Trip Report: Testing airBaltic’s flagship A220 – is it any good?

A view across the wing of an airBaltic A220 in flight.
Photo Credit: Adrian Olstad / AviationSource

TALLINN – After a marvellous flight on Carpatair’s A319, operated on behalf of AirBaltic, it was finally my turn to review and experience the flagship airBaltic Airbus A220-300, on a 40 minute hop between Latvian capital of Riga, to Estonia’s capital of Tallinn.

Join me as I review the good and the bad on airBaltic’s service on flight 313! This flight takes place on airBaltic’s YL-ABD.

Flight information

  • Flight number: BT313
  • Departure airport: Riga Int’l (RIX)
  • Arrival airport: Tallinn Int’l (TLL)
  • Registration: YL-ABD, 1.1 years-old at the time of flight
  • Aircraft type: Airbus A220-300

Arrival and transfer at Riga (RIX)

Connecting flights at Riga are no issue whatsoever, and so is my experience as well. After entering the terminal area from my previous flight on the Carpatair A319, my next flight was already waiting at gate B5, a short one-minute-walk from the gate I previously arrived at.

Riga (RIX) uses their departure hall as both a departure, arrival and transfer-hall, making it hard to get lost, as exits to baggage claim are heavily marked. Unlike Oslo, there is no segregating paths to transfer or arrival areas at the airport in Riga, something at least I, appreciate.

Check-in experience

As I had my connecting flight in the same booking, I was able to check in on both flights simultaneously, when I checked in for the first leg from Oslo to Riga.

Check-in is granted five days prior departure if you have a business class ticket or reserved seat, and 26 hours prior departure for those who don’t.

The process itself is very easy, as you receive an email with a link to the online check-in. If you’d like to check in at the airport, you should expect a 35 EUR bill, as that’s what in-airport check-in costs with AirBaltic

Boarding experience

Likewise to my previous flight, AirBaltic announces boarding for Business class-passengers as well as priority boarding holders, though, they push everyone into the same boarding group leaving the whole concept of priority boarding seem useless.

Upon entry to the aircraft, I was met by yet another smiling crew who wished me a warm welcome aboard, something that is always appreciated, especially when you get the vibe that they absolutely love their job and are so enthusiastic.

As the A220 is known for, the cabin is extremely spacious, open and light. With seats going 5-across in a 3 x 2 configuration, the aircraft is capable of carrying 149 passengers to wherever they may desire.

The seat

A view of the passenger cabin seat on airBaltic's A220.
Photo: AirBaltic A220 seats Credit: Adrian Olstad

As I was unable to grab myself a window seat in front of the engine, I ended up in the far back and settled in at 21A, which was surprising me and going beyond all my expectations. Let me give a few points as to why:

It’s common knowledge to know that on most planes, the further back you go, the tighter the legroom gets. As I had been flying the airBaltic A220 once before, in August of 2021, my legroom was beyond belief at seat 5A. Needless to say, this common knowledge was proven wrong in this case.

Between the seat and my knees, there was an approximately 5 centimeters to spare, making me not crash into the seat in front at all during the flight.

A view of the legroom in a passenger seat on board an airBaltic A220 aircraft.
Photo: Legroom Credit: Adrian Olstad

Adding on to this, the seat is very much plastic, but also really comfortable. The extra legroom I also had, gives a great additional point to airBaltic’s A220 configuration, as it’s not that dense.

On the left side of the seat in front, I found a coat hanger, something that came to great use as the aircraft was a bit hot whilst boarding, making my jacket go off very fast.

Photo: Coat hanger Credit: Adrian Olstad

The tray table was not that sturdy, but had quite the size. Along with that, airBaltic offers two bottle size seat pockets at either edge of the seat, at legs height. Though, these make the legroom even better as they’re not that big, but can contain an ok amount of stuff.

Inside the main seat pocket, was an issue of AirBaltic’s inflight magazine and a safety card.

Inflight service

Inflight service started around 15 minutes after departure on this flight, and as this was flagship airBaltic, their Buy-on-board-menu actually worked this time, as you have to connect to a dedicated Wi-Fi to access it.

However, it was only a 40 minute flight, so the reasons to why I should have bought anything weren’t really there. The cabin crew strolled past the aisle twice, just in case someone had changed their mind. On my past flights with the airline, this hasn’t been the case.

Arrival at Tallinn (TLL)

The AirBaltic flight parked at the Tallinn terminal.
Photo: A220 at gate Credit: Adrian Olstad

Upon arrival, we were presented with a lovely approach over the city and harbor, something I found very stunning as it doesn’t happen all too often. A sightseeing to remember.

We landed on Tallinn’s Runway 08, which offered a great view of the airport terminal as we passed over the runway threshold.

After a very smooth landing, I was surprised to see a SkyUp-plane parked, along with Finnair’s retro DC3.

The exterior terminal of Tallinn caught my eye as it looked pretty old, leading to my mind thinking it wasn’t that great on the inside either, but I was wrong.

Upon entry to the terminal, it was like at Riga. well organized, smooth and greatly marked to where the exits were. I did however not see a Tax-free store, which surprised me.

My honest opinion

My first time impression with the proper airBaltic, leaves me amazed as it surpassed my expectations. The A220 is airBaltic’s flagship and is by far one of the best aircraft I’ve had the pleasure of flying.

The crew, yet again, were fantastic. With a greeting that makes me feel welcome, my crew experience was nothing to complain about. The fact that they also went through the cabin twice with catering, is something I’ve rarely seen, but really great for those who maybe changed their mind.

Overall, AirBaltic is really something I can recommend as their product is comfortable, welcoming and enjoyable.

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