Review of AY from an outsider.

Old Jan 22, 18, 7:30 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: HKG/AMM/LED/LHR
Programs: RJ Emerald
Posts: 2,096
Review of AY from an outsider.

Good afternoon,

I thought I'd share my opinion on AY, after my first trip with them from LED to HKG.

Moderators: I opened this thread here, as it is a purely an AY thread, but I appreciate it may appear more like a trip report, so feel free to move it to the appropriate section if you feel it belongs there. Thanks!

1) Finnair in LED.

Check in opened 2 hours before departure, which was strange, given that it normally opens 3 hours ahead for the international flights. Can't blame them though, as it was only an ATR-72.

3 counters were open, including one for Priority check-in, which was certainly helpful because I think the whole flight lined up for check in 2 hours prior to departure.

A small suggestion for any AY gurus checking in bags in LED: don't head to security straight away, give it a couple of minutes as they won't let you thru until your hold baggage was screened (this information is shown on the agent's screen).

The LED lounge is nothing to write home about, but it does let you avoid buying the overpriced coffee and water from the airport outlets... it is also quite pleasant when empty (as it was before my AY flight). I'd suggest reserving about 10 minutes to get to the gates, as the lounge is on the opposite side from the AY (bus) gates.

The AY (female Russian) rep. was very friendly and ordered the second bus, so that the pax in the first one doesn't have to stay in the cold.

On the way back, they put us all on one bus (only 42 pax) and my priority tagged baggage came one of the last.

Verdict: [email protected] 10/10

2)Transit in HEL:

Very smooth. There were about 10 transit security lanes (although no priority lane) and it took me under 15 minutes from the aircraft door to the smoking area next to the AY lounge.

HEL is probably one of the best airports I have ever transitted at and this certainly gives AY a lot of competitive advantage.... certainly much more than LHR gives to BA or FRA to LH.

Verdict: Transit @hel- 10/10

3) AY service in HEL (excluding the lounge):

Asked if the seat next to me is open on the HKG flight and the gate agent was very happy to double check. I also like how they organise the priority boarding (priority pax end up in a separate holding pen after the BP scanner).

On the way back, there was a pax who did not want to gate check his bag and the GA was very well tempered, polite and patient in explaining that the bag is too big for the ATR-72.

Verdict: [email protected] 10/10

4)AY in HKG

AY in HKG is handled by JASL, the same handling agent that handles RJ, so I know some of the staff there, including a few of those who were handling my AY flight on that day.

I can't comment on how well was the check-in organised because I used the in-town check-in at Kowloon station. I am not sure if it was me knowing the check-in agent, or if it was AY's seat block or pure luck, but I did get 25C with 25A/25B empty. Whatever it was, it certainly helped to make the flight more comfortable.

AY has recently moved to HKG's new midfield concourse (which involves taking a train to get there) and Finnair, therefore, changed the lounge from Plaza Premium to HX (Hong Kong Airlines). It was my first time in the HX lounge, but I was seriously impressed. The service was very attentive and the lounge was spotless and empty (I think there are no flights apart from HX to BKK and AY after midnight). I did not check out the meal options, as I already had a dinner in The Pier F class, but the menu looked quite decent.

I think AY pax (along with S7 pax) get the best range of lounges available to them: 5x CX J+ 2x CX F+ HX. I would suggest AY Platinums get some dinner at The Pier/ The Wing F class and get the train and spend some time at the HX lounge. As for the J cl pax and AY Golds, I'd recommend heading straight to HX.

Boarding was organised extremely well, with 5-6 groups, including 2 groups for Priority Boarding, so again no complaints here.

Verdict: [email protected]/10

5)AY lounge in HEL:

The design and the ambience of the lounge were superb, but the catering options were less attractive. I ordered a salmon fillet for dinner and an omelette for breakfast on the return, both of which were decent..... but there was not much else to eat. Okay, there was a Caesar salad during the dinner time and cold cuts during breakfast +deserts, but even the BA Galleries Clubs have more options. I also found the approach to ordering drinks a little bit strange. Normally you would either have a self-service bar, or a manned bar, where you can actually sit down, or at least a waiter coming to your seat every now and then to take drinks orders.... but the AY approach fit none of those models.

I can also see how this lounge can be overcrowded (perhaps the AY gurus can clarify/ correct me here). It was quiet when I arrived from LED at 2 pm but started to really fill up towards 5 pm.... and on the way back: it was full at 6 am, but emptied out after the LHR fight departed.

The lounge staff were pleasant, but I cant say they were too warm.

PS: Is Espresso Martini not popular in Finland? because none of the hosts knew about it, so one time I actually got a cup of espresso and martini and the other times, I had to go with Baileys+ Vodka mixes.

