Oh man, I am already counting the days till I will be leaving for Finland. Since I am so excited to make my dream come true, I was able to get an interview with the lovely Arja Suominen, SVP, Corporate Communications and Corporate Responsibility Finnair.
Finnair is the first European airline to receive the new Airbus A350 XWB (Extra Wide Body) aircraft, which will substantially raise the bar for passenger comfort and environmental performance. What can you tell us about its technology, comfort and service?
With the new Finnair A350, we want to offer the best of Nordic hospitality. When passengers aboard the plane, they are greeted by our new lighting system: the sight of clouds drifting across a blue sky throughout the cabin. The award-winning cabin – created by the award-winning Finnish design firm dSign Vertti Kivi & Co – with its white, blue and silver/grey colours – has a fresh Nordic style: light and spacious. The dynamic ambient mood LED lighting gradually changes to suit the time of day, destination or season to ease customers into a relaxing flight experience in a calming and fresh atmosphere.
The environmental performance of the A350 is amazing: The weight, engines and design of the A350 make it 25 percent more fuel efficient than its predecessors – and better fuel efficiency translates directly to lower carbon dioxide emissions.
In addition, the cabin is very quiet thanks to new Rolls Royse engines that create less noise. The fresh cabin air is also a major benefit appreciated by the long haul travellers.
What makes the new A350 so special in comparison to others?
The whole feeling of the aircraft when you enter it is spacious and modern:
The extra wide body of the A350 offers more space and wider seats for greater passenger comfort. Passengers will benefit from noticeably cleaner and fresher cabin air thanks to the advanced air filtering system which changes the cabin air every 2-3 minutes. In addition, passengers will also enjoy a quieter flight than on previous aircraft. New engines, created by Rolls Royce exclusively for Airbus, reduce noise both inside and outside the airplane, making it easier to rest on board.
What are the flight routes for your new A350?
Since November the new A350 is flying the Helsinki-Shanghai route. At the moment the A350 is flying to Shanghai, Beijing and Bangkok, and later to Hong Kong and Singapore, and there will be more routes once we get more A350 aircrafts – we have ordered 19 in total.
What can passengers expect when flying with Finnair?
Finnair’s vision is to offer its customers a unique Nordic experience. Our aim has been to consider every little detail, from the personalised service by our cabin crew to the details of the cabin design. The Nordic Sky entertainment system and Wi-Fi keeps passenger connected and entertained during their journey. We want customers to experience Nordic hospitality at its best.
We are very proud on our A350 signature menus: Kari Aihinen, Executive Chef de Cuisine of the renowned Savoy Restaurant in Helsinki, has designed the menu which features Finnish delicacies such as vendace roe mousse, warm smoked arctic char and wild reindeer. Economy class has new and improved meals, and an aperitif service with savoury snacks has been added to the first meal.
Do you offer any special service on ground?
Finnair lounges reflect the same Nordic style as our aircraft. They have been awarded many times in different occasions. For a traveler they offer peace to work as well as food and beverages.
Finnair has mapped the whole customer journey and has thought through how to serve customers during the different phases of the trip. Our aim to make the journey as smooth as possible.
Will passengers experience Finnish traditions when flying with Finnair?
Our A350 signature drink, Blue Sky, is a mix of French champagne and Finnish blueberry liquor. The beverage pays homage to the pure Finnish nature and to Toulouse in France, which is the home of Airbus where the A350 was made. And the tableware and all textiles are specifically designed by the iconic Finnish design house Marimekko for Finnair add a distinct and light Nordic touch to the cabin. And the lightning system naturally offers the Northern light experience to our passengers.
If you had to describe your brand with three adjectives – what would they be?
Friendly, Nordic, Fresh (editor’s note: can I just say that I am already in love with the brand?! <3)
Your flight attendants always look flawless, one prettier than the other. Any Finnish beauty secrets you would want to share with us?
Thank you for the complement! Some people say that when are more or less frozen for half of the year your skin stays young forever. – Jokes aside, it is important to take care of moistening your skin regularly if you fly a lot. Otherwise I think we all want to be on our best when in front of our customers.
What are your five favorite destinations in Finland?
Helsinki, Ivalo, Kuopio, Turku, Kuusamo are some of my favorite destinations in Finland. They offer a lot to see in different seasons. I love Finland because of its four seasons and because of the variety of its nature.
I am planning a 10-day-trip to Finland over my birthday in the end of March. Which region would you recommend in the North? I would recommend that you fly to Rovaniemi and then visit different places close to the city. You might even want to visit Santa Claus village and make a wish for next Xmas.
On your blog I read a neat story on chasing the Northern lights. What is the best region in Finland to see them and the nearest airport you fly to?
Enontekiö boasts the chance of seeing the Northern Lights on every 3 out of four nights during winter. Furthermore Enontekiö has around 300 km of skiing trails and guarantees the longest skiing season in Finland. Finnair will operate a new weekly route to Enontekiö in Finland during winter 2016 to take snow sports fans to Lapland. You might also pick Ivalo or Kuusamo.
And you don´t have to wait until you experience the northern lights in nature:
The lighting of our new A350 can create 24 different scenarios – including the Northern Lights – from a choice of over 16 million different colours. The cabin’s large panoramic view windows allow more natural light into the cabin.
And last but not least, give me five reasons, why passengers should choose Finnair as their preferred airline.
- Finnair is a pioneer in sustainable flying. We are an eco-smart airline.
- Finnair has also won the World Airline Award for Best Airline Northern Europe for the past six years in a row. That proofs, that Finnair is a high-quality airline.
- Finnair flies the shortcut between Asia and Europe: Our route is geographically the shortest way between Asia and Europe. In addition to short flies also the transfer times are short.
- Finnair is almost always on time – we are one of the most punctual airlines in the world.
- Finnair is a part of the world’s leading alliance oneworld: Finnair customers are also eligible for oneworld benefits.
Alright, I have to admit that I am totally in love with Finnair and I cannot wait for my first flight experience. I just got immediately hooked by their friendly, welcoming Nordic nature and somehow they always manage to put a smile on my face when reading the latest stories on their blog. I will definitely keep you posted and will share my experiene with them.
photo credentials: Finnair