Asia with BA/AY combo

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Old Mar 7, 19, 11:15 pm
  #1  
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Asia with BA/AY combo

Just on board a gorgeous A350 flying HEL-LHR at the end of a trip in J routing ARN-HEL-HKG-HEL-LHR. Funnily enough the final leg on this ticket was sold on the BA code. Ticket came to the princely sum of 1750. First time I have tried AY long haul - I normally fly BA/CX/QR. Fab experience.

The pros are multifold and generally overcome all the things I dislike about the other options: BA, ageing J product, CX, price, QR having to wander about Hamad airport in the middle of the night having been rudely woken from my deep sleep phase

The AY options with AY or BA flights between LHR & HEL have the advantage of c. 9-10hr long haul sectors in an excellent J seat. Many of these flights occur during hours which correspond with normal sleeping hours: leaving HEL around midnight and leaving Asian destinations often late at night. The 9-10hr length means a full night of uninterrupted sleep. The seat is pretty much the same as QR have on their 350 / 787 aircraft. Food is excellent and to top it off, the TP earning potential for those who worry about such things is far higher.

So I left HKG last night just after midnight. Slept a solid 8 hours. Had a stop in Helsinki long enough for an invigorating shower and will arrive bright eyed and bushy tailed at LHR at 09.10...which I must say, I prefer to the 04.50 arrival that normally comes with the non stop option. All in all, when travelling to Asia, with pricing being normally 30-50% less than the corresponding non stop options...I will be making this my default Asia option going forward!
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Old Mar 7, 19, 11:45 pm
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HEL is my favourite HKG-Europe transfer, if I'm not flying direct. To add to your points, transit in HEL is very straightforward and efficient.

The biggest issue (for HKG) is the too-high probability of the flight being delayed overnight. The length and timing of the sectors seems to means that they are the first to be disrupted in the event of any technical issues. Some discussion here - Delay problems of AY69 / AY99 HEL-HKG

Most recently it looks like there was a 7 hour delay on 28 Feb.
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Old Mar 8, 19, 3:24 am
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My experiences are the same as those in the previous two posts, For HEL being the most efficient airport in general, but for managing an Int/Int connection time of 35 min, still being able to get a checked bag on board, me and many other travelers are solidly impressed.

Interestingly, as BA is reducing their two-daily rotation LHR-HEL, with A320s to only one. AY, however, is increasing their capacity not only by adding another daily A320 flight, thus having six daily rotations, but also upgrading the A321 AY1337 to a wide-body A330, with 50 more available seats in total, and of importance for those of us not traveling in the back of the bus, lie-flat proper business seats in the business cabin.

During the summer season, AY has seven daily rotations on the LHR route, thus increasing passenger capacity with 21% compared to 2018
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Old Mar 8, 19, 3:53 am
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I did LHR-HEL-PVG earlier this year and am doing LHR-HEL-ICN in a couple of weeks. I was really impressed by AY's service, the 350 was great and, as you point out, both the hard and the soft product were also superb, as was the price which was incredible. The only negative for me was the fact that the lounge renovations were ongoing when I was there before and so the business lounge at HEL was packed, when I go to ICN in a few weeks I believe the Platinum lounge will be open (although not fully) and so hopefully things will be a bit better on this front, in general (based on a data-point of 2) HEL seems like a great airport for connections.
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Old Mar 8, 19, 4:09 am
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Interesting. I am doing AGP-HEL-DEL next week. It will be my first AY and my first A330 (HEL-DEL). Really looking forward to it.
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Old Mar 8, 19, 4:20 am
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My only (minor) problem with the AY J seat on the A350 is that I find the 'foot coffin' a bit restrictive, but that aside, AY and HEL is pretty solid across the board. I have a MAN-HEL-SIN-HKG-HEL-MAN trip booked for later in the year with the SIN-HKG on Cathay's 777-300ER (first time on CX so looking forward to that). Hoping the lounge issue in HEL is sorted by September as we have a long layover (might head into Helsinki anyway, not sure).
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Old Mar 8, 19, 4:29 am
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Originally Posted by LBA_flyer View Post
My only (minor) problem with the AY J seat on the A350 is that I find the 'foot coffin' a bit restrictive
This tends to be the case for reverse herringbone seats on A330/A350/787 as the cabin is narrower than the 777
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Old Mar 8, 19, 6:44 am
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Originally Posted by brentford77 View Post
Many of these flights occur during hours which correspond with normal sleeping hours: leaving HEL around midnight and leaving Asian destinations often late at night. The 9-10hr length means a full night of uninterrupted sleep.
Midnight in HEL is around the time I would be getting up in HKG, so going to sleep for 8 hours isn't really want I want to do in the Asia-bound direction. Though AY does have an earlier flight departing 1700 arriving 0800 that suits me better. However, if you wish to wake up at 4pm HKG time, fair enough.

So I left HKG last night just after midnight. Slept a solid 8 hours. Had a stop in Helsinki long enough for an invigorating shower and will arrive bright eyed and bushy tailed at LHR at 09.10...which I must say, I prefer to the 04.50 arrival that normally comes with the non stop option.
Now this I don't really understand, because you arrive into HEL at 0330 UK time, but you still have another 5 hours to go before you get home?? 0500 arrival in the UK means you can get home before morning rush hour... and if for some reason you want to wait until 0900 to leave LHR, you can have your shower after arriving instead?
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