Finnair Launching Seasonal Flights To San Francisco

Filed Under: Finnair

Finnair is a fun airline that I flew for the first time earlier flight year, from New York to Helsinki, and then from Helsinki to London. While they have an extensive route network to Asia, their route network to the US is quite limited by comparison.

Well, the airline has just announced their first route to the west coast, though it’s only seasonal.

Finnair will operate 3x weekly flights between Helsinki and San Francisco between June 1 and September 28, 2017. Per, the flight will operate with the following schedule:

AY11 Helsinki to San Francisco departing 4:35PM arriving 5:20PM
AY12 San Francisco to Helsinki departing 7:10PM arriving 3:30PM (+1 day)


The flight will operate using an Airbus A330-300 on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.

Finnair has fully flat seats on their A330, though unfortunately they’re in a staggered configuration.

Finnair’s new A350s have reverse herringbone seats, though they only fly these planes to Asia (last year I had the chance to fly it from New York when they operated the plane there for a limited time).

Finnair-Business-Class-A350 - 2

Finnair isn’t typically very generous with award availability, and this flight is no exception. That being said, Finnair does seem to have one business class award seat available per flight.


Usually finding business class award seats nonstop between the west coast and Europe can be tough, so this is a pretty good opportunity if you’re traveling solo.

For example, American charges just 57,500 miles for a one-way business class award between the US and Europe, and there are no fuel surcharges. The availability isn’t yet showing on American’s website, though it does show on British Airways’ website, and should be bookable by phone with American.

Finnair-Lounge-Helsinki-Airport - 38
Sweat in the sauna in the Finnair Lounge at Helsinki Airport

Bottom line

This is a cool new seasonal route for Finnair, though it would be great to see them eventually add more permanent flights to the West Coast. Helsinki is such an easy airport to transfer through, making this a great flight for anyone traveling to Northern Europe and beyond.

Helsinki-Airport-Lounge - 6
Helsinki Airport

Anyone planning on taking Finnair’s seasonal flight between San Francisco and Helsinki?

  1. I wish!

    Just flew them HEL-BKK and HKG-HEL-LHR in August. I also flew BA on YUL-LHR-HEL and LHR-YUL. After reading your latest BA trip review, despite the *ahem* haters, it was such a stark contrast, both in hard product and soft product. Finnair comes out well ahead of British Airways as far as I’m concerned. And I didn’t have unfriendly crews ;-).

    Finnair was miles ahead of many airlines I have flown. I haven’t had the opportunity to fly many in Business Class, but when comparing Finnair with BA, LH, AC, the service was phenomenal. I wish they were better connected to North America, I would consider flying them to Asia again!

  2. Keep in mind that Finnair is part of the BA/IB/AA JV, so this flight would have been discussed with them before launching.

  3. If anyone wants to try the A350 product on a budget, the operate a once daily flight with it from LHR (I believe for cargo purposes).

  4. Going to Liverpool next August (for the start of the Premier League season to celebrate a friend’s 40th bday)… and have been looking for unique options to get over to Europe. Was in England earlier this year and would like to explore a new part of Europe during next year’s trip. This might be a good option… especially since SFO is my home airport!

  5. Book at your own risk.
    I had a business class booking on Finnair this past summer from Helsinki to Miami. Two weeks out they replaced the Finnair flight on the route for an extended period with a leased plane from an airline named HiFly (no, me neither). I have never known a mainline carrier to subcontract to such an inferior product.
    No advance notice, no alternatives offered
    I would question Finnair’s commitment on US routes.

  6. matt best teams are 38 miles down the road, at manchester, kidding , liverpool and manchester are great towns, hampton inn, and hilton great to stay at, carter and miller to eat at,

  7. @craig: lol, suuuuuure. Actually I’m a kinda Everton fan. My friend is a Liverpool supporter – and we agree on everything – so I had to pick something we can argue about.

    Last year I stayed at the Aloft and loved it. Exceptional rate and great service. Thought about the Hilton City Centre as well. Nice being just a bit closer to Ropewalks.

  8. Finnair is mostly owned by the government of Finland, which perhaps gives them an advantage in the same way as ME3.

    Polar route with a shortened flight time?

    Excited to have this extra option but SFO deserves a A350.

  9. @Michael, I had the same issue, I was due to fly from Helsinki to Miami with my little girl on August 7th and the only reason I even knew of the Hi-Fly change was because of an equipment change alert from myflights. I heard nothing from Finnair proactively.

    That said, when I called AA to change my award ticket they said they could not do anything since there was no availability. I wasn’t about to fly with an airline I did not know anything about (Hi-Fly) especially with my child onboard and so I called Finnair directly and explained the situation that I had wanted to fly with Finnair on a Finnair airplane, not a wet-leased plane.

    They went above and beyond to get us routed from HEL to ORD in business class on a Finnair plane on the same date with no charges or fees to me. The gentleman even called me back to let me know everything was completed since it took a while to make the changes and discuss with American Airlines.

    This was my first time flying Finnair and I was very happy with them. My little girl liked it too. The airport was very easy to navigate and I would transfer there rather than LHR any day.

    In fact, I am hoping to fly to Europe with them next next summer instead of dealing with the cluster at Heathrow like I had to this past July.

    Did you actually fly on the Hi-Fly plane or did you change your flight?

  10. Finnair actually used to fly to SFO between 1993-1999, also summer seasonal (back then with DC-10 & MD-11 under the flight numbers AY147/148, later AY47/48). Excited to see them back after 18 years away!

  11. I will be taking the inaugural flight of the SFO to HELSINKI service next Thursday evening, June 1. I’d be happy to provide a review/photos here if that would be desirable.

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