Finnair closed its non-Schengen lounge for renovations back in October 2018 and was hoping to have it ready for service in February 2019. The February went but the lounge finally opened in early June and I managed to squeeze in a visit on my trip this week from Tallinn to London.
Finnair has two lounges in Helsinki; Schengen lounge that serves domestic and Schengen-flights and this long-haul lounge that is open for passengers departing on long-haul flights.
You can access Finnair’s page for the Helsinki lounges here.
The lounge has two sides; one for Platinum members (Oneworld Emerald) and another one for business class passengers + Oneworld Sapphire members. You must be both on Onerwold marketed and operated flight. British Airways, Qatar Airways and JAL passengers also have access to the lounge.
The opening times are posted on the door: 530AM until midnight. Not sure if the lounge is kept open in case of delayed departures past the midnight.
You won’t find Finnair employees in the lounge as it is operated by Fazer.
Breakfast and dinner are served from the buffet but you have table service with a menu during the lunch hours.
The menu was rather basic. The sauteed game was not reindeer but red deer. I ordered it and both desserts. Also picked up some items from the cold and hot buffet
The presentation of the desserts was excellent.
Picked up some more items from the cheese & dessert buffet.
There is no self service at the bar. You have to rely on employees for making your drinks or pouring the wines.
Shower rooms & sauna
The new Platinum wing has sauna with communal room and three private showers that you reserve using the booking system mounted on the wall. I did not pay a visit to the sauna as I had just been to one few hours earlier and thus no photos.
The toilet is uncomfortably close to the wall.
Business Class Lounge
The business class lounge has not been completed yet.
Business class lounge food and beverages
You have to keep in mind that Finnair (or any other airline currently serving Helsinki) doesn’t have first class. The Platinum Wing is merely for Finnair trying to serve its Platinum and Oneworld Emerald guests better.
When I asked the receptionist in the lounge, whether passengers arriving on non-Schengen flights and connecting to Schengen ones could access it, I was told that it is possible outside of 3PM – 5PM.
I then further queried if Schengen passengers could access the lounge by “exiting” Finland and then re-entering for their flights and was told that this would be “illegal”. Not sure how this is enforced once the automated access gates are up and running.
I am not sure why Finnair decided to offer table service only during the lunch but not dinner? There are many long-haul flights leaving after the lunch service is over that would have benefited from this.
The ala carte food was good but the buffet left lot to be desired. Not sure if the items had been sitting there for too long. The Ultima Thule and Marimekko glassware had both survived the move.
Overall, I think that this new lounge is good and definitely serves its purpose. Maybe I have time to check out the new sauna when in Helsinki next time.