Flight review: Finnair — Paris to Helsinki to SF in economy

Sandwiched between my first two flights ever on Finnair was a 20-hour layover in Helsinki, Finland.

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The waters off of the 18th century fortress of Suomenlinna in Helsinki.

The flights weren’t quite as magical as the layover, but they were comfortable and painless.

The flight to Paris was very cheap, and for the trip home I spent American Airlines miles:

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AA gave me back 3k of those miles for having its credit card.

Finnair’s taxes/fees price tag was the smallest of three options for booking with AA miles: Finnair, AA or British Airways.

Here are AA’s taxes on a one-way and a roundtrip between Paris and SF:

As you can see above, the 30k miles I paid isn’t AA’s cheapest option for a one-way, but it was the best available in my time frame.

What about British Airways?


Finnair was the airline I most wanted to fly, so I was excited to find it was not only the cheapest, but also had an option for an ideal 20-hour stop in Helsinki.

Paris to Helsinki (A320)

After a week in Paris, this flight ushered me into the land of the Finnish.

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I sat just behind business class (3-seat rows with a blocked off middle seat) in seat 5F, which had plenty of leg room.

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A French countryside.

I was surprised to learn that on intercontinental flights, Finnair charges for any drinks except water, tea/coffee, and my new favorite: Finnair’s signature blueberry juice.

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The juice tasted like a handful of fresh, chilled blueberries had just been squeezed into my cup.

Here’s what the menu looks like:


The 2.5 hour ride on a comfy A320 almost made me wish the flight was longer, but we were in Helsinki in no time.

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Helsinki to San Francisco (A330)

Finnair’s Helsinki-SF route is seasonal, and this would be its last Sunday flight to SF until next summer.


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Our flight was delayed 30 minutes for some logistical reason, but boarding was smooth once it started.

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I chose the second to last row because I like the way the aisle widens a bit in the back of A330s.

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Finnair typically charges you to select your seat, but on award flights you can select any non-premium seat for free.


Seat selection options.

My standard economy seat felt spacious compared to the seat I had on the flight over to Europe.

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Complimentary bottle of water at every seat.

At the gate I made friends with a Lithuanian dude who works aboard cruise ships, and his company was sending him to SF for a cruise to Mexico. Sounds like a cool job.

Coincidentally he ended up having the seat right behind me.

As we taxied out for takeoff, I got a look at one of the aircraft with Finnair’s brand new paint design:

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The food.

The flight attendants gave us hot towels once we were in the sky, followed by a complimentary snack and drink service.

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The dinner that followed soon after was a pretty tasty chicken dish:

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Looks nasty, tastes good.

One weird aspect of this 11-hour flight is that it was pretty much around 4pm for the whole flight.

Five hours after our dinner, we had…another dinner.

I’m not picky at all when it comes to airline food, but I am picky when it comes to pork.

This “pork loaf” main entrée didn’t appeal to me, though I was grateful for the food.

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In-flight entertainment.

I enjoyed the selection of free movies, flight info maps and live cameras the seat-back screens offered.

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As for Wi-Fi:

We flew over the Golden Gate Bridge as we approached sunny, clear San Francisco.

Here’s a short video of the Helsinki-SF take-off/landing and a view of SF:

Thanks for stopping by!

*Update 10.4: A comment below made me realize I didn’t make it clear what the 20-hour layover in Helsinki entailed. I took the train (5 Euros each way) into Helsinki and had an amazing overnight visit. I’m hoping to eventually do a post on the layover itself.

6 thoughts on “Flight review: Finnair — Paris to Helsinki to SF in economy

  1. Pingback: Hotel review: Hilton Helsinki Kalastajatorppa | easyjourneys

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