Passengers travelling with Finnair through Helsinki can soon relax in new business class and Platinum-grade frequent flyer lounges in the airport’s international departures area, with the opening of a new Finnair Platinum Wing and a revamped Finnair Business Lounge.
Found after passport control and serving passengers travelling to places like London, Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai – being beyond the borders of the European Schengen Area, catering to those connecting to or from Australia as well – here’s what will soon await at Helsinki Airport.
New Finnair Platinum Wing lounge opening March 26
Replacing the previous Finnair Premium Lounge, the Finnair Platinum Wing will offer seating for 155 guests, with new facilities such as à la carte dining from 10:30am daily and true barista-made coffee, doing away with the previous (yet staff-operated) push-button machine.
In the mornings, there’ll be a more standardised breakfast buffet, although a redesigned bar area will be appreciated by travellers flying later in the day, joined by a new salad bar and a dessert station.
As you’d expect, Platinum Wing guests can experience a Finnish sauna, and make use of private shower suites before their flight: facilities that were previously offered in the Premium Lounge.
However, as its name suggests, the Platinum Wing will become a strictly Platinum affair, opening its doors to Finnair Plus Platinum Lumo members (+4 guests), along with Finnair Platinum, Qantas Platinum (and above) and other Oneworld Emerald cardholders, with one guest in tow.
That’s a change from the outgoing Premium Lounge which also previously welcomed Finnair, Qantas and Oneworld Gold-grade (Sapphire) frequent flyers, although as a temporary measure, Finnair Plus Gold members (+1 guest) can visit the Platinum Wing while renovation works in the Finnair Business Lounge are ongoing: but once complete, that access reverts to the Business Lounge only.
Revitalised Finnair Business Lounge set for completion in June
Currently serving as Finnair’s only lounge for non-Schengen passengers and remaining open throughout this renovation period, the Finnair Business Lounge is also being progressively renovated, with works to be completed in June.
While the physical space currently looks the same as before renovations began, the works so far have mostly focused on turning the Premium Lounge into the Platinum Wing, but which has impacted some Business Lounge facilities behind the scenes, including the closure of the lounge’s kitchen.
As such, hot food has been off the menu here for some time, but that's set to return from March 5 when the new kitchen opens, with real china, glassware and cutlery also replacing the temporary use of disposable cups and plates while the kitchen’s dishwashing facilities were also getting a revamp.
As of March 26, shower facilities will return for Business Lounge guests, and a new ‘quick coffee area’ will be installed in the Business Lounge too, marking the same date the Platinum Wing opens to higher-tier travellers.
Fast-forward to June when all works are completed across the entire lounge precinct, and the Business Lounge will sport seating for 450 guests in total, with a new bar area too, plus a dedicated family zone.
The Finnair Business Lounge will continue to be the go-to for Finnair and Oneworld business class passengers taking non-Schengen flights from Helsinki, and will become the new home of Finnair and Qantas Gold cardholders and other Oneworld Sapphire frequent flyers, who’ll no longer have access to Finnair’s better-than-business-class lounge.
AusBT review: Finnair Business Lounge, Helsinki Airport (2016)
Paid access to the Finnair Business Lounge will also be available between 9am-1pm and 6pm-11pm daily at a cost of €48 (A$76) for adults and €15 (A$24) for children aged 2-12, covering passengers travelling to Asia or heading onward to places like London after a morning arrival.
Those taking a domestic flight within Finland, or jetting within the European Schengen Area to places like France, Germany and Italy will continue to use the separate Finnair business class lounge in the Schengen part of the airport, which is not part of the airline's renovation project – not that it needs to be, with a design concept well ahead of its time: