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Review: The great new Finnair Platinum Wing at Helsinki Airport (BA Gold cards only)

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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.

Finnair Platinum Lounge at Helsinki Airport

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.

Finnair Platinum Lounge at Helsinki Airport

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.

Finnair Platinum Lounge at Helsinki Airport

To the right, you’ll find the flight information screens and the newspaper and magazine stand:

Finnair Platinum Lounge at Helsinki Airport

….. 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.

Finnair Platinum Lounge at Helsinki Airport

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.

Finnair Platinum Lounge at Helsinki Airport

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.

Finnair Platinum Lounge at Helsinki Airport

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:

Finnair Platinum Lounge at Helsinki Airport

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.

Finnair Platinum Lounge at Helsinki Airport

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.

Finnair Platinum Lounge at Helsinki Airport

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.

Finnair Platinum Lounge at Helsinki Airport

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.

Finnair Business Lounge

This space is, well, spacious.  And lots of comfy seating.

Finnair Business Lounge

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.

Finnair Business 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.

Finnair Business Lounge
In the middle of the lounge are three curious pods – one of which someone had chosen to sleep in. I managed to take a picture without compromising his privacy!

Conclusion

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.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (May 2022)

As a reminder, here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER) and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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

You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with two free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list 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 you get a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

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.

Comments (44)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Riku says:

    If you are on a schengen flight they will let you in outside of peak hours (which are 1500-1700).
    Sadly BA have cut their flights from two/day to one/day which limits the choice if redeeming Avios and the timings of the single daily flight are not that convenient.

    • Stu N says:

      You’d have to be on a NON-Schengen flight as the lounges are after passport control.

      We used the Premium Lounge not long after it opened this summer and we thought it was great. It is very much a “long haul” lounge and focused at the Asian flights market – with the UK being outside the Schengen Area it’s an anomaly that flights go there.

      The Schengen lounges are less good – generally pretty crowded and much like T5 Galleries lounges.

      For a Gold Card holder, Helsinki is an excellent destination for maximising lounge value – there’s the T3 lounges on the outbound and this lounge for return. It’s a fun city too – I’d very much recommend it as a weekend destination.

      • Riku says:

        When you go through manual passport control you do not show your boarding pass. When you go through the automated machines you do not show your boarding pass. So you can get into the non-schengen area regardless of what flight you are on. Two weeks ago I had breakfast in the platinum wing when flying HEL-MUC. I did not have to discuss with anyone why I was in the non-schengen wing for a flight HEL-MUC.

        • Stu N says:

          Ah – useful, I did not know that.

          If flying to Schengen you’d have to clear passport control twice wouldn’t you?

          • riku2 says:

            When I flew HEL-MUC and wanted breakfast in the platinum wing I went through passport control twice. The machines take about 45 seconds to get through and in the 10 years they’ve had the machines I don’t think I’ve ever waited behind more than two people.

  • BJ says:

    “If you are travelling in Finnair Business Class (Finnair does not have First Class) then you are exiled to The Business Lounge.”

    Always found this infuriating, don’t see the logic whereby status passengers on competing airlines trump their own paying business class passengers.

    • Shoestring says:

      would it be because flying First Class or holding elite status ranks higher than flying Business?

      • BJ says:

        Is anybody flying First class from Helsinki? Certainly not Finnair passengers.

        • Stu N says:

          BJ – you’re thinking of it the wrong way round.

          Given the relative scarcity of first these days, these premium lounges should really be thought of as status perks over and above those from class of travel. The lounge is for the benefit of Finnair’s own top tier passengers and it’s a side benefit that other One World Emeralds can use the lounge.

        • Lady London says:

          Finnair Business pax are in the First lounge but only if they fly enough to be Gold.

    • riku2 says:

      It does not really apply from Helsinki. Finnair are operating about 98% of the one-world flights from the non-schengen terminal and even the handful of non-Finnair flights have AY flight numbers as well. Under your rules you’d have a crowded platinum wing with AY business class passengers and tiny lounge for non-finnair passengers (which would probably be quieter than the platinum wing under your new rules).
      There used to be only a business class lounge and when they introduced the platinum lounge it was only for AY cardholders but after a couple of years they changed it to admit one world cardholders also. Most of the time though the platinum lounge was more crowded than the business lounge and after having something to eat I would sit in peace in quiet in the business lounge (I have a BA gold card).

    • Russ says:

      Not sure it’s competing. More showing they’re valued.

      Perhaps too many Golds were going in on economy tickets; taking up space originally planned just for J passengers?

    • BJ says:

      Thanks to all for commenting. I always thought that passengers with status flying economy probably contribute more to lounge overcrowding than do premium cabin passengers with or without status, but quite accept this may not be true.

  • Eugene says:

    Yesterday I was in the [email protected] lounge which is where BA send club passengers and is a PP valid destination also. It’s got a really nice feel and while food choices are limited, they’re good and unlike the pictures shown of the other two it doesn’t have that bland Hilton hotel corporate look about it.
    Well I thought it was pretty relaxed given the busy nature of that airport as a major Asian hub.
    A nice place to go before the cattle truck that is Norwegian

  • Robert says:

    Have similar experiences in Gatwick BA lounges, where the First (Gold) lounge is smaller and gets busier so I’ll pass thru into the Biz (Silver) lounge which is huge, and for me I love those pods, also 3 of them, great for sleep and privacy!
    Great review by the way, thanks. Any tips on what to do/where to stay in Helsinki?

