Review: Finnair Premium Lounge Helsinki Airport

Filed Under: Finnair, oneworld

After visiting the [email protected] Lounge, I headed to the Finnair Lounge at around 5:55AM, given that it opened at 6AM.

The Finnair Lounge Helsinki Airport is located between gates 36 and 37. So coming from the [email protected] Lounge I had to walk through a long corridor leading to gates 32-40.

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Terminal 2 Helsinki Airport

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Terminal 2 Helsinki Airport walkway

After a roughly five minute walk I found myself between gates 36 and 37, where the lounge is located.

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Terminal 2 Helsinki Airport non-Schengen gates

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Terminal 2 Helsinki Airport non-Schengen gates

The doors to the lounge opened right as I walked up.

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Finnair Lounge Helsinki Airport

The friendly associate at the reception desk scanned my boarding pass and pointed me left towards the Finnair Premium Lounge. I reviewed the regular Finnair Lounge back in 2013 and found it to be very nice, so was curious what the premium lounge was like. For what it’s worth, the premium lounge is for oneworld Sapphire & Emerald members, while the other lounge is for business class passengers.

The Finnair Premium Lounge opened in mid-2014, and is perhaps best known for the fact that it has a sauna. More on that later.

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Finnair Lounge reception Helsinki Airport

The entrance to the Finnair Premium Lounge was located to the left of the reception desk.

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Finnair Premium Lounge entrance Helsinki Airport

The decor was modern and fresh, in a very Northern European way, which I really loved. All the finishes were subtle colors, but came together nicely. The mood lighting in the lounge also added a nice touch.

Right by the entrance was the buffet, and then behind that was a large seating area.

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Finnair Premium Lounge seating Helsinki Airport

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Finnair Premium Lounge seating Helsinki Airport

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Finnair Premium Lounge seating Helsinki Airport

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Finnair Premium Lounge seating Helsinki Airport

There were drapes between sections for added privacy, so on the other side of the drapes was more seating, with a slightly different design.

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Finnair Premium Lounge seating Helsinki Airport

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Finnair Premium Lounge seating Helsinki Airport

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Finnair Premium Lounge seating Helsinki Airport

This section had a small drink station with a coffee machine and soft drinks (there’s a better coffee machine at the buffet, so I wouldn’t recommend using this one).

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Finnair Premium Lounge coffee & drink station Helsinki Airport

Between those two sections was a small business center with four iMacs.

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Finnair Premium Lounge business center Helsinki Airport

Then in the back left corner of the lounge was a section with dining tables, which was partitioned off from the rest of the lounge by some plants.

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Finnair Premium Lounge dining area Helsinki Airport

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Finnair Premium Lounge dining area Helsinki Airport

Up a set of stairs in the back of the lounge was some more relaxing seating, along with some day beds. The chairs faced the tarmac, not that there was much to see in the pitch dark. I also liked that there were drapes between every two seats for added privacy.

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Finnair Premium Lounge relaxation area Helsinki Airport

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Finnair Premium Lounge relaxation area Helsinki Airport

On the upper level there was also a station with juice and soft drinks.

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Finnair Premium Lounge drink station Helsinki Airport

The main buffet was located near the entrance, and was staffed. In other words, liquor, espresso, soft drinks, juice, etc., were offered by the server. Interestingly the server didn’t actually seem to bring things to people, but rather just handed things to guests over the bar counter.

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Finnair Premium Lounge buffet Helsinki Airport

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Finnair Premium Lounge buffet Helsinki Airport

There was also an extensive liquor selection available.

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Finnair Premium Lounge drink selection Helsinki Airport

There was, however, self serve champagne on offer.

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Finnair Premium Lounge champagne Helsinki Airport

The mugs and napkins at the buffet were quirky, similar to what Finnair offers onboard.

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Finnair Premium Lounge buffet Helsinki Airport

The buffet consisted of a hot spread, including scrambled eggs, hash browns, and blueberry crepes.

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Finnair Premium Lounge breakfast spread Helsinki Airport

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Finnair Premium Lounge breakfast spread Helsinki Airport

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Finnair Premium Lounge breakfast spread Helsinki Airport

The cold spread consisted of cheese, cold cuts, and a limited number of veggies.

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Finnair Premium Lounge breakfast spread Helsinki Airport

Then there were a few types of cereal, as well as bread and pastries.

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Finnair Premium Lounge breakfast spread Helsinki Airport

Lastly, there was some sort of berry compote as well as fruit salad with yogurt.

