Trip report: Finnair’s E190 from Helsinki to Oslo

Finnair E190LR OH-LKI
By Gerard van der Schaaf - OH-LKIUploaded by AVIA BavARia, CC BY 2.0,

LONDON – After a short weekend trip to Tallinn, Estonia, my flight back to Oslo was flown from Helsinki. With a small overbooking drama giving the uncertainty if I was allowed on board or not, I was. Join me on my first flight with Finnair, and my initial thoughts.

Boarding the FInnair E190-E1. Phot Credit: AivaitonSource Adrian Olstad
Boarding the FInnair E190-E1. Phot Credit: AivaitonSource Adrian Olstad

This flight takes place on AY917, Finnair’s evening Oslo service and is flown by OH-LKI, an Embraer E190 E1 series aircraft. The aircraft features 100 economy seats over 25 rows, in a 2×2 configuration.

Flight information

  • Flight number: AY917
  • Departure Airport: Helsinki Vantaa (HEL)
  • Arrival airport: Oslo Gardermoen (OSL)
  • Registration: OH-LKI, 15.1 years old at the time of flight
  • Aircraft type: Embraer E190 LR

Check-in experience

Upon entrance to the airport, I was unaware that the new terminal had been taken into use and was opened just months ago. The new terminal has check-in machines and desks all over, making finding your desired airline for check-in, a fairly easy process.

Finnair’s check-in machines and desks are located in the 200-area of the check-in section.

At Finnair’s check-in, machines were stacked beside each other, leaving me with no queue at all, something I found really relaxing.

The check-in was really straightforward as I just had to scan my passport to receive my boarding pass, making the process fairly easy and taking under 30 seconds. Finnair also offers in-app check-in, which is where the overbooking issue started for me.

Upon check-in inside the app, I was met by a caution saying the flight was overbooked, which asked me if I was willing to volunteer in changing my flight in exchange for compensation if necessary, something I agreed to do.

Airport experience

As it was my first time at Helsinki Vantaa, I was positively surprised. Although the airport is still a bit of a work-in-progress after the new terminal opened, the airport was fairly easy to navigate around.

There were a lot of kiosks, restaurants and cafés at the airport, giving me endless options to where I could go for a meal, both light or heavy.

On the second floor by Espresso House, you can find an outside terrace with direct views over the apron and gates. The terrace walls and surroundings are all glass, with the exception of the floor, of course.

Boarding experience

After finding gate 30, which I would be boarding from, I reported my status as a volunteer to the gate agent after being requested by Finnair to do so, when I checked in.

At the gate, there was no need to look for seating as there were many seats available, despite the number of passengers already at the gate. Great job, Vantaa!

Boarding commenced 20 minutes prior to departure with specific groups boarding first. Boarding groups were 1 to 5, making group 1 board first, then the next groups thereafter.

Due to my choice to volunteer, I decided to board last just in case the overbooking wasn’t fixed. However, I was told I am all good to join the flight as the overbooking was resolved.

With a departure time at 19.45 local time, the door was closed before I even got in my seat, and shortly after I was seated, we were pushing back on-time

The seat

My seat for this flight was 6A, which gave me quite the view over the engine and was in just the right direction to see the sunset on departure.

Photo: Engine view Credit: Adrian Olstad / AviationSource

My first impression of the seat was that it was very soft and wide, making this ride a comfortable one.

The seat features a tray table, coat hook and a seat pocket which contained a safety card.

The tray table was very sturdy and big. However, I miss the feature of dragging the table a bit closer to you, as the seat in front is at a bit of a distance from my seat. The table features a small groove for cups, other than that, it’s nothing special.

On the side of the seat, I found a coat hook, something I’ve noticed more and more on my recent flights. While I rarely use them, they have come to my aid a few times and act as a great addition to the seat.

The seat pocket was big and had room for a lot. Though, you may risk losing a bit of legroom if you fill it up a bit. Inside the seat pocket, I found a safety card and nothing else. It felt a bit strange not seeing an in-flight menu or a barf bag in there as well, but it didn’t bother me as this was just a 1 hour 30 minute flight.

The legroom is what tops the cake for me on this flight. As 100 seats sounded pretty dense for an E190 to me, I was very surprised when I could fit my entire palm between the seat cushion and the seat in front of me. The space between the seats left me enough space to move my palm quite the distance from one seat to another, leaving my legroom undisturbed and nothing to complain about for the entirety of the flight.

Inflight service

After passing the 10.000 feet mark, the seatbelt signs were switched off, allowing the crew to start their inflight service, where water and their infamous blueberry juice are complimentary.

I asked for a cup of juice and water, which the flight attendant gladly provided me before continuing to the other passengers. If you are yet to try Finnair’s blueberry juice, then you’ve missed out a bit. You rarely find airlines with juice as their complimentary main drink, but I’m glad Finnair does, as their juice is absolutely amazing.

Around 10 minutes after the service was complete, the crew came around to collect the waste from our drinks and after that, there was no other service for the remaining flight.

Arrival at Oslo Gardermoen (OSL)

Closing in on Oslo, we were met by a great number of clouds and turbulence, which isn’t unusual for Norway at this time of the year considering our very unpredictable weather.

We soon touched down very smoothly at Oslo’s runway 19L, which was immediately followed by the hardest braking I’ve ever experienced. If seatbelts weren’t invented and enforced, I’d be face-first into the seat in front.

After landing, we taxied with quite some speed to our gate, 38, where we parked 10 minutes prior to our scheduled arrival time.

My honest opinion

As a first-time experience with Finnair, I’d call it a good one. Finnair offers a great product for a reasonable price, and their Embraer E190 jet was really comfortable to fly on, primarily because of legroom and general seat comfort.

Something I’ve noticed on every Embraer E-jet flight I’ve had previously is that the windows are very misaligned with the seats. However, they’re big and provide a great and wide view of the surroundings whilst onboard.

All in all, I’ll definitely be back on Finnair when the chance shows itself, and hope to try out the rest of their fleet at other times. My experience was great, and I hope someone else carries the same experience I had, with Finnair.

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