading this year. What has changed recently is the introduction of new small plate dining options in Business class. With one option described as looking like something nasty from Ghost busters, it’s not hard to see why many regard this change as a negative. At least the pre arrival snack is back, in the form of a noodle box that is tasty.

Meal Time: The food was hit and miss. Service though was a big positive and the crew did a great job.

With a short stopover in Bangkok, it’s time to join the Finns, flying on a bird that’s becoming rarer in the skies, the A340. Unlike Qantas’s business cabin, the Finnair aircraft is fitted out with a business class configuration that means every seat has aisle access. The seat is not lie flat but is in fact sloped, but with plenty of space for storage. And unlike some refurbishments on airlines, they have kept up with technology needs of the guests, with the USB power being suitable for today tablets and their power needs.

Food is a common comparison point for our trip reporters, and for some it has other benefits as well.

Now meal time. Food is always a good way to make any trip go faster. Meal service was fast and efficient but well done. Several bread runs were done and Champagne / Red was free flowing with constant top ups during the meal.

What will the return journey be like in the un-refurbished aircraft? Is European business better than its reputation? Will our correspondent be served the dreaded “cafe” breakfast? Join the conversation HERE.

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