Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Review: Finnair’s Schengen business class airport lounge in Helsinki

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

This is our review of the Finnair Schengen lounge in Helsinki Airport.

Whilst Finnair operates three lounges in total at Helsinki Airport, only one caters to travellers in the Schengen visa-free zone. The other two are both on the non-Schengen side, predominantly for Finnair’s long haul network, although conveniently also accessible when heading to the UK.

I managed to take a quick look inside during a short connection to Tallinn on my recent Finnair press trip. On my flight back to the UK I was also able to check out Finnair’s Platinum Wing – see my review here – which is Finnair’s top lounge at Helsinki.

Finnair Schengen lounge

To be clear …. if you are flying from Helsinki to the UK, there is no need to use this lounge. There is a superior Business Class lounge in the non-Schengen area, next to the Platinum Wing, which is primarily used by long-haul travellers.

Where is the Finnair Schengen lounge?

The Schengen lounge is very easy to find. Just follow the signs to Gate 22 – it is just a couple of steps from security, which makes it a convenient stop-over on your way to any of the gates.

The lounge is on the upper floor, accessible via stairs or lift:

Finnair Schengen lounge entrance

I’m not sure when the Schengen lounge was last refurbished, but it has a slightly different design concept to the Platinum Wing and business class lounge, with far more glossy white finishes:

I thought the check-in podium was cool, with a large Finnair tail fin behind it. I thought it was a nice, well designed av-geek touch:

and

Finnair Schengen lounge

The lounge has an unusual shape and wraps around the terminal for quite a distance. Fortunately, there is a big map to help you orient yourself:

Finnair Schengen lounge map

There is a range of armchairs in the first section:

Finnair Schengen lounge seating

…plus some bubble chairs by Finnish designer Eero Aarnio:

Finnair Schengen lounge

Plugs are everywhere, including USB sockets.

On the corner of the lounge you’ll find the buffet. This was very basic, with sliced ham, cheese etc so that you could make your own sandwich. The only hot option was a sort of egg omelette:

Finnair Schengen lounge buffet

and

Finnair Schengen lounge buffet

Wines and beer are self-pour, plus there’s some French sparkling wine (not Champagne):

Finnair Schengen lounge wine

Around the corner you’ll find a more formal dining area:

Finnair Schengen lounge dining area

There is also a sort of corridor with a row of bar seats overlooking the concourse:

Finnair Schengen lounge bar seating

Beyond this is a series of rooms that get progressively quieter:

Finnair Schengen lounge

and

Finnair Schengen lounge seating

At the very end, which I doubt most people reach, is a ‘quiet’ room including two nap chairs:

The only other thing worth mentioning is a very cute little children’s drawing corner, with space for two overlooking the tarmac:

Finnair Schengen lounge kids corner

This is tucked away in the style of a den which I’m sure kids will love.

Conclusion

Whilst Finnair’s Schengen lounge is technically the most basic of Finnair’s three lounges, it still makes a good impression. The long and thin shape of the space means that there is plenty of natural light and views across the airport wherever you sit.

The only thing that cold be better is the food offering. Whilst I know Finnair are mostly catering towards short haul passengers, it would be nice to see more than just an omelette available when it comes to hot food.

If you are flying to the UK from Helsinki, there is no real value in stopping here. Head towards passport control into the non-Schengen area and use the newly renovated, superior, Business Class lounge there.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

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

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable 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 Air Lines and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

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

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four 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 four free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here.

Additional lounge visits are charged at £20.  You get four 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 (19)

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

  • The pedantic reader says:

    “Schengen visa-free zone”… do you mean the passport-free Schengen area? Some countries do require a Schengen visa to get in. But once you’re in, you need not show a passport to travel between member states. Just like in the UK, once you’ve cleared immigration, you don’t need a passport to travel between England and Scotland…

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      Nicola is trying to ‘fix’ the last sentence! But passport free zone or visa free zone would have worked fine in this context. Once you’re in Schengen you can go between the countries without showing a passport or visa. Depending on where you come from of course you may need a visa to get in but once in there’s no further checks. So saying passport free or visa free is equally right.

      Although it can be a little more complex. As I moved to Italy just before the Brexit rules kicked in the time limits a British citizen can spend in Schengen do not apply to me when in Italy but in theory they still apply to me in any other country. I’ve not idea how they count this though.

      • lumma says:

        I’m not even sure how they count the 90 day in 180 day limit for anyone unless you literally do it all on one trip, seeing as they often just seem to pick a page at random to stamp and the entry and exit can be at different ends of the passport

      • Bagoly says:

        I think there are sufficiently few of us Brits with WA rights, that they won’t be actively looking for such overstayers in a third country, and EES will not make any difference.
        So long as you are not working in a different EU country, and don’t want health-care, it is understandable that nobody will care.
        If you do want to work in a different EU country, you can do so for up to 12 months, by getting a “van der Elst” visa which requires being sent by an (in your case) Italian business (possibly one you happen to own…)

  • Tom says:

    I’m going Helsinki on business next week, remind me again does BA silver get you access to these lounges when flying economy with Finnair?

    • Rhys says:

      This one, yes. Not the Platinum Wing.

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      For business class lounges and oneworld it’s simple. If it’s branded a business class lounge then BA silver can get in. If an airline offers lounge access at an airport they will have a lounge that silvers can use.

      Finnair is I think unique in having a dedicated lounge for oneworld emeralds (BA Gold, AY Platinum, etc) when they don’t offer first class on any of their services.

      Some airlines go against the spirit of the rules and so brand their lounges differently. Qatar, for example, offers better lounges based on class of travel but then offers different lounges for frequent flyers in economy. BA at LHR and JFK has a ‘first class’ lounge Galleries First which accepts oneworld emerald but the real first class lounge is the Concorde Room.

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    “Plugs are everywhere, including USB sockets” 🤔

  • editingdeluxe says:

    “plus there’s some French sparkling wine (not Champagne)”
    – Bernard-Massard = Luxembourgish sparkling wine🇱🇺🥂, not French 🇫🇷🍾!😁
    It’s rare to see Lux wines outside the Grand Duchy, so kudos to Finnair for stocking this though.

  • Andrew says:

    You missed the very smart hot-desking pods, they have a desk, lamp, power sockets and a door so you can take calls and get work done without the noise of the lounge.

  • mvcvz says:

    Egg omelette. As opposed to a non-egg omelette?

    • riku says:

      Perhaps Rhys has never seen omelette made in a big tray rather than individual ones in frying pans?

  • Mike says:

    Your review is quite positive but as someone from Helsinki who uses the lounge , they have not done much to this lounge except offer less. They used to offer more and better food options and used the covid era to knock it off. They have crammed in more sitting because the lounge can be insanely busy during peak times. Finnair does it’s best to do as little as possible for it’s customers because they know they can get away with it. There is not other options.

    • Rob says:

      We can only judge how it is now. Perhaps not knowing how it was makes us more objective?

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.