Flight test: Finnair economy class
Like new ... Finnair economy class.
Route Singapore to Helsinki.
Aircraft Finnair Airbus A340.
Class Economy, seat 42C.
Flight time 12 hours, 30 minutes.
Seat configuration 2-4-2. There are no B seats in this cabin configuration; A is window; C is aisle, with a similar set-up on the other side of the plane.
Seat pitch and width Seats have a snug 78-centimetre (30 inch) pitch and a 43cm (17 inch) width.
Luggage One checked bag to 23 kilograms; one carry bag to 8kg.
On-time performance Fifteen minutes late departing Singapore; 15 minutes early arriving in Helsinki.
Aircraft condition Sparkling clean and almost new, with royal blue and lime-green finishes. Online reviews I've seen include complaints about one Finnair aircraft flying the Singapore-Helsinki route that was old and had no working entertainment systems or reading lights. Not this craft, however.
Comfort Seats have adjustable headrests and are sufficiently supporting but a little on the hard side. Each seat has a cushion and blanket but no comfort kits (eyeshade, earplugs, socks) were distributed for this overnight flight.
Entertainment Each seat has a quality, adjustable screen, plus USB and electrical outlet. There are 40 film choices, mostly blockbusters, and 65 TV shows, including Downton Abbey and Suits. All available in eight languages.
Service My seat allocation was changed four times before boarding and it took 45 minutes to check-in for the return flight because staff couldn't locate the right booking codes. On board, the cabin crew were efficient and capable, quick to respond to requests and replenish drinks, although it would be nice to see someone smile. Staff do a hard sell on in-flight duty-free shopping, with constant announcements being broadcast. However, alcohol prices at Singapore's Changi Airport are cheaper.
Food and beverage The Thai-style chicken curry with rice served after takeoff was tasty. The dry, plastic-wrapped bread roll, sponge cake and instant coffee could benefit from some attention, as could the omelet and soggy french fries served for breakfast before landing. The only alcoholic beverages available in economy class for this flight were beer and wine — a little stingy for a full-fare carrier.
Flight frequency Daily from March to October; five times a week between October and January. From Australia, Finnair has a fare to Helsinki for about $1670 low-season return from Sydney and Melbourne, including taxes. Fly to Singapore, then to Helsinki.
Tested by Leisa Tyler, who flew courtesy of Finnair.