Go Back   FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > Finnair | Finnair Plus
Sign in using an external account

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Mar 1, 12, 11:40 am   #1
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: HEL
Programs: AA PLT, AY, BA, SK, DL + hotels
Posts: 468
Comfort Class on charters (A330 J-class)

This is a description of the Comfort Class (CC) service that AY offers on their A330-operated charter flights.

The A330 is a longhaul plane for scheduled flights. This season, AY operates charter flights to Las Palmas, Phuket and Krabi with A330 equipment. On these routes, AY uses only OH-LTS and OH-LTT, which have 32 lie-flat business class seats. These seats are sold as Comfort Class on the charters.

The lie-flat seats are better for sleeping but I find the older angled lie-flat seats better for lounging, reading etc. Moreover, on these two planes there is a big difference in personal space; 2A, 4A and 6A offer a huge amount of personal space for a solo traveller whereas eg 1D, 3D, 5D, 7D offer far less.

I flew AY to LPA last week. There was a €75 surcharge for CC on way (€150 return). This is how it worked:

HEL-LPA:

At HEL, there is nowadays OLCI for charters. Checked in online. There was no choice of seats, you had to take what the system offered you. I got 7L, which was okay. I don't know if I could have changed the seat by going to a check-in desk or calling the e-services desk.

At the airport, there were no dedicated CC desks. Priority luggage tags were put on luggage. I only had hand luggage on the outbound, so I didn’t go to the desk. The AA PLT card gives you access to the AY lounge at HEL even if flying on a charter flight, so I went to the lounge to wait for the flight.

The plane had flown in from BKK and was a little delayed. At gate 31X, the only one that they can use for both schengen and non-schengen flights, boarding was by seat numbers. CC was boarded first. No problem with the hand luggage even if it exceeded the 5 kg limit with quite a few kilos.

No pre-departure drinks on board. FAs placed passengers’ jackets and coats in a closet. The pillows and blankets were the lime green small ones used on charter flights (similar to Y blankets & pillows).

Meal service began about one hour after take-off with hot towels. From the drink trolley, you could choose soft drinks, beer and wine free of charge. Other drinks were charged. Paper and plastic cups. (On charter fligts in Y, they charge for all drinks, including water.) After the drinks, the meal service began.

Even if the flight departed 8:20 am, the meal was lunch, not breakfast. Very much appreciated. Everything was offered at the same time on a large tray, real china, Ultima Thule glasses and stainless steel cutlery. Quality resembled a good European J meal: cold-smoked salmon for starters, pork medallions in choron sauce with garlic potatoes for main course and a cake for dessert. Non-heated bread rolls were offered, too. Quite a good meal, actually, and far better than I had expected.

Stand arrival at LPA about 15 min behind scheduled arrival time. CC didn’t get to deplane first, they let passengers off the plane at LPA regardless of class. The priority tagged luggage arrived on the belt among the first bags.

LPA-HEL:

No possibility to check in online. Dedicated CC desk at the airport. We were a party of three on two different reservations. We made a point in arriving at check-in relatively late to avoid the bussed-in charter crowds, and at 1 hour 15 min before take-off we got the three last seats, all in different rows. Obviously, they hadn’t preselected seats for anyone. Not very nice. I got 1D which has to be one of the worst J seats on the plane. No priority tags on luggage.

Departure was from a stand so we were bussed to the aircraft. No preboarding/bussing for CC.

Inflight service similar to the outbound flight. The catering came from HEL; modified mini-size toast skagen for starters, chicken breast with risotto for main course (one of the tastiest airplane chickens I’ve ever had, didn’t resemble rubber at all!) and cake for dessert.

The only minus was the arrival at HEL. We arived about 10 min before scheduled arrival time and it seemed that no one was there to meet the plane. The arrival gate was 36 (31X was occupied by an Air Finland plane) and when the ground crew arrived, there was a lot of confusion about how to let us out of the plane. The purser had informed us before arrival that baggage claim would exceptionally be from hall 2B (non-schengen). This was then changed to 2A (schengen) and then back again to 2B. Finally, after a 25 min wait on board, they decided to let everyone deplane not by jetbridge but by stairs at the very back of the plane. This meant that CC deplaned last. We were then bussed to the non-schengen arrivals hall 2B, where the bags arrived after a relatively short wait. However, the plane landed 21:56 and we exited the terminal 22:50, which isn’t very efficient considering that HEL is a small airport.

All in all, I would say that CC is very good value for money. For only €75 on a six-hour flight you get a comfortable seat with a large amount of personal space and legroom compared to Y and especially to the cramped charter 757 that AY uses, plus a very nice meal and you get to bypass some of the lines. For this price, I would recommend CC strongly. It is a real pity that LPA will be a 757-destination again next winter.
ffay005 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 1, 12, 12:25 pm   #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Switzerland
Programs: BA Gold, LH Sen, SPG Plat
Posts: 626
Wow, €75 for turning six hours of pain into a real pleasure. On scheduled flights the same would be more like €750.

Is CC to Phuket and Krabi equally ridiculously inexpensive?
timol is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 1, 12, 1:01 pm   #3
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: HEL
Programs: BA Gold, AY Gold, TK Gold, Club Carlson Gold
Posts: 2,529
Without taking anything away from the charter pax but my personal opinion is that this is total and utter waste of quality equipment...at the same time paying J pax are flying for example with ex-AF A340..

Just my 2 cents.
NoWindowSeat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 1, 12, 2:17 pm   #4
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 342
Quote:
Originally Posted by timol View Post
Wow, €75 for turning six hours of pain into a real pleasure. On scheduled flights the same would be more like €750.

Is CC to Phuket and Krabi equally ridiculously inexpensive?
It's EUR 200 extra one way to/from the long haul destinations. This winter Hifly 332 has been operating their charters from HEL to Cancun, Colombo, Langkawi and from OUL to Phuket. CC is available also there with the same price but the product is much more charter-like.

I've flown once in CC to Las Palmas, no free CC seats available on LPA-HEL.
Their CC with fully flat seats on the newest A333 must be the best charter product ever seen in LPA... Flying back in Economy wasn't anything painful actually, good legroom, AVOD, ok meal.

Is the new Almost@Home lounge available for the CC passengers? I saw the Aurinkomatkat logo there.
Andaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 1, 12, 4:01 pm   #5
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 110
But are AY leisure flights now available online?
Last time I checked you either had to call to book, or contact a finnish tour agent...
JoWa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 1, 12, 4:47 pm   #6
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: CPH (MMX)
Programs: AY+ Platinum, A3*G, QR Silver
Posts: 2,721
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoWindowSeat View Post
Without taking anything away from the charter pax but my personal opinion is that this is total and utter waste of quality equipment...at the same time paying J pax are flying for example with ex-AF A340..

Just my 2 cents.
Agreeing with that. On an asian route, they easily charge 750 extra for that seat, and they choose to use it on a route that pays them 75...
Wow.

On the bright side, very nice ride for the common Finn, going for vacation! Even getting pre-dinner drinks! The c-pax to HKG on a 3000 eur tix don't get that.

Anyway, thanks OP for a nice write-up! Interesting to read, it is a part of AY operations I haven't experienced!
__________________
openflights
intuition is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 1, 12, 11:47 pm   #7
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Programs: AY Plat, OW Emerald, AX Plat, Carlson Gold Elite
Posts: 91
Excellent review. The price for Comfort Class next season 2012-2013 to e.g. Phuket will be 250 EUR per person per flight direction.
Benzin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 1, 12, 11:59 pm   #8
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: HEL
Programs: BA Gold, AY Gold, TK Gold, Club Carlson Gold
Posts: 2,529
Quote:
Originally Posted by intuition View Post
Even getting pre-dinner drinks! The c-pax to HKG on a 3000 eur tix don't get that.
Totally agree, that's really annoying and not up to par in long haul J..the late night dinner service is anyway so slow that it wouldn't change anything.

Also, pax who want to get to sleep immediately can always dine in the lounge and just go flat/horizontal on top of ascent (as they do anyway..)
NoWindowSeat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 2, 12, 3:47 am   #9
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Programs: SK Eurobonus Silver, DL, AA, AY, US
Posts: 596
Quote:
Originally Posted by intuition View Post
Agreeing with that. On an asian route, they easily charge 750 extra for that seat, and they choose to use it on a route that pays them 75...
Wow.
...and that is why they choose to use the birds with the least C seats (and most Y seats and most seats overall) on the charter flights.

Also NOT flying to LPA would be waste of quality equipment, as there is not much else that they can do with the BKK night plane during the day that it is free... well I suppose they could do a scheduled SH run but probably not enough demand for a widebody there.
mkgrip is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 2, 12, 4:26 am   #10
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: HEL
Programs: BA Gold, AY Gold, TK Gold, Club Carlson Gold
Posts: 2,529
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkgrip View Post
there is not much else that they can do with the BKK night plane during the day that it is free...
Most likely the reason why midnight departure to BKK will not be there in the future..afternoon/early evening departures only..
NoWindowSeat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 2, 12, 5:44 am   #11
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkgrip View Post
...and that is why they choose to use the birds with the least C seats (and most Y seats and most seats overall) on the charter flights.

