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Finnair Launches First Non-Stops from Los Angeles to Helsinki

The Nordic carrier sees a burgeoning market in entertainment and computer gaming bolstered by three flights a week from LAX

Travelers with business or leisure plans in Finland and beyond are now able to get to Helsinki on Finnair via a new flight from LAX. It’s the first and only non-stop between Los Angeles and Helsinki.

The A350 service was launched this week with a thrice weekly schedule on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.  The launch was celebrated with a lavish party at a West Hollywood hotel.

According to Johanna Jakala, vice president, brand marketing for Finnair, the carrier has its eyes on daily service out of Los Angeles in the near future.

Business class passengers will find plenty to like aboard Finnair. The carrier’s A350 offers two configurations in its forward business class cabin.  One is with 1-2-1 seating and the other is 2-2-1 all with lie flat seats. Business class amenities include the allowance of three pieces of checked luggage of 70 pounds each as well as a smaller carry-on.

At LAX, business class passengers have access to the Qantas Lounge, with priority check-in, priority security screening and priority boarding included. Internet service is free for the first hour and members associated awards programs continue free throughout the flight.  Otherwise, the tab is 20 euros.  

Dining is an affair on Finnair.  For starters, tableware and textiles are designed by Finland’s famous Marimekko. Then comes the choices. There’s an optional Express Meal for light eaters or a full course dinner. Inflight there’s self-service snack service in the galley/bar. For those who prefer to sleep through most of the 10 ½ hour flight to Helsinki, it’s easy to pre-order breakfast and be wakened when it’s ready to be served.

Business class passengers on the  LAX to Helsinki route have a choice of three menus – Wellness & Energy, Food Lover’s Treat or Chef’s Gourmet that includes, if desired, reindeer tenderloin.

Finnair is also making some additions to its summer program for the San Francisco and Chicago routes. Both routes will begin this month, and a fourth frequency will be added for San Francisco as of May.

The new routes will be operated within an Atlantic partnership between Finnair, American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia. The partnership provides customers with additional flight choices, better connections and better pricing on transatlantic routes. Currently, the four airlines operate more than 100 daily return flights between Europe and North America.

If, somehow, Finland doesn’t ring bells as a center for business and industry, the country’s Consul General in Los Angeles, Stefan Lindstrom, is quick to set the record straight. For one thing, the country has instituted a generous incentive program to lure in the entertainment industry – production companies shooting for TV, commercials, features are welcomed (note: the popular Netflix series Bordetown is filmed in Finland).  

As well, Helsinki is something of a gaming capital – make that video gaming capital.  It’s those electronic games. Stefan boasts, that the top 10 selling games in the mobile platform industry are Finnish-made. One local company alone generates $7 million a day, he confides.

Beyond those two reasons to do business in Finland are its reputation for quality technology in production and R&D and work in clean energy such as renewable fuels.

Finnair also should be looked at for travel beyond just Finland, says Johanna.  “It’s a great way to book short and efficient flights throughout the Scandinavian countries, of course, but on to northern Europe including Russia.”

But don’t sell Finland short as a leisure destination, either, says the Consul General.  There’s much more to the country than Northern Lights, Arctic Blue Gin and reindeer rides.  “Finland is really a cool place,” he quips.