Finnair runs three distinct lounges in its home hub of Helsinki Airport that business class passengers and eligible frequent flyers can access, but knowing which lounge to use can sometimes be tricky.
Prior to all Finland domestic flights and also before all flights to other ‘Schengen’ countries – a list that includes France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, among others – you’ll use the airline’s all-purpose Finnair Schengen Lounge.
AusBT review: Finnair Schengen business class lounge, Helsinki
Inside, you’ll find two showers to freshen up after arriving on those longer flights from Asia, along with machine-made espresso coffee to kick-start your day, free WiFi and a selection of buffet items.
This lounge welcomes Finnair business class passengers in addition to Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers, including Qantas Gold and above.
You’re also welcome to stop by if you’ve arrived on a 5+ hour business class flight (such as from Singapore or Hong Kong) and are connecting onwards in economy, or on paying €48 (A$70.50) at the door.
Jetting to countries outside the Schengen Area, such as to the United Kingdom, Russia, the United States or anywhere in Asia? Then you’ll instead head for the airport’s non-Schengen zone which houses Finnair’s other two lounges.
The standard Finnair Non-Schengen Lounge features many of the same amenities and dining options as its Schengen cousin, but gains a sauna amidst six private shower suites.
Also mirrored is the access list, with this lounge the default for business class flyers and passengers who choose to purchase one-off access.
AusBT review: Finnair non-Schengen business class Lounge, Helsinki
While Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers are too welcome here, we’d instead recommend visiting the Finnair Premium Lounge next door (also in the non-Schengen area), which carries a funkier vibe, a more upmarket feel, and of course, Champagne.
Sit in the middle of this lounge and you can experience simulations of the Northern Lights, of a morning sunrise (below) or even the night sky, or wander up the steps to the relaxation zone and kick back as you watch the world fly by.
AusBT review: Finnair Premium Lounge, Helsinki Airport
But don’t expect your business class boarding pass to get you entry – this lounge is exclusively for Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers, which means there’s no one Finnair flight you can book to gain access.
You also can’t pay at the door for Premium Lounge access, so if you’re stuck in the nearby ‘Finnair Non-Schengen Lounge’, at least know that the sauna here is the great leveller: shared between passengers of both lounges.
Chris Chamberlin travelled to Helsinki as a guest of Finnair.