An initiative by

An initiative by

22 Nov 2011
Francoise Lin

Helsinki airport Shenghen lounge, need YOUR feedback

My attention was drawn a couple of weeks ago to the quality offered by the Shenghen lounge at Helsinki airport.


I have been visiting it a couple of times now, however I was at the lounge at odd times, not at peak time. I therefore would like to share with you a summary of the critics  received about the lounge and would really appreciate if -having used the Shenghen lounge- you could share your views and comments on the below:

-”the Finnair home airport’s (Helsinki) lounge at the Schengen side is probably the lowest in quality of at least the lounges in the other Nordic airport Finnair access lounges.”

-”sometimes there is not enough staff to register the people coming in so that you have to wait in queue”

-”once you get in you start finding a place to sit in is difficult, especially during the morning hours 6:30-8:30 the place is crowded and you may have to sit in a place which is too far away from the place where the food is. ”

-at early times “you normally won’t get any newspaper as there are too few of them.”

-the food:” the breakfast menu is quite poor, there is some bread, one type of cheese and one type of ham and lettuce. Maybe also some jam. Then there is fruit salad and yogurt. And coffee and juice. OK, to be fair the things offered in Stockholm Arlanda are not any better but in Oslo and Copenhagen the menu is better and the places are not so packed like in Helsinki.”

-”Comparing Finnair lounges in Scandinavia, difference is the access with Finnair Gold/platinum card to better parts of the lounge.”

-”Platinum and Gold card holders don’t get a specific part of the Helsinki airport lounge!”

Do you agree with all or parts of these comments? thanks!

  • 22 Nov 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Hey Francoise,

    I have visited the Finnair lounges a few times but haven’t visited others in the Scandinavian countries.

    I think that paying customers who are granted access to these lounges should be provided with exclusive service:

    1. good food.

    2. internet connection

    3. variety of drinks

    4. smiles at the entrance

    5. work stations with comfortable chairs

    Some other points as well.

    They should focus to perfect these points and later move on to other issues.

    The food wasn’t so good and variety quite low.

    I would expect as a business-class or high-tier customer something more.

    About internet, I suggested before some backup systems. The rest was good enough for me.

    Hope what I wrote is enough, what do you think?


  • Gavinda Jayasinghe
    23 Nov 2011 at 4:46 am

    All valid points you bring up Francoise. I think there should be a certain level of consistency and conformity to standards between all the Finnair lougnes in Scandinavia. For example, if extra benefits can be availed of by Platinum/Gold card holders in other Scandinavian Finnair lounges, the same option should also be given in Helsinki.

    People do like change, but when it comes to service they want things to remain consistent and normal, so they know what kind of service and benefits one can expect. Therefore, if a passenger can obtain multiple benefits in one Finnair lounge, but feels another Finnair lounge does not offer the same facilities, then disappointment might set in.

    The objective should be to put the passenger at ease, and make him feel comfortable and give him a clear indication of what to expect at a lounge. In order to do that the level of service offered and the amenities at each of Finnair’s lounges should remain consistent and not vary a great deal. :-)

  • Francoise Lin
    26 Nov 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Hello Yuval and Gavinda, many thanks for your input. I think it is very important that Helsinki Airport carry on benchmarking with their competitors on Schenghen side, on the lounge offer. Feedback are not positive enough from business travellers, on short hauls and performing many day returns, business trips over very short periods (which imply starting at dawn returning at dusk)

    Once again thanks for reading me at a moment when readers are concentrating on qhideas :o )

  • Susanne Metzger
    26 Nov 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Hi Françoise

    Since I never had the chance to enjoy lounges I can discuss the topic only in theory. However consistency is very important for all customers. It really seems strange to once get a big variety and excellent service and the next time limited options. It seems as if Finnair does not have an overall concept which I would expect. The quality level should be the same for all branches not only in Scandinavia.

  • Ana Silva O'Reilly
    27 Nov 2011 at 11:28 pm

    Hi Françoise

    All the things you mention are what a frequent flyer would expect.. dont understand how this sort of thing still happens, clearly when the airline and ground services do know quite well how many people are booked on flights, which class, cards etc and not difficult to pre-plan… i understand it may be challenging, but easy to get around! And surely there should be 2 types of lounges.. what other airlines call the silver/business and then one for first/gold, slightly different ;) but both should have what you mention..

  • Jacek Klemens
    28 Nov 2011 at 10:36 am

    Hello Francoise,

    I am so happy you come back to this interesting topic ! To be honest I like this lounge from your post ! I have never been there but wrote some words about it as a comment to your very interesting review a few weeks ago but it was when the discussions came to the newest posts.

    Here it is what I wrote and I am very curious what do you think about the idea ? I sent it yesterday as an idea for Finnair.

    This lounge is very huge, isn’t it? But it’s still very cosy. But anyway I like it also, becuse of these special designed areas for different activities. I was happy to see, that there is also a corner where you can use a computer, when you do not have yours at the moment ! Great idea !

    How about one more service there ? What would you say about organizing in such lounges special silent areas with little rooms with a bed where people who are tired after a long journey or/and before a business meeting and still on their way could simply rest or sleep a little bit ? It could be open for 4-6 hours. I see this as a solution when there is to short time to go to the hotel, but long enough to sleep. It might be free for the first class passengers or some status cards’ holders and for other passengers additionaly paid. System would be programmed for waking up the travelers when entering the area at the recepion in the lounge. If there is a Spa at the airport so maybe such service may also be there ? I am looking forward what you think about it ?

    Greetings from Warsaw : )


  • Xavier R-O
    30 Nov 2011 at 12:06 am

    I have been several times to the 3 Schengen lounges in HEL, they are all equally bad. Just that SAS is perhaps less crowded. As long as lounge is seen as a “cost centre” and not as a “profit centre”, it will just provide basic features because the big boss said to cut costs by 10% and the rent is fixed etc…

    The design is great, new, original etc. and that certainly flatters the ego of finnair brand managers to have such a nice design, but what travellers want before all is something functional: good varied and tasty food, varied quality drinks (foamless draft beer and draft wine with foam, anyone?), ample function seating places, no queues, internet that works, plugs readily available, choice of papers with enough quantity, enough restrooms… that’s how a lounge is first judged at! if all these requirements are met, yes, a great design and a nice atmosphere can be a plus.

    SAS Scandinavian lounges (for Star Alliance Gold members) are the example to follow in the Nordics.

  • Lauri Heiskanen
    01 Dec 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Hi Francoise,

    I have been to this lounge a litlle less than ten times, but only once during the peak hours of the morning. However, I have to say I’ve never experienced most of the negative comments you quote from the reviews.

    I really like the design and the excellent views of the runways in this lounge. I have never ever had any trouble finding a seat or having to wait to get in to the lounge (maybe I’ve just been lucky). Some of the seats are, indeed, quite far away from the food and the drinks, but I don’t see this as a huge drawback. I personally enjoy the more quiet zone and the comfy sofas at the back of the lounge. The internet has always worked well, there is a plenty of power points for me and I have been able to grab my favourite newspaper every time.

    I do agree that the poor standard of food and drinks offerings is a huge drawback. The selection of food has far too often been limited to simply green salad and bread, sometimes some soup. That just is not good enough compared to other lounges in Scandinavia, and the Finnair non-Schengen lounge.

    The quotes about Finnar Gold and Platinum customers having access to “a better part pf the lounge” probably refers to the time about a year ago, when this lounge was less than half of the size it is now. If I remember right, regular business class passengers then had to use the Gateway Tower lounge next to this one.

    In any way, I think Finnair should send the management responsible for the lounges to have a look at the BA lounges at Heathrow T5. They could really learn a lesson or two about what to serve in a lounge.

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