This is our review of the new Finnair Platinum Wing at Helsinki Airport, accessible only by British Airways Executive Club Gold members and oneworld equivalents. We also pop into the new Business Lounge for a quick peek.
Our occasional contributor Caroline was recently in Helsinki and, since the Finnair lounges have just been refurbished, we thought we’d ask her what they’re like! Over to Caroline…
“I have to admit I was a little puzzled as to why Finnair needed to refurb their flagship lounge, as it was one of the nicest in Europe I’ve visited! But at the start of my British Airways Executive Club tier point year, with a BA sale on, and with Helsinki lounge refurbishment complete, I decided to book a cheeky weekend break and take a look on my way home.
If the prior lounge was lovely – this new Platinum Wing is magnificent.
The bad news is that you will need to be holding a British Airways Gold card or equivalent to get in. You also need to be travelling to a non-Schengen country and be travelling on a oneworld airline. You are allowed one guest, with the exception of Finnair Plus Platinum Lumo members who are allowed four guests. If you are travelling in Finnair Business Class (Finnair does not have First Class) then you are exiled to The Business Lounge.
Once I found the lounge, I was welcomed into the clean and crisp reception area. My boarding pass was checked and I was waved through to the Platinum Wing. The Business lounge is on the right – more of that later.
Click on any picture to enlarge.
There were only around 20 other passengers in the lounge as I arrived about 3 hours before my 4pm flight …… although that would change.
The layout is interesting. You walk into an attractive and colourful central bar area – loos and showers (and sauna) to the left and beyond that an extended seating area. The bar is impressive with a massive array of drinks, plus ice buckets with quality champagne and wines.
Very present is the gorgeous iittala Ultima Thule Glassware – seen with the water jugs (plain or a choice of infused offerings), iconic champagne glasses and water tumblers.
To the right, you’ll find the flight information screens and the newspaper and magazine stand:
….. plus some cosy individual seating. This was very ‘Scandi’ in design and uber private with a small shelf and place to leave your belongings built into every single position. A panel with power and USB was also built-in.
Alongside to the left and to the front are dining tables menus and laid up tables and in front is the kitchen and buffet area.
To the left of the dining area, and through some rather odd heavy curtains, you come to a cosy lounge area. The ‘front row’ towards the windows has some super-comfy chairs and footstools but no access to electricity, so you need to choose carefully where you want to sit.
I decided to sit in the cosy individual chairs with footstools while I peered out at the limited view and enjoyed the obligatory glass of champagne. My husband went and helped himself to the buffet while I saved myself for the a la carte menu.
Dining in the Finnair Platinum Lounge
I had a quick run around and took some more pictures of the buffet area. Food offerings were great with a good selection of hot foods, salads and desserts, along with some delicious small bowls of appetisers:
I then went over to an available table as we thought it was a good time to dine. I decided to order the roasted lamb with cranberry sauce. While I was waiting for my meal, I went to choose a red wine from the bar and chose a delicious Burgundy.
Sadly when the lamb arrived, it was a massive disappointment as although it looked lovely, it was cold. I asked for it to be reheated but they didn’t really manage to do this properly. Such a shame.
On the other hand, when it came to pudding, the lime posset with meringue and pistachio was absolutely sublime, and I ordered a delicious glass of dessert wine to match. My husband ordered the apple pie and ice-cream which was equally scrumptious. Both were decorated with edible flowers which made an exceptional touch.
The sauna ….
After eating, we had to get our skates on in order to experience the piece de resistance that is the sauna.
With my husband and I heading to our separate areas, we met in the Sauna area, which had a small relaxing bench, which is joined by both the male and female changing rooms. The actual sauna cabin is pretty small and only holds about four strangers comfortably – luckily for us we were the only ones in there. We naughtily snuck our drinks in with us to enjoy while we baked in the warmth. The sauna was not overly hot, but when we threw some water on the coals it did pep it up a bit.
After 15 minutes, we departed back into our separate changing rooms to shower and dress ready for our flight. Toiletries were lovely – actually reminiscent of Aesop – but by L:A Bruket. In the showers there were large bottles of shampoo and conditioner as well as body wash, and in the changing rooms there was ample supply of bath towels.
There are three showers that can be booked via a touch screen pad just outside of the washroom area. There is also an area to the right as you walk in where you can securely store your luggage. I guess this would be useful if you have a long layover and would like to sleep or explore the terminal in more detail.
The Business Lounge at Helsinki Airport
For those of you who aren’t lucky enough to have a BA Gold card, I had a quick look in the refurbished Business Lounge next door.
Whilst some of the areas of the Platinum Wing are a bit dark and mysterious (restrooms, lockers etc.) the equivalent areas in the business lounge are, by contrast, light and airy.
This space is, well, spacious. And lots of comfy seating.
There is a bar and a newspaper area which has some champagne on ice along with some champagne glasses, which notably were not the Ultima Thule variety found in the Platinum Lounge.
A further large bar area is in one part of the lounge, with help yourself teas and coffees, beers, wines and soft drinks. There is also a selection of spirits, plus mixers and soft drinks in a refrigerator below. There are quite a few dining tables for those who want to sit down and eat properly.
A selection of hot foods is on a small buffet area whilst another table houses pastries, biscuits, cakes, soups and salads and other items to help yourself to.
Outside of the locker area is also a place to shine your shoes. I don’t remember seeing any showers, but I am sure there are some there somewhere.
One final thing to note is that in our last hour in the lounge it got hectic. It was absolutely heaving in fact and I certainly would not have been able to take any pictures. I’m not sure what flights were due to leave, but there must have been quite a lot around mid to late afternoon. The Finnair website says that the peak hours are between 1pm and 6pm. Bear in mind that it’s worth getting there a little earlier if you really want to enjoy the tranquillity and calm.
All in all, it was a fantastic experience. Finnair’s new Platinum Wing is well worth a visit and is a very welcome haven for anyone with appropriate status. If you have a BA Gold card then it is worth pushing Helsinki up your list of potential weekend break destinations, or considering them for a long-haul flight to Asia. Oh – and don’t forget to pick up a small (don’t be greedy!) supply of their yummy chocolates for your flight, on your way out of the lounge.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (August 2021)
As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.
Additional lounge visits are charged at £20. You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.
There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and a 20,000 points sign-up bonus. Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network. Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.
The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer. Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.
PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.