As I had about 4 hours to wait once I landed in Malaga, I decided to spend some time in one of the bars in the arrivals area, which had outside seating. A large beer and coffee were about €8, and there was plenty of action around the terminal to me amused.
It turned out that an EasyJet flight to Gibraltar had diverted, so many people were waiting for the buses to ferry them down. About 2hrs before departure, I went to the airport to collect my paper boarding passes. I was amazed at how busy the airport was as it was after 10 pm. There was a fast track queue, but it didn’t seem worth using as plenty of security queues were open, and I was through in short order.
There is a lounge in the airport operated by Aena, the Spanish airport operator. I was impressed with it; there was a large selection of hot and cold food, snacks and drinks, and a lot of space. I found a plug and charged my devices for about 45 minutes before heading to the gate.
The flight to Helsinki was the first leg of my main ticket and is one of only a couple of intra-European flights which give 140TPs in Business. The aircraft on this flight was an A319 which meant that it was the only overnight flight on the trip that didn’t have a flat bed. I had chosen row 1 and was lucky not to have anyone else in the row to give a bit of additional space.
However, as the tray table is in the immovable armrest, there was no way of laying out over the extra space, so I had a fitful doze rather than a decent sleep. There was a bottle of water, blanket and little pillow in the seat on arrival, and I can’t remember any other service, but with a 0115 departure, it was probably a reasonably quiet leg for the cabin crew.
We landed in Helsinki just after 6 am, and I had about 90minutes before my next flight to London Heathrow. The minimum connection time in Helsinki is a staggeringly short 35 minutes, and they are set up for it, so I was through to the new Finnair Lounge, next to the departure gate, in about 15 minutes. The Platinum Wing, accessible to OneWorld Emeralds, was not open, so I used the Business Lounge and was thoroughly impressed.
There are several seating areas with tables to eat or work from, coffee tables and chairs to sit around or more enclosed pods to lounge in. There are several refreshment stations, including a hot buffet, beer and wine on tap and an iPad drinks machine. I love the Marimekko design on the crockery.
I left the lounge about 20 minutes before departure, boarding in the direction of the lounge agent, and walked immediately onto the jet bridge and down to the A350, waiting to take me to London Heathrow. It featured the new non-reclining business class suite, which I was excited to try.
The idea is to provide a seat with a back for take-off and landing, allowing you to slouch / curl up / lounge at leisure. When you want to sleep, one motorised panel fills the gap between the seat pad and the footrest and you simple shuffle down to put your head where your bum was. I absolutely loved it. Sure, I hadn’t had the best night’s sleep and was tired, but I could get my 1.83m frame flat, sleeping in the recovery position with a leg out to the side – it was fantastic. I don’t know what service was offered on the flight as I was asleep about 20 minutes into the flight and was woken with about 15 minutes to go to get upright again.
Arrival at Terminal 3 was smooth, and I was soon onto a bus for Flight Connections over to Terminal 5. Given that my next leg to New York was in First, I was keen to get the formalities of transfer and security over as quickly as possible and relax in the Concorde Room.