One of the tings I enjoy most about flying is getting a chance to fly with new carriers. Back in May, I took one of my boys to Taiwan, flying first China Airlines in business class before making the trek back across the Pacific with Xiamen Airines 787 economy. Both experiences were great, although you can imagine we preferred business class to economy. 😉
But what’s often even more fun is flying a new aircraft type.
Dreaming of Flying the A350
The A350 is Airbus’ newest, most advanced aircraft. It’s roughly their counterpart to Boeing’s 787. The plane boasts less noise and a more comfortable cabin pressurization and humidity. I’ve flown the Boeing 787 twice, both times in economy, and the difference in cabin comfort is noticeable. It sure beats flying an old 767 with a super dry cabin.
The Airbus A350 also has an excellent range and is among the most fuel efficient wide-body aircraft. Singapore Airlines operates a specially-configured A350-900 on their Singapore-Newark route, which currently holds the title of the longest flight in the world. While it would have been cool for this to be my first A350 flight, I have no plans to fly the route. I’m totally happy with my current plan.
I was excited to fly the Airbus A380 back in 2017 and am equally excited to be flying the A350.
Even Better: It’s a New Carrier. And Business Class.
The ticket I’m flying is an AAdvantage award between San Francisco and Helsinki on American Airlines and Finnair. While Finnair does fly SFO-HEL nonstop, the route it currently operated by an A330. Even though I have to make a hop to LAX, it’s more than worth it to be able to fly the A350. In either case, it’ll be my first time flying Finnair.
Plus, it’s in business class. Finnair’s A330 business class appears to be far inferior to their new A350 product. The A330 offers a staggered 1-2-1 layout similar to whay you generally find on 767s that have lie-flat seats installed. Constrast this with the 1-2-1 reverse-herringbone layout of Finnair A350 business class.
Hopefully My Expectations Aren’t Too High
I’m obviously expecting this to be an excellent flight. Setting expectations high has a way of resulting in them not being met, but I have read great things about Finnair. It’ll be a fun, quick solo trip.
I’ll have all of 48 hours in Helsinki before hopping on a plane to Barcelona and then beginning the outbound leg of an Alitalia error fare I booked way back in January. If Finnair had released the HEL-BCN segment, I would be spending the two days in Barcelona instead. But hey, I’m honestly more excited to visit Finland for a couple days.