Whilst flying regularly within Europe, I’d never had the chance to fly with Finnair. With a trip to Finland on the cards, I was excited to try out Finnair economy from Alicante to Helsinki. Booking was a simple process, with Finnair’s website offering a fairly easy booking experience.

If you hold status with Finnair, or oneworld, system recognition is good. Although I was booking a hand baggage only fare, the system recognised my oneworld Emerald status. It also confirmed I’d be able to check-in a bag. This was particularly useful as on this occasion my baggage ended up weighing 31.5kg. Fortunately I wasn’t required to pay any excess baggage fees.

At the Airport

Unfortunately, Finnair’s service from Alicante to Helsinki is rather inconveniently timed. The scheduled departure time was 2.10am. Normally I’d try and avoid flights with a similar schedule and at most the flight turned out to be 60% full.

Check-in was efficiently managed, and was staffed by Iberia. When we arrived, there was no one else in the queue. The whole process took no more than 3 or 4 minutes.

Security turned out to be equally efficient, and again, we were the only people in the queue. We arrived at the airport around two hours before departure. On reflection it’d have been more than fine to leave just an hour or so and to still have had plenty of time to manage the formalities.

Normally, if travelling in business, or holding oneworld status of sapphire or above, it’d be possible to use the AENA Sala Ifach lounge. This wasn’t possible because between April and October the lounge closes at midnight, and for the rest of the year at 10pm. This was a shame because in Helsinki, Finnair have an impressive lounge offering. It wasn’t a huge problem though because the airport was near empty. This meant it was very easy to find somewhere quiet to sit. The free wifi proved to be fairly reliable and power plugs were easy to find.

The Cabin

We ended up departing on time and the boarding process was very efficient. This included priority boarding for eligible passengers.

During booking, we were able to choose emergency exit rows free of charge. This proved to be a great option, with more than adequate space to stretch out during the flight. I was even able to get 2 or so hours of sleep, which is unusual for me (although perhaps helped by the departure time!).

Before departure, the cabin service director welcome me onboard, along with the offer of a newspaper. It was a nice touch, even if these exchanges can sometimes be a little awkward.

The cabin and seats were comfortable, although if I had to find a criticism it would be the lack of usb power points. This is becoming more and more unacceptable when flying short-haul, especially on flights of this length. It’d be great to see Finnair address it in the future.

Food and Drinks

We departed on time, and shortly after leaving the onboard service began. Finnair have opted for a hybrid model. This involves a limited complimentary offering of tea, coffee, water and blueberry juice for all passengers in economy, combined with a more extensive menu if you wish to purchase something else. To me, it proved to be a perfect approach. Whilst I still prefer a full service offering, this seemed like a good compromise. It ensured all passengers were  still able to choose something.

The flight was over 4 hours, and at this time of the day I can’t imagine many passengers would have been in the mood for much else. If it’d been a daytime flight, the lack of complimentary meals could potentially have been more problematic. This approach, however, is not out of step with other oneworld airlines in Europe on short-haul services. British Airways offers absolutely nothing (apart from tap water) in economy. Iberia only does so on flights over and above 4. 5 hours.

If you’re oneworld Emerald, Finnair’s onboard service can’t be faulted. You’re able to choose any drink from the buy-on-board menu on a complimentary basis and this is extended to one companion. Tiago and I opted for champagne, and this was served with proper glassware from business class – which was a nice touch. Such a gesture on BA is hard to imagine. It’s occasionally available on Iberia (although on a very informal, and occasional basis).

The staff onboard were all great, especially considering the somewhat unsociable departure time. They were genuinely happy to help which made for a relaxed experience.


Overall, I was impressed with this Finnair economy flight from Alicante to Helsinki. Finnair offer a comfortable cabin environment, solid oneworld benefits, and an onboard service which provided a great balance between a complimentary selection and buy-on-board options.

I’d have no hesitation in flying with them again.