For years, I’ve longed to try Business Class on an international flight. Peeking through the curtain, I wished I were the one sitting in the front with a glass of champagne and a chair that reclines into a bed. On a recent flight to Finland, that dream came true, thanks to Finnair. And, as you might expect, I am now ruined for life.
Finnair Flight from Chicago to Helsinki
My first Business Class experience was on an overnight flight to Helsinki, Finland from Chicago. I checked in online, selected my seat (front row!), and purchased the WiFi package. I was foolishly thought I would get a lot of “business” done in my private office in the sky. But, it turns out there were too many delightful distractions to waste time working.
Cozy, Comfy, Wonderful Seats
For starters, my chair had a massage feature. I sat down, traded my shoes for the complimentary slippers provided, curled up in my Marimekko comforter and let the chair massage my cares away.
While sipping my welcome drink, I checked out my complimentary Marimekko cosmetic bag. Inside was a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, eye cream, lip balm, earplugs, and an eye mask. I was feeling spoiled already.
Drinks, Meals, and Snacks
As expected, the cocktails, wine, snacks, and meals flowed freely. In Business Class, one purser serves only a handful of guests, so we had a lovely attendant who checked on us every few minutes. Every time I looked up, she was back to offer another treat, warm cloth, or refill.
We had two menus: one for meals and one for beverages, both hot and cold. I started with a Finnish Double Bilberry, which was made with Lapponia Blueberry Liqueur, Finnair Blueberry Juice, ice cubes and a slice of lemon. Then, I had a Bassermann-Jordan, Kabinett semi-dry Riesling with my first meal—dinner!
I enjoyed a lovely menu of unique Nordic experience, inspired by Nordic nature. For starters, we could choose from beetroot marinated Balik salmon with cauliflower puree or roasted root vegetable salad. The main course was grilled halibut, creamy mushroom ravioli, or creamy salmon soup. This was followed by a cheese course and a dessert of fresh fruit. Needless to say, it was the best meal I’ve ever had on an airplane.
Snacks were also available throughout the flight, including fresh fruit, chocolates, candy, hamburgers, sandwiches, and chips. Basically, I could have eaten straight through the night.
For breakfast, just before we landed in Helsinki, I enjoyed more fresh fruit, a croissant, yogurt, coffee, and an egg dish.
Television, Movies, Music, and Games
A Business Class seat comes with nice headphones and a selection of movies, television shows, songs, and games to play on your personal television. I had a friend to talk to in the next seat, so I never tried any of this. Plus, I had paid for that WiFi. I was supposed to be working!
It turns out you get an hour of complimentary WiFi service when you’re in Business Class. This is about all I ended up using, so I didn’t pay for it on my return trip to the U.S.
Finnair Flight from Helsinki to Los Angeles
Every plane is unique, so Business Class on my flight home from Helsinki to Los Angeles looked a little different. I had a more comfortable pillow and comforter, a new set of complimentary toiletries, and my television was at a convenient angle. In my own little corner pod, the 11-hour flight flew by.
More Delicious Food
On this flight, we had the same Beverages Menu, but different meal options prepared by Swedish top chef Tommy Myllymaki. Starter choices were Celeriac and Wasterbotten cheese with truffle vinaigrette or smoked salmon and potato-salmon brandade.
Main courses included baked cod in crayfish sauce with chanterelles, tomatoes and new potatoes, slow-cooked lamb entrecote with dark garlic sauce and porcini purée, fresh salad with marinated mushrooms and artichokes or grilled chicken, or creamy cep mushroom soup with smoked salmon. A cheese course of Finnish cheeses was followed by dessert (chocolate cake!) and coffee or tea. It was all incredible.
To Sleep or to Eat?
While some passengers started to sleep on my return flight, those of us who were awake were offered snacks of chocolate, candy, and potato chips. The menu mentioned that we could also request sandwiches, noodle cups, hamburgers, savory snacks, sweet cakes, and fresh fruit.
On this flight, with no travel companion, I did manage to sleep. It was delightful to have a seat that reclined to a bed. After a comfortable three-hour nap, I was served a second meal of pasta before landing. The choices for this “light meal” were roasted chicken in Indian butter curry or Casarecce pasta and spiced Italian ragout with pesto Genovese. Not too shabby!
I couldn’t believe how fast my flights went by when I was comfortable and well-fed. I’ll definitely check Business Class fares in the future. Here are a few tips, if you’d like to as well:
Know Before You Go
- With Finnair, you can enjoy a free stopover in Helsinki for up to five days, if you’d like to explore Finland on your way to another European destination.
- During those five days, you might consider hopping on another quick Finnair flight up to Rovaniemi in the Arctic Circle. There, you can chase the Northern Lights and meet the “real” Santa Claus and his reindeer. In Lapland, this northern region of Finland, there are more reindeer than people and the scenery is worth the trip (and the cold).
- Make sure to book well in advance to get the best deal on round-trip airfare.
- Nonstop flights to Helsinki are available from Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
A huge thank you to Finnair for making my Business Class dreams come true! Both flights were perfect and made my trip to Finland even more memorable.