The night I disappeared into Finnair

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

I’ve arrived back in Hong Kong, site of The Moodie Davitt Asia Pacific bureau. A few days here and then it’s onto Singapore and the TFWA Asia Pacific show.

This time, attracted by a very decent airfare, I opted to fly with Finnair, routing (very briefly) through Helsinki Airport. I recommend it highly. Not only is it cost-efficient but the service onboard Finnair was just about as friendly as anything I’d ever experienced, the food & wines good and the transit airport one of the cleanest and most efficient you will encounter.

First, though, a word for Heathrow Airport, my second home. Heathrow does most things pretty well but its gate rooms have never been anything better than functional. To my pleasant surprise then as I raced to the gate as the flight was closing, I encountered a gate room that had been transformed with the inclusion of an area of beautiful plants. Heathrow’s dubbed it (rather nicely) ‘Golden Gate’ and it just shows how little touches can lift the consumer experience.

It’s not the first airport to do it of course –Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport offers a world masterclass in themed gaterooms– but it’s commendable all the same.

Back to Finnair. At a time when many airlines are reviewing how (or whether) they offer inflight shopping, it’s good to see such a coherent and diverse offer onboard as that presented by the Finnish national carrier. There’s a commendable focus on Finnish products, including the beautiful and distinctive Ultimat Thule glassware (also used for pouring the excellent range of onboard wines).

My transit was just 45 minutes but I still had time enough to scout out some of shops and a very attractive bar and casual dining outlet called Nordic Kitchen. Next time I’ll stop off for a day or more, giving this city and its airport the time it deserves rather than disappearing so quickly into Finnair.

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