Finnair business class: pre-order meals, reindeer, Dom Perignon

By Chris C., June 21 2016
Finnair business class: pre-order meals, reindeer, Dom Perignon

There’s much more to dining in Finnair business class than initially meets the eye. As with many airlines you can pre-order your preferred main course, but three ‘secret’ dishes also await if you know to ask in advance, including a reindeer course for more adventurous diners.

For special occasions or a little extra indulgence, you can also go beyond the regular fare and arrange a box of chocolates to arrive at your seat or your very own bottle of Dom Pérignon to enjoy or share, as you see fit.

Australian Business Traveller sits down with Maarit Keränen, Finnair’s Head of Inflight Product (Food), to find out more.

Finnair business class dining philosophy

“The first thing people say about inflight food is that it’s boring”, Keränen shares. “We want to get rid of the boring, so we’re bringing some of the glamour back, like in the ‘50s when everybody dressed up to fly.”

That sees Finnair showcasing not just its own Nordic Kitchen on flights from Helsinki, but also local and fusion food on flights from other ports such as Hong Kong and Beijing, where the airline calls on a different celebrity chef to design the inflight menus from each city.

“We don’t just look for French Chef de cuisines around the world,” Keränen continues. “We’re really looking for established chefs who can use the local ingredients but with a Finnish touch.”

But tell a passenger that you’ve run out of their preferred course and it’s an easy way to dampen the business class experience, regardless of which celebrity chef designed the menu.

Finnair business class meals for pre-order

From the moment you book your journey until 24 hours before wheels-up, you can jump onto the Finnair website and select your preferred dish from the inflight menu, and on flights from Helsinki, you’ll find three extra options that passengers ordering on-board never even know about.

Currently there’s a healthy ‘wellness and energy’ option of grilled chilli marinated prawns with cashew nuts, jasmine rice and fresh vegetables; plus a ‘food lover’s treat’ of herb seasoned bratwurst sausages, roasted potatoes and onions with fresh tomatoes.

Sound a bit too pedestrian for your tastes? Then glance your eyes over the ‘chef’s gourmet’ choice being a roasted fillet of reindeer with ale-cranberry sauce, potato gratin and grilled vegetables – a meat that many Australians might deem unusual, but which is iconic to Finland.

“For the first time eating reindeer, you have to be a little prepared for that,” Keränen teases. “The taste of the food is very, very strong – it’s something that you don’t expect.”

“It’s nothing like deer, but if you like strong tastes then it’s for you. It’s an experience, and very delicious,” she says, and having ordered the dish on a recent Finnair flight, we certainly agree.

How to pre-order your business class meal

Choosing your meal in advance is easy – just head to the ‘manage my booking’ section of the Finnair website, load up your reservation and then glance down to ‘additional services’, or the larger ‘inflight meals’ option.

But unlike Qantas’ similar ‘Select on Q Eat’ service or Malaysia Airlines’ ‘Chef on Call’, you’ll find your choices almost hidden within the list of special meals. ‘Options 1-3’ reflect the regular inflight menu…

… while the nearby options reflect the seasonal healthy and foodie choices, including the reindeer option listed as chef’s gourmet. To see what’s available on your flight, call up your booking and click on the simple 'click here' text above the meal selection box to explore the menu and see which option corresponds to which dish.

And hey, if you're lamenting the absence of first class on your Finnair flight, make yourself in more comfortable surroundings by pre-ordering a bottle of Dom Pérignon for €144 (A$220) or a box of Godiva creamy mousse chocolates for €20 (A$30.50) to enjoy en route to your destination.

Those items can be ordered over the phone (+358 10 800 400), or by email ([email protected]) at least 72 hours before your flight – rather than through the ‘manage my booking’ section – and must be paid for in advance.

Just don’t pre-order the Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Grande Réserve Champagne if you’re flying in business class: it’s Finnair’s house Champagne and already appears (free) on the regular inflight menu.

Also read: Finnair 'Premium Lounge' review, Helsinki Airport

Chris Chamberlin travelled to Helsinki as a guest of Finnair.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 259

Mmmmmm.... Sounds delicious 

I'm a big fan of Finnair for flights Hong Kong to Europe particularly on the a350. Food generally very good but I found the pre-ordering a bit hit and miss in terms of whether your order actually made it on the plane. All is forgiven though given the overall excellent Finnair experience.


16 Nov 2012

Total posts 57

agree with the sentiment though last time I did it the reindeer tartare (not called that but I think that's an accurate description) gave me a bit of tummy trouble on arrival.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Mar 2013

Total posts 134

Is it possible to pre-order when booked through on a QF flight number? My booking reference doesn't seem to be recognised by the AY site, albeit a couple of months out.

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2482

Hi Michael, that's odd – Qantas and Finnair both use the same booking system, so bookings with either airline can be opened on either airline's website.

Did you perhaps book through a travel agent and are you trying to enter the travel agent's own booking reference, rather than the airline reference (which is usually always different)?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Mar 2013

Total posts 134

Thanks Chris. Via QF Reservations - found out there's a different PNR not listed on the booking for the return journey. Still no luck selecting preferences, so may need to use the AY call centre. Guess the lesson here is to book direct! 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Jun 2016

Total posts 1

Just make sure your Finnair flight isn't delayed.  In my case, they did the bare minimum to help you out and wriggled out of paying any EU compensation by using any excuse they can think of.

21 Aug 2015

Total posts 86

Yes, I'm a huge fan of AY out of Asia to europe......but I have found their inflight catering a little light on, I usually wake feeling hungry and the breakfast is not my choice. A small complaint. this pre order may help. 

The mid flight snack offering is woeful. Chocolate and about a hearty meat sandwich or at least some slightly healthier nuts etc......

Totally agree. Finnair breakfast is very average and I'm comparing it to Cathay's which is always really awful. Impressed that Finnair had mid flight snacks as I've not tried them and they aren't mentioned on the menu from memory. Certainly more than Cathay can manage at 3 x the price

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 276

Oh so you have to pay and ORDER a bottle of Dom? I was thinking 'wow they give you free Dom in business class'! 

I suppose it's a nice option to have if you want it, but I wonder how many people will be taking advantage of it though?

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