It's hard to rank this lounge, because, on one hand, it is essentially a Business Class lounge (as AY does not operate the F cabin), in which case, I'd give it an 8/10, but on the other hand, it is designated for Emeralds and AY Golds, (so the regular J lounge is worse?!)... and as far as an Emerald lounge goes, I'd give it a 5/10.

Verdict: [email protected] HEL lounge: 6/10



6) LED>HEL>LED on Norra:

The ATR-72 was really cramped. I got 2A on the way out and 19A (last row) on the inbound and I don't know which one is worse. Luckily 19B was open on the way back, so it was not too bad, but I would not want to spend more than 50 minutes on this plane. I also did not find the plane to be too clean.

I am still not sure if the LED flights have alcohol served. According to the AY gurus from another thread and the AY website, the flights to/from LED only have the complimentary soft drinks, but the announcement on the outbound did mention that "if you are hungry, please check out the Sky Bistro menu"(+ there was a one page menu in the seat pocket), there were some crisps on the trolley and the FA did have a mobile POS on her side. I did not see anyone buying anything, so I decided to just go for a coffee and the AY signature Blueberry juice.

The FAs on both flights were friendly and efficient, nothing more, nothing less.

Verdict: LED>HEL>LED- 7/10

7)HEL>HKG on AY:

Both flights were operated by all HK crew. I can understand that Finns may find it quite strange to fly FINNAIR and not find any Finnish crew onboard, but I found the crew extremely good.

I got 25C on both sectors and 25A/25B were open too, so this helped. Considering the fact that I got seats in the Y Comfort cabin free of charge as an Emerald, it'a total Bingo.

The FA came with the manifest and collected the noise cancelling headphones and headrest "tissues" from the vacant Y Comfort seats and handed out the amenity kit. I later found out that I got a Business Class version of the amenity kit on the outbond. I also liked how the crew placed a bottle of water on every seat in Economy.

On the way out, I got greeted by the SCCM, who offered a welcome drink (I asked for a Baileys and got it in a proper glass). He also came after breakfast to check if I was okay and we had a little chat. The rest of the crew were also very friendly and kept their smile on for the whole flight.

As the free wifi is reserved for AY Platinums and those who PAY for the Y Comfort/ J seats, I paid 19EUR for the connectivity for the whole flight. The wifi was almost unusable, slow and disconnected completely for about 2 hours, so I was in no hurry to pay for it on the inbound.

HKG>HEL on AY:

The service procedure was a bit different. The pax were greeted with " Wellcome on board, here is a bottle of water [Watsons (HKers will understand me)] for you", which for some reason sounded so warm and genuine. Instead of placing amenity kits and headphones before boarding, they were handed to the pax after boarding.

The meals on both sectors were very decent, perhaps some of the best I have ever had in Y recently.

The crew were as nice as their colleagues from the outbond, but the Head FA of the Y cabin, who greeted me was simply amazing. He offered some champagne before take off and I obviously asked for Baileys again and he asked if I would like to try Amarula (apparently it was his personal favourite, as he explained to me all about it). We were delayed for about an hour on the tarmac due to the Mainland ATC restrictions and he came back and said: "we will be here for some time, so perhaps you would like another drink". Amazingly, he came again when he saw I woke up and got two more mini bottles and a wifi code for one hour.

Got each set of the crew a compliment via filling the comment card.

Verdict: HEL>HKG 10+2 for Y Comfort seat- 1 for the wifi=11/10
HKG>HEL 10+2 for Y Comfort seat =12/10

My approach to calculation may be strange, but I think an upgrade to the Y Comfort Cabin should come on top of normal grading.

Total:95%

I certainly enjoyed the AY experience, excellent crew, excellent aircraft and catering, excellent lounge selection in HKG and excellent Emerald recognition (only CX comes close to it). The flight on Norra's ATR-72 was not as good, but played a very small role in the overall picture and the HEL lounge, while not my favourite does its job for the 2-3 hours layovers.

Thanks for reading and special thanks to AY gurus for answering my question on the other thread.
Rami Tamimi is offline  
Old Jan 22, 18, 7:30 am
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: HKG/AMM/LED/LHR
Programs: RJ Emerald
Posts: 2,096















Last edited by Rami Tamimi; Jan 22, 18 at 7:47 am
Rami Tamimi is offline  
Old Jan 22, 18, 7:31 am
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: HKG/AMM/LED/LHR
Programs: RJ Emerald
Posts: 2,096












Pictures coming here (2)

