While some carriers continue to dream up inventive ways to cram more into less, others are making major strides when it comes to comfort and design. Finnair recently introduced the roomy new Airbus 350 XWB into its fleet, becoming the first European airline to do so, and we went aboard to check it out.
The cabin width of the 350 XWB allows for plenty of wiggle room, with higher overhead bins and a generous seat pitch across all cabin classes.
Business Class is divided in two, separated by a galley and lovely bathrooms on either side. Angled rows are 1-2-1, providing privacy and aisle access for all.
Up front, overhead bins run along only the aisle, leaving the center of the cabin airy and wide open. And the overhead bins in second section of Business Class are so high from the seat tops that a little step is provided on the outside of each seat. Helpful when double-checking that you haven’t left anything behind.
Lie-flat seats, massage options, Bose noise-canceling headphones, and Marimekko designed amenities all make for a restful night’s sleep. That is, if you can tear away from the 16 inch seatback entertainment system. The forward facing cam gives passenger’s a pilot’s view, all with remarkably crisp picture quality. I spent both takeoff and landing toggling between views.
Screens are a smidgen smaller in Economy at 11 inches, though every bit as sharp.
Economy seats are in a 3-3-3 configuration, staggered ever so slightly, with the first four rows designated for Economy Comfort.
High-speed wireless is available throughout the cabin, something relatively new for international flights. Just be sure to charge your devices prior to boarding if seated in Economy, as power outlets are located only in Business. Wi-Fi access is, of course, free for Business passengers, and available for purchase (per hour or the entirety of the flight) for those in Economy.
And forget being rudely jolted awake by bad lighting during beverage service. The 350 is equipped with a 24-setting LED light system to gradually take you from sunrise glow to northern lights and back again.
A new air filtration network recirculates air every 2-3 minutes, saving you from suffering through the usual stale dry cabin air.
Adding to the airy open otherness of the 350 is the abnormally large windows and near complete lack of noise. Even seated directly parallel to the enormous engine, I only detected a faint hum.
Look for 350 service between JFK and Helsinki to begin in early 2016.
Visit our Helsinki (HEL) fare listings for a look at current deals from all over the US and Canada.