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Finnair Premium Lounge breakfast spread Helsinki Airport

The crepe was delicious, for what it’s worth.

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Finnair Premium Lounge breakfast Helsinki Airport

The most interesting feature of the lounge is the sauna, which is located outside the door to the premium lounge and to the right.

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Finnair Premium Lounge sauna & showers Helsinki Airport

The shower & sauna area is quite nice, and feels like an upscale locker room, or perhaps even spa.

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Finnair Premium Lounge sauna & showers Helsinki Airport

There’s a single sauna, which I imagine is quite nice to use, given the temperatures in Helsinki for much of the year.

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Finnair Lounge sauna Helsinki Airport

There were also shower rooms, which were functional though not especially luxurious. They each featured a sink, toilet, and shower, and were well stocked with quite a few amenities.

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Finnair Lounge shower room Helsinki Airport

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Finnair Lounge shower room Helsinki Airport

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Finnair Lounge shower room toiletries Helsinki Airport

My flight was scheduled to depart from gate 32 at 8AM, with boarding scheduled for 7:20AM. So I left the lounge at 7:10AM, and a few minutes later found myself at the gate. Finnair had pretty clear signage in terms of premium boarding.

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Finnair departure gate Helsinki Airport

The gate area was surprisingly empty for an Airbus A340, though it quickly began to fill up at around 7:20AM.

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Finnair departure gate Helsinki Airport

Boarding was delayed a few minutes, and shortly after 7:25AM business class boarding was finally called.

Finnair Premium Lounge Helsinki Airport bottom line

Helsinki Airport in general is an absolute pleasure to travel through, and the Finnair Lounge is no exception. The Premium Lounge is certainly nice, though I’m not sure it’s that much nicer than the standard lounge. The sauna in the Finnair Lounge is one of the cooler features out there, and I’d love to use it the next time I’m passing through the airport. It’s definitely a unique amenity compared to some of the best airline lounges in the world.

Would you ever consider using a sauna in an airline lounge?

  1. Is it a co-ed sauna? Or where is it located exactly? What are you expected to wear while in it?

    Seems kind of odd to only have one since typically people don’t wear anything other than a towel in a sauna.

  2. It’s a mixed-sex sauna located between the premium and regular lounge, open to use by guests of either lounge. Wearing or sitting on a towel seems to be the way to go, I wouldn’t recommend wearing any clothing.

  3. I found this lounge to be the busiest lounge I’ve ever been to.
    Guests typically do a swarm of locusts impersonation towards the food area, and seating is hard to find.

  4. I suspect most Americans, Brits and probably Asians would wear swimming attire in the sauna. Europeans, particularly Finns, would show it all off. I’m guessing it’s more of a novelty than anything else as I suspect few people–outside of Finns–use the sauna. It’s just too awkward, if you ask me. I also see considerable liability, at least in the U.S. context with a same-sex sauna and no apparent age limit. A minor child could easily claim an adult fondled himself or herself or engaged in otherwise lewd behavior.

    Overall, I’m surprised by how new and lean the lounge looks two years after its opening.

  5. Not only did I giggle at Randy’s comment about Steamworks (I know where Keith’s mind is, too!), I giggled at the prudish comments about the coed sauna …. and moreover at the thought of Lucky, who is known to get squeamish in a hotel room knowing that strangers have slept in the bed and even had sex in the bed, using a sauna wrapped in a towel or bathrobe while other naked men and women and children are having casual or even anonymous conversation!

  6. Wow, I really like the cool, understated design of the lounge. The food seems to be a bit limited and all on the heavy side, though.

    The plumbing in the shower room looks creative. Was there a separate shower head next to the toilet, to be used as a bidet of sorts?

  7. You might be surprised to know that there is an average of one sauna per household in Finland. This is a place for physical and mental rejuvenation and a necessary part of daily life. I was born in a sauna, which is less common today but was very common in the past. It’s interesting that Finns see the sauna as an important part of our culture and, reading some of the comments here, Americans see it as a sexual crime scene.

  8. The premium lounge looks much improved since my last visit ca. 2 years ago. The food and beverages especially look much more generous and appealing. But oh, the spa they used to have–four different sauna/steam rooms (the dry heat with scented pine branches was especially nice). Between each bout of heat you could wade in a cold-water trough paved with smooth pebbles for a nice foot massage, or soak in a pool–hot? Cool? Who remembers, between jet lag and spa-brain? And that was just the free facilities–there was an extensive menu of paid treatments available. It was fabulous–more than once I flew to Paris via Helsinki just for the excursion (and the lower fare). Helsinki is also a city worth visiting.