Last edited by Rami Tamimi; Jan 22, 18 at 7:50 am
Rami Tamimi is offline  
Old Jan 22, 18, 7:52 am
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: HKG/AMM/LED/LHR
Programs: RJ Emerald
Posts: 2,096
Pictures in the second post got out of order for some reason, will try to correct the pictures order ASAP.
Rami Tamimi is offline  
Old Jan 22, 18, 8:59 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Programs: AY+, SK EB
Posts: 1,902
Thanks for the review.
The ATR's propeller looks scary.
Jainzar is online now  
Old Jan 22, 18, 9:22 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: C2
Programs: AY Lumo, A3 Gold, TK Elite Plus
Posts: 659
Originally Posted by Rami Tamimi View Post
I am still not sure if the LED flights have alcohol served. According to the AY gurus from another thread and the AY website, the flights to/from LED only have the complimentary soft drinks, but the announcement on the outbound did mention that "if you are hungry, please check out the Sky Bistro menu"(+ there was a one page menu in the seat pocket), there were some crisps on the trolley and the FA did have a mobile POS on her side. I did not see anyone buying anything, so I decided to just go for a coffee and the AY signature Blueberry juice.
On ATR operated routes Sky Bistro is available on all flights except Tallinn, Turku and Tampere (so alcohol is also available, just the menu card is simplified). On non-ATR flights the standard Sky Bistro menu is used, with exceptions mentioned on the website and on the back page of the standard menu (in general flights below and around 1 hour, incl. LED).
Rami Tamimi likes this.
on22cz is offline  
Old Jan 22, 18, 12:34 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: HEL
Programs: anti-MaRiot SPG-P IHG-S HH-D LeClub/CC-G, BA/A3-G DL/AY-P, Octopus
Posts: 5,024
Thanks for the review and pictures, Rami! Glad to get some fresh opinions from an RJ Emerald
remymartin is offline  
Old Jan 22, 18, 3:31 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: HEL
Programs: Only Gold card I have is at F24Seven :D
Posts: 4,811
Originally Posted by remymartin View Post
Thanks for the review and pictures, Rami! Glad to get some fresh opinions from an RJ Emerald
Second that.
Did U read the school meal story?😁
FFlash is offline  
Old Jan 22, 18, 6:00 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: HEL
Programs: anti-MaRiot SPG-P IHG-S HH-D LeClub/CC-G, BA/A3-G DL/AY-P, Octopus
Posts: 5,024
Originally Posted by FFlash View Post

Second that.
Did U read the school meal story?😁
hmm.. can't say that I have! Although that reminds me of 95% of lunches here!
remymartin is offline  
Old Jan 23, 18, 3:44 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: BLL
Programs: AY+ Platinum, SK Gold, HHonors Silver
Posts: 404
Indeed, nice to see a positive review. I have never heard of espresso martini. Or baileys with vodka. Is the first one gin, vermouth, and coffee? The second one is just strange.
CeruleanBlue is offline  
Old Jan 23, 18, 4:27 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: TMP
Programs: AY+ Plat, TK Elite, BT VIP, Radisson Gold, Accor Platinum
Posts: 482
Originally Posted by CeruleanBlue View Post
Indeed, nice to see a positive review. I have never heard of espresso martini. Or baileys with vodka. Is the first one gin, vermouth, and coffee? The second one is just strange.
not quite - espresso/vodka/coffee liquor, see https://www.jamieoliver.com/news-and...resso-martini/

I actually like an espresso with 2cl vodka, but never tried this..
aapee is offline  
Old Jan 23, 18, 4:40 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Posts: 2,280
In Finland we have these drinks called Jekku-Battery, Kossu-vichy and Original Long Drink. Who needs espresso-martinis?
oliver2002, ffay005, vulle and 4 others like this.
Helsinki Flyer is offline  
Old Jan 23, 18, 7:51 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: HEL
Programs: anti-MaRiot SPG-P IHG-S HH-D LeClub/CC-G, BA/A3-G DL/AY-P, Octopus
Posts: 5,024
While espresso martinis have been available on menus in specialty cocktail bars for more than a decade, I havenít seen the drink attract a large fan base over here. But what nicer is there than to train a lounge attendant into a cocktail expert, right?
remymartin is offline  
Old Jan 23, 18, 8:16 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: BLL
Programs: AY+ Platinum, SK Gold, HHonors Silver
Posts: 404
Originally Posted by aapee View Post
I actually like an espresso with 2cl vodka, but never tried this..
makes more sense! My preferred winter tipple is a brandy and tea hot toddy. And yes, Iíve lived in the UK.
(End off-topic)
CeruleanBlue is offline  
Old Jan 24, 18, 3:51 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: DFW
Programs: AA EXP, LT Gold
Posts: 2,965
Thanks for this review. Very timely, as I'm doing LED-HEL-JFK tomorrow (25 Jan) for the first time. ^
econometrics is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: