HEL: Helsinki Finnair Schengen Lounge (Finnair Domestic Lounge)
NEWS: The showers and spa in this lounge have now closed. However, if you have access to the Non-Schengen area, and are a Finnair Plus Platinum card holder, you can access the new (open 2014) Helsinki Premium Lounge, with showers.
The Finnair Helsinki Lounge in the Schengen area is used for shorthaul and domestic routes to countries (like Finland) that have signed the Schengen convention which means most of mainland Europe (except the UK).
A lovely large light bright lounge, the Finnair Helsinki Lounge is a delight, with lots of large comfortable chairs that are design classics in their own right; alas it's let down by the Spartan food and not-that-hot bar.
To find the Finnair Schengen lounge, head to the Oak Barrel the famous Irish bar at the corner of the L that is Helsinki Airport and take the stairs (or lift) near gate 25. Pass the Servisair lounge, and the Finnair lounge is straight ahead, with a small reception desk.
You enter by the dining section, with a small area of buffet seating, and impressive floor to ceiling glass windows, which give a bright, light feeling to the lounge in summer, but in the six months of almost permanent darkness in winter make the lounge seem pretty gloomy. There is a shelf' here, with high stools, which is actually the best place to dine in the lounge.
As you turn left there are the computer pods, and then a rack of low chairs, including three 1960s style egg type chairs. The lounge narrows at this point, and there is another shelf here, designed for working on laptops with high stools facing the window there are power sockets under the shelf for a quick recharge.
Next on the left is the most photographed, and the most un-regarded part of the lounge. There are a series of low chairs which look achingly trendy, and which with equally look as if they will make your legs ache. In fact, they are pretty comfortable.
Next up in the series of rooms are a series of high backed sofas, facing tables: this is the most private part of the lounge, and ideal for family groups. Down a short flight of stairs there are more chairs, and then right at the end is the quiet snooze section, with plush carpets, curtains surrounding the walls, and recliner chairs. It's a great place to kip for a few hours (if your 40 minute connection time will allow), or just to unwind.
FoodIt's got to be said, food isn't great in the Schengen Helsinki Finnair lounge. There is a small buffet area, with a salad bar (effectively lettuce and coutons), soup, bread, and quite a few different cheeses, including a herb cheese spread. However there is nothing really substantial, with no hot dishes on offer.
On the other side of the counter at breakfast time there is a pile of muffins, plus some biscuits in the jar.
BarIf the food is a little space, so is the bar, but at least all alcohol is complementary.
There are three beer taps, with Finnish Lapin Kulta beer, Carlsberg, and a Guinness imitation. There is also a large soft drinks fountain.
Wine is particularly poor, with just one cheap white in the ice bucket, and one cheap (new world) red on the counter top. There are just two bottles of Finnish spirits beside the ice bucket, and that's it.
Business FacilitiesThere are three computers in the lounge, in three small, very blue, pods. 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 a couple of free magazines, but that's about it. There really isn't much newspaper wise here, and little in English.
One other business perk is the wireless charging facility for mobiles. Called PowerKiss, ask reception for one of the small ring attachments, plug it into your phone, and leave it on the red circle on the desk. It works, and it's free.
BathroomsThere is no longer a spa or showers at this lounge.
AccessDaypasses are not available at this lounge. You need a valid business class ticket, or elite oneworld status.
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