HEL: Helsinki Finnair Non-Schengen
NEWS: Finnair has opened a new Premium Lounge at Helsinki Airport, opposite the main non-Schengen lounge, just for Finnair Plus Platinum and Gold members and oneworld Top tier members. It has been designed by Helsinki-based design Vertti Kivi & Co has new private shower suites and a Finnish sauna.
Read the full story here: Finnair open new Helsinki lounge.
The Non-Schengen Finnair Helsinki lounge is frequently called the long-haul lounge, however it is designed for all non-Schengen destinations (after passport control) such as the UK (which is short-haul) plus the US and Asia.
As a result this lounge can be quite quiet in the day, but absolutely rammed at around 11pm each night before the Hong Kong and Singapore flights depart. It's also a Priority Pass lounge, which means even more people pile in here.
Finnair Helsinki Non-Schengen lounge has also won numerous awards. Which makes it so odd that the lounge is a major disappointment. It really isn't worth while spending a lot of time here, and if you are arriving or departing inter-Schengen, the Schengen Helsinki lounge may be a better bet.
To find the Finnair Helsinki lounge, head down pretty much to the far end of the non-Schengen section of the terminal: the entrance is on the right beside the corridor. Once inside, you don't need to explore much - the lounge is essentially one large room, with high up windows so you have to climb up to the balcony to see out.
The bulk of the lounge is designed as a dining area, which is right in the middle of the lounge: the whole premise of this lounge was that it was designed for pre-flight dining, allowing you maximum sleeping time on board a flight to Asia (and on which in business class, meals were reduced to sleeper 'small/light' meals). Alas pre-flight dining now ends at 9pm, a good 3 hours before all the Asian flights leave, and on which (you've guessed it) the meals are still very small. Well thought out, it isn't.
To the left as you walk in is the 'paid' bar and hot meals area (closes 9pm) with three large buffet tables. At the far end of this is an extra spill over dining area, in case it gets too busy in the main area (it never does). To the right of the entrance are the business desks.
Upstairs on the balcony, is the best seating, with lots of recliners overlooking the airport apron.
FoodFood is the major problem of the lounge: quite simply, there is little food, and what there is, is dull. All day and evening there is salad, which is basically a bowl of lettuce and tomato, with three types of olive oil dressing. At peak times (lunch and dinner (5pm-8pm) there are also two bowls of chicken and beef, plus some rice. Occasionally there are warm chicken satays and soup.
However in the evening (9pm onwards) these dishes are left out until they go cold or run out, and not refilled or replaced: by 11pm when the lounge really starts to get busy, there is frequently nothing left.
BarThe bar is equally poor, and recent cut backs mean that at peak times, there is little selection. Sure, there is a good fridge in which you can see lots of good bottles of wine, but you can't actually get at them. Instead on the worktops there is an ice bucket with one type of white, and a red on the worktop too.
There are three beer taps, with two types of Finnish lager and a darker ale on tap, next to the soft drinks fountain.
There is no Champagne, unless you go to the 'paid' bar (closes 9pm) and there there is Mumm Cordon Rouge for sale. The exception is Joseph Perrier Cuvée Royale Brut Champagne which is complimentary for Finnair Plus Platinum members.
The 'paid' bar also sells spirits, with a fairly mediocre and expensive selection. Other than that, if you are after spirits, you need to be a Finnair Plus top-tier member to get anything complementary, when you will be offered house spirits.
Business FacilitiesThere are just three computers in little pods close to reception. They are quick and fast - but not nearly as fast as the free Wifi, which is provided by the Helsinki Airport-wide free wifi.
There are a few newspapers on the counter beside the reception desk, and several free magazines, but little of interest.
BathroomsThe novel Finnish spa and sauna have been recently removed from the lounge, and there are now no showers. These are only available on the new premium side.
There are however bathrooms in the lounge.
AccessThe Finnair Helsinki Non-Schengen lounge is also a Priority Pass lounge.
Daypasses are not available at this lounge. You need a valid business class ticket, or elite oneworld status.
Incidentally, this lounge used to be known as the Finnair Helsinki Silver Wings lounge.
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