May 22, 2024

Finnair’s elevated long haul experience

Gold Cabin Concept of the Year 2022 winner

Launched: February 2022

Finnair will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2023. In 2017 this project was started to elevate Finnair’s positioning within market, bolster its position as airline of choice between Europe and Asia and elevate its customer experience. A new travel class, Premium Economy is also introduced to Finnair for the first time. Finnair plans to refit all aircraft in time for its anniversary.

The project also allows Finnair to provide a consistent customer experience between A330 and A350 aircraft which is very important particularly to the corporate market. The new seats also keep simplicity and ease of maintenance in mind, with many common parts between seats and aircraft.

Interior design

Finnair’s new interiors are inspired by the best of Nordic design, residential furniture design and nature. Rethinking what an aircraft interior can be, the typical hard metal surfaces and edges are replaced with curves, natural materials and embracing rich textile.

Overall the cabins were kept neutral in colour. They are light and airy in all classes as passengers look forward to create the perception of space, but then darker and moodier as passengers settle into their individual seat space. In Business Class, walls are lined with felt textile panel, which helps to soften the cabin environment and acoustics.

All cabin elements were carefully integrated to create as clean and seamless look as possible, in line with Nordic design principles. Cabin lighting has been specially designed to reflect the light of the Nordics and also combat the effects of jetlag.

The experience starts at the main entrance door, where passengers are greeted by a moody lobby space, featuring a credenza unit and large rounded mirror. While the space is first and foremost a fully functioning galley area, all of functional work surfaces are discreetly hidden behind a set of louvred doors.

Business features the new AirLounge, a new first-to-market concept. This is more of ‘space’ rather than a ‘seat’. By moving away from traditional actuation and recline mechanisms and through the use of contoured 3D shells, a large open space is created. Panels at the bottom of the seat flip up to create one large flat surface to create a market leading bed in the sky.

Premium Economy and Economy also feature new seats, highly customised for Finnair and in an all-new look and feel, which is rolled out across cabins and also to key airport touchpoints.


The Business AirLounge seat allows the passenger to get into positions that many other seats do not allow. The large space allows for freedom and flexibility of movement, for example sitting cross legged or on your side. With flexible tray table, ample storage, and a strong Nordic and residential aesthetic, the space is often referred to as a ‘nest’ and is a home away from home.

Premium Economy also features a first to market seat that was heavily customised for Finnair. The dimensions and proportions of the seat were specifically optimised for Finnair’s A330 and A350 to maximise space and comfort. Featuring eight inch recline, waterfall legrest, six-way headrest complimented with a neck pillow, passengers can get an excellent level of comfort and sleep quality relative to price point and footprint in cabin.

Ergonomics have been carefully considered in all cabin classes, with numerous tests and studies carried out throughout development. All seats, including economy, feature memory foam cushions. Moodlighting has been specially designed to create a sense of calm in the cabin help to combat the effects of jetlag.

In all cabin classes, in-seat storage has been carefully considered. All compartments have been certified for taxi, take-off and landing so customers can get settled as soon as they get to their seat. In Business and Premium Economy there are dedicated pockets for laptops for example, so customers do not need to go in and out of overhead bins before and after critical phases of flight.

Comfort items are developed in partnership with design house Marimekko. In Business passengers get two pillows, a duvet and mattress. In premium Economy there is a woven blanket with specially designed neck pillow, while economy receive a fleece blanket and pillow. All textiles feature iconic prints from Marimekko’s archive.


As part of the elevated long-haul experience Finnair is renewing the service and meal concept in Business and introducing a bespoke concept for the new Premium Economy focusing on quality and choice.

Business passengers will enjoy a premium meal and beverage offering building on Nordic heritage with Japanese and Asian influences, including an up to six-course meal in modern bistro-style and another lighter meal. Finnair offers selection of hot and cold dishes, and customers can customise their dining experience. For those who want to maximize rest Finnair offers ‘short cut’, an express menu. The meals and drinks are served on new chinaware and glassware designed exclusively for Finnair by top Finnish designer Harri Koskinen and Finnish design icon, Iittala. In between meals customers can enjoy the stunning new refreshment area with snacks and drinks located at the main entrance of the aircraft.

Premium Economy customers enjoy a quality casual dining experience with two meal services as well as a selection of complimentary drinks throughout the flight. A three-course meal will be served on the new chinaware. There is also a light meal service just before landing.

In all classes and concepts sustainability is in the core. Finnair avoids food waste both in its food production and onboard. Sustainability is also in focus when choosing ingredients and it avoids over-catering.


Seat power and connectivity has been carefully considered for all classes. Business is fitted with a wireless Qi charger for mobile phones, conveniently placed on the cocktail table, amongst the first in industry to do so. The seat also comes with USB A&C, PC power and a large high definition 18” monitor.

The Inflight Entertainment has been completely redesigned from the ground up. The software and user interface is developed in house as opposed to using the suppliers default software that the vast majority of airlines use. Careful attention has been paid to useability and screen responsiveness, with a new highly interactive moving map and flight journey display. The system is loaded with ample supply of the latest movies, series, music and games.

The inflight entertainment system has also been carefully integrated to the overall aircraft experience. The interface is deliberately kept dark (i.e. with black backgrounds) to minimise screen glare and light pollution, particularly beneficial for night flights. There is also interactivity from the crew through the IFE, for example push messaging of when the northern lights show takes place or for personalised messaging of disruption info and flight connections. Through the IFE, light settings of the Business seats can be controlled centrally so that all of the lighting features and do not disturb indicator can be reset consistently, for example during turnaround.

All of Finnair’s widebody aircraft are equipped with high speed internet so customers can stay connected. Business customers receive 30 minutes connection complimentary and there are a variety of reasonably priced packages for customers to select.

Service/ crew

Service onboard has been re-thought to take into account the ambition of elevating long haul service and the introduction of premium economy. Business now features warm and attentive personalised service, with crew members serving in their own ‘dedicated area’ so that customers get the same crewmember throughout the duration of the flight.

All crewmembers are issued with iPhones featuring specially developed software and tools that allow them to keep up with all the latest info, customer seating allocations, profiles and preferences. Hight tier frequent flyers will get a personal greeting from the purser, irrespective of cabin class.

Ahead of the launch of the new elevated long haul experience, all crew members receive a dedicated training package on the ground to go through the new service, concepts and cabin products. The training centre is equipped with production quality mock-ups of all new seating products so crew are well versed ahead of flight with customers.


Sustainability is very important to Finnair as it aims to become carbon neutral by 2045. All cabin products are carefully scrutinised for weight and every seat feature that went into the new cabin had to be fully justified in terms of weight and fuel burn. Wherever possible, cabin finishes have been selected with sustainability in mind, for example the recycled polyester hard wearing carpets in economy class, to the natural wool textile used in seats and curtains.

Service elements are also designed with weight in mind – the new ‘Kulas’ chinaware collection used in premium cabins is 20% lighter than the equipment it replaces. The use of single use plastics have been almost eliminated throughout the long haul experience – for example in economy class, cutlery is wooden and the main meal will be served in a cardboard carton box.

Recycled materials have also been used in comfort items – for example business class slippers, premium economy woven blanket and the neck pillow filling is made 100% from polyester.

Finnair’s sustainability mission is a journey and additional sustainability elements will be brought in on a continual basis as stocks and product renewals allow. Any remaining or disused product are responsibly disposed, whether that be by selling remaining product and/or donating to charitable foundations for a second life and as a last resort, recycling.