“Would you like chicken or mutton?” I’ve been asked.
Mutton? Haven’t heard that for years. I go for it, just simply because it sounds so old school and I want to give it a try. Will it be mutton dressed up as lamb, I think to myself.
Other than the odd choice of meal, the flight is great, I am wowed. This is my first flight on an a350, the newest aircraft from the Airbus family. I might be a convert from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Start with an Airbus a350, add a pinch of Finnish hospitality and it’s a well finished product – Sorry bad pun there!
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Finnair’s Airbus a350’s operate Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines which, with the lighter aircraft built with composite materials, have a 25% better fuel performance and is claimed to be 20% quieter than existing aircraft. There is also an advanced air filtering system which renews the air every few minutes ensuring a more comfortable flight.
The Finnair Airbus a350 I am flying on today is only a few weeks old. Registered OH-LWH, the aircraft was delivered to the airline in mid April 2017 and is leased by Gecas. Finnair operate 10 of the aircraft at the time of writing, this particular one is the 97th built. As competition to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, its a similar aircraft in size and product and promises a new flying experience.
The clean lines and blue LED lighting give the aircraft a cool Nordic feel. The Airbus a350 lighting can be adjusted to fit the time, season or location. The 3-3-3 configuration eludes to spaciousness in the cabin with 208 Economy Class seats each having a pitch of 31 inches and a width of 18″, some of the widest in the sky.
I have an aisle seat in the middle section of the aircraft. Thankfully my seat neighbour who is on the other aisle seat is a polite and friendly guy and we have the middle seat spare, so we share the space between us.
Each seat comes with a bottle of water, which a nice touch.
About an hour after take off it’s time for dinner. The meal, presented on the one tray, comes with the mutton and rice with winter vegetables. There is a side dish of potato salad with salmon and dill. a plastic wrapped wholemeal bread roll and cheese and crackers. A small strawberry cheesecake is there for desert.
The braised mutton is nice, although there are a couple of sinewy bits, I enjoy it. The rice fluffy and vegetables are cooked well. I especially like the carrot balls.
The side of potato salad with salmon and dill is very Scandinavian and it has my vote as the best part of the meal. I really wish there was more of it, especially the salmon.
I keep my cheese and crackers for later, for snacking while watching a few flicks.
Once the trays are cleared away, I peruse the inflight entertainment. There are several choices on the 11″ screens other than movies to while the time away.
At the bottom of the screen are headphone sockets and a USB port for charging or watching your own entertainment. Although I prefer my sockets to be in the armrest as its easier to manoeuvre around, the sound quality is great.
I check the internet from my iPhone which is plugged into the power outlet, but don’t connect. I’m one of those people that is online ALL the time, except for when flying I like to stay disconnected. I check the prices and they seem not bad. Wi-Fi access for one hour is €7.95, three hours for €11.95 or for the whole flight for €19.95.
I check out the flight map and its quite interactive. There is also a tail and under carriage camera, although being night time, not much to see.
I’m impressed with their selection of movies and T.V shows. I settle on the movie Tom Of Finland, which has not yet been released in Australia. It’s a little risque and I feel a bit strange at times watching it with people around me, but I figure the Finns are all very open about this sort of content. After the movie and a couple of TV shows, I dose off and manage to have a few hours sleep.
I’ve woken up to the lights becoming brighter and the sound of the galley in motion getting breakfast ready. There is a choice of continental breakfast or omelette, I go for the latter. It comes with a plastic wrapped croissant, a side of fruit salad and some yoghurt.
It’s not bad, although not full of flavour. The small slice of bacon is ok, but the peas, potato and soggy mushrooms are a bit odd I find. The fruit is fresh yet croissant dry.
I have a cup of black tea as well as a juice with my breakfast. I love the Marrimako designed cups and napkins, a common theme throughout Finnair aircraft.
We arrive on time into Helsinki’s Vantaa Airport and taxi to our gate.
I feel surprisingly refreshed after the flight, perhaps the advanced air system, perhaps the wide seat, or maybe, just maybe it was the mutton.
Bonus! Heres the take off from Singapore taken from the tail camera and undercarriage camera.
FreakyFlier paid for the ticket independently.