    • Caroline says:

      We stayed at the Hotel Haven which was very nice and positioned right by the harbour but also fairly central. dined at Ragu (fabulous) but must book. and also the steak house next door to the hotel. visited the Kampii Chapel and also the Church in the rock plus the Art Gallery close by .. it was a fun weekend…

    • Stu N says:

      We stayed at Scandic Paasi last time which was brilliant, they upgraded us to a vast suite with an in room sauna. It’s quite a “low key” city, not many blockbuster sites but in summer at least it’s very pleasant to walk around, lots of open green spaces not far from the centre and you’re never very far from the sea anywhere. The two cathedrals (Lutheran and Orthodox) are worth a visit and a harbour cruise is great as well. Drink is expensive, everything else sort of London prices.

      You can easily combine it with Tallinn as well, we flew London/Helsinki/Tallinn, had a couple of nights in Tallinn then got the fast ferry over to Helsinki and flew back from Helsinki.

      I’d sort of like to try it in winter too but that may be an adventure too far.

      • Stu N says:

        Oh, also it’s actually one city where the open top bus tour is good as things are rather spread out around the city – the combo bus/ boat thing is decent value.

    • Eugene says:

      -7 a couple of evenings ago. Try hotel Katajanokka – the old prison. Quite similar to the Malmaison in Oxford. Very nice and different.

    • Lady London says:

      I have also found same as you in sfo and sea – in crowded periods the Business side of the lounge can be more pleasant. Also found same in a few LH lounges such as LHR T2 and FRAm

    • southlondonphil says:

      Take the boat from the Old Market Square to the fortress and museums at Suomenlinna, which is aUNESCO World Heritage site on a series of linked islands in the bay. You’ll easily spend the best part of a day there though.

      Fun fact: Part of Suomenlinna is an open prison, and involvment in the maintenance and restoration of the site forms part of the prisoner rehabilitation programme.

      Fun fact #2: Authorities have had to beef up the security at the prison, but not for the reason you might think – apparently tourists keep wandering onto the prison grounds!

  • FlightDoctor says:

    I also used this lounge in the summer, flying with Finnair LHR-HEL-BKK and return. The LHR flights were operated by A330s (with flat bed business seats) and the BKK legs by A350s with their excellent business class product. The lounge WAS very busy but agree with all the comments in the article and it’s a step above the BA First Lounge at Heathrow.

    Next month I’m flying to LAX to and from HEL, the business fare with AY being way cheaper than BA or Virgin direct from LHR. However, I wasn’t able to combine it cheaply with LHR flights so have had to book two individual positioning flights to and from HEL, outbound with BA and return with Finnair. What are my chances of getting my bags checked through, or am I going to have to retrieve them both times at HEL and check back in? I’ve got a 3 hr layover each direction so not a deal breaker if not possible.

    • Lady London says:

      If BA treats flights to HEL connecting to other airlines the same as CPH then you will not be able to check your luggage througg. You will have to collect and re-check it.

      The decision BN of BA not to through check luggage anymore onto other One world airlines makes a mockery of why we are told Alliances are good for us. It’s a key reason why I am keeping an eye out for a different One world airline to build status with next time I bother.

  • Andrew says:

    I used the lounge last week when arriving on a flight from Asia and connecting to a Schengen flight, and the lounge agent just checked I knew that I had to pass to the other side of the airport for my flight and to allow time for it, but admitted me to the lounge without fuss.

  • TripRep says:

    Lurking in T5 at the mo.

    Miami lounge was pretty decent, v nice AA Flagship for BA CW pax.

    Food included lots of salads + Lobster and large tiger prawns, nice craft ales from various breweries in the US.

    Flight crew were good, thankfully food fine. Salmon, Haddock and a Chocolate desert.

    One Crew member did however start letting off Y in left aisle before CW had cleared, meaning pax in right aisle in CW had to wait far longer to disembark.

    • TripRep says:

      ps did my usual travel hack, one way 24hr rental from Orlando to Miami via Virgin/Alamo.

      Upgraded for a tenner to brand new 5L GT convertible Mustang.

      All fuel included in the total rental price (~£70) for the 220 mile journey on the Turnpike, used 3/4 of a tank.

      Engine sounded great. 😀

      • Lady London says:

        Gotta watch out for those US traffic cops though.

        A red Mustang was racing me in Florida. Yes I was being a bit naughty. We came over the hill and there was a traffic cop car with his radar. Two cars side by side, guess which one the cop went after. The red Mustang.

        I crept slowly away and never speeded in Florida again.

        • TripRep says:

          Aye cruise control keep me right for most of the time apart from few fun bursts for on ramp action & overtaking.

          Definitely a higher presence of Sherrifs & State Troopers compared to UK traffic police.

          • Shoestring says:

            there’s a definite silver lining to 10 years of austerity 😜

          • TripRep says:

            More speed cameras in UK though. Despite most people hating them the average speed cameras in Scotland have been great for reducing crashes and associated injuries/fatalities.

  • Russ says:

    Nice review Caroline thank you. I usually stay at the Hilton next door and trundle over at the last moment so miss the lounges but good to know what’s available. Interesting diversion giving gold status holders access but not those flying on a J ticket.

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