Also NOT flying to LPA would be waste of quality equipment, as there is not much else that they can do with the BKK night plane during the day that it is free... well I suppose they could do a scheduled SH run but probably not enough demand for a widebody there.
Quality equipment.. hmmm, with this kind of use there is soon not much left of the quality.
On my last 3 trips with these birds I´ve experienced this:

- Armrest would not stay up.
- Seat wouldn´t go down all the way.
- Glitches in both head phone connection and power socket and reading light.
- Control lamp for seat being upright for take off didn´t work.
- When I pushed button to deploy table, horizontal panel to side consol came
loose completely, giving me full view over fellow passangers feet.

You can also see quite a lot of wear and tear, misfitting panels etc.
And this is on planes that are less than two years old. I can hardly think that would´ve been the case if not used for leisure flights.
JoWa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 2, 12, 6:17 am   #12
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: HEL
Programs: AA PLT, AY, BA, SK, DL + hotels
Posts: 468
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoWindowSeat View Post
Without taking anything away from the charter pax but my personal opinion is that this is total and utter waste of quality equipment...at the same time paying J pax are flying for example with ex-AF A340..
I agree with you, it is rather ridiculous that the flagship product is used on charters... OTOH, these planes have more seats than any other planes in the AY fleet, which is probably the reason. The current CC product has to be the best charter product in the whole world.

Whereas the cramped 757s are plain torture and just about bearable on a six-hour flight to LPA once a year, I would never consider taking a long-haul flight on board those birds. But a CC with, say, 1990s style J-seats on the 757 would work out quite nicely, especially considering the price. Forget the entertainment, forget the food but just put in some decent seats and charge €250 one way to Phuket.
ffay005 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 2, 12, 7:45 am   #13
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: CPH (MMX)
Programs: AY+ Platinum, A3*G, QR Silver
Posts: 2,721
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkgrip View Post
...and that is why they choose to use the birds with the least C seats (and most Y seats and most seats overall) on the charter flights.

Also NOT flying to LPA would be waste of quality equipment, as there is not much else that they can do with the BKK night plane during the day that it is free... well I suppose they could do a scheduled SH run but probably not enough demand for a widebody there.
Yes, that is true and sensible use of the spare 330 capacity, taking into account that they already decided to use them on BKK route.
(And don't get me wrong, I love that they offer this service for leisure. If I was HEL based I'd go to LPA every weekend of the winter

But it is not like they couldn't sell these seats on the HKG and the NRT route. If the main business idea is to be the asian link, then it is strange to prioritise the leisure destinations (in wich I include BKK) with the newest birds. As the amateur I am, I am thinking they should put the 330's on japan and china routes, and lease capacity for leisure.
__________________
openflights
intuition is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 2, 12, 9:34 am   #14
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Programs: SK Eurobonus Silver, DL, AA, AY, US
Posts: 596
Quote:
Originally Posted by intuition View Post
But it is not like they couldn't sell these seats on the HKG and the NRT route. If the main business idea is to be the asian link, then it is strange to prioritise the leisure destinations (in wich I include BKK) with the newest birds. As the amateur I am, I am thinking they should put the 330's on japan and china routes, and lease capacity for leisure.
The thing is LTS and LTT are not good for high J demand routes, why would they only sell 32 J seats if they can sell 42 or 45.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ffay005 View Post
But a CC with, say, 1990s style J-seats on the 757 would work out quite nicely, especially considering the price. Forget the entertainment, forget the food but just put in some decent seats and charge €250 one way to Phuket.
Would that 250€ be enough to cover the costs of extra space (less pax can be taken)? The thing with A330s is totally different, the good seats are not there because of the charters but despite of them. If the could easily, quickly and cheaply change them into Y seats just for the charter and then change them back for the next scheduled service, I'm sure they would, but as they can't they just take what ever money they can get from the "comfort seats".
mkgrip is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 3, 12, 3:42 am   #15
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Asia/Europe
Programs: CX, OZ, MU (+AY, DL), Shangri-La, Hilton
Posts: 5,920
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkgrip View Post
Also NOT flying to LPA would be waste of quality equipment, as there is not much else that they can do with the BKK night plane during the day that it is free... well I suppose they could do a scheduled SH run but probably not enough demand for a widebody there.
How about putting one of the widebodies on a pre-noon HEL - LHR rotation, with the feeder back landing just in time for the "Asian Wave"? Could be pretty popular with the City crowd (that also includes quite a few FT'ers)

Or then having a (Flybe?) Embraer doing HEL - BMA - LCY and back with about the same schedule?
mosburger is offline   Reply With Quote
 
 
Reply

Bookmarks


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 4:10 pm.