  9. The sauna’s absolutely amazing – used it last year when transiting through HEL. The business class lounge has some off-peak hours promotion for travelers who wish to pay for access which isn’t much

  10. My dad is from Finland and was also born in a sauna! When he moved to California he had a sauna installed in our home. Agree with Arto that the sauna is a big part of Finnish culture. Can’t wait for the rest of the Finnair review!

  11. @Arto: some Americans see the world as a sexual crime scene.

    I love the idea that 4 strangers in a small room is so rife with danger than it will lead to “accusations”. The accusations would occur in Finland, where sensible people would likely shut down the drama before it escalated. Sensible people are good at deescalation.

    @Lucky: the Finnair sauna is possibly the most appealing “hard product” feature of any lounge you have reviewed. I would strip naked, grab a towel and enjoy this feature in a heartbeat.

    I was “born again” in a sauna 😉

  12. I would go into the sauna, if I had time, but remember, in Finnland you go naked into the sauna and it is mixed gender….. Thats comon in Europe.

  13. @Arto: That’s probably because most of the hetreosexual brothels and homosexual sex clubs in America masquerade as spas or saunas.

  14. You got quite a quiet moment there. They actually do serve the champagne as well, there’s often a lady behind the counter (the first buffer photo) serving customers. But as you probably know, Finns are very self-service oriented so having the bottle available for customers to self-service and someone filling the glass for you is considered “pretty much the same”.

    I don’t know what kind of meal schedules they run but usually it looks more appealing than in these photos. Or perhaps it’s just a breakfast vs. lunch/dinner thing.

  15. What are you supposed to do with your bags when you’re in the sauna? They’re going to be out of your control. I didn’t see any lockers.

  16. Hahahaha. Americans (well, I guess it’s an Anglo thing) are so funny about this naked = sexytime thing. Surely the main point is that saunaing is a lot more comfortable without wearing clothes!

  17. Are there any true flights to Helsinki on Finnair booking with AA miles … I get this message whenever I try to book …”The flight you selected is no longer available. Please modify your request.”

  18. Lucky, what you could have probably done on this trip was take the Finair direct Helsinki-Delhi, and then taken your connect back to LA from Delhi on the new Air India 787 route. You could have skipped the Heathrow stop over, which I think you’ve reviewed many times.

  19. Well I have to report I have just used the sauna and it was divine! I had stored up the sauna info in my brain after reading this review. It is avail for both premium and business lounge customers. having an 8 hour layover here I am Not just exhausted but bored witless waiting for my flight to Hong Kong, still 3 hours away!

    After the big hit of European flight passengers departed both lounges at around 6 it has been virtually empty here which is apparently the way it is most evenings.

    So I checked the sauna out, noted happily that no one was using it and away I went. It seems that about 4 people could fit in although a squeeze. I Confess I might be uncomfortable if even one had turned up! There is a lockable cupboard in the change room and there are also locker lockers behind the reception area.

    I feel refreshed and relaxed and it was a great thing to try! Only in Helsinki hey!

  20. Apparently its open for finnair platinum or gold, but only for one word emerald.
    writing this review from the finnair lounge, as a one world sapphire, i was not given access to premium lounge.However the regular lounge and sauna was accessible.

  21. I am a Finn and I think the sauna is strange. This is a Premium Lounge for all and they put a common household sauna in? And just one coed? Even I don’t know what should I do – take a towel with me or not? But it would not matter too much, the two showers are just opposite the glass door to the sauna so everyone sitting would be giving you points for your showering style. The architech must have been drunk drawing this. Of course you can rush back to the private shower cabinet but anyway this kind of layout is very odd. They should have had two of these small saunas, one for the ladies and one for the gents as every spa/water park has.

    Has anyone had to use the private shower cabinet toilets sitting? How did you reach the toilet paper ON THE OPPOSITE WALL almost two meters from you…? Not sure when the designers started drinking, before the sauna or the cabinets…

  22. I have a question for anyone who has recently been there? Have the pool and other sauna rooms been removed to make way for the premium lounge? Do they exist anymore. I wanted to take a swim to cool down (Finnish saunas are notoriously hot) and then jump back into the sauna to sweat. Thanks.

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