For a three-day visit of the Kainuu region of Finland, it was evident that Finnair would be the airline of reference. After a very short night (I came back from Iran the previous night at 21:40), I was on the road again to Brussels Airport.
The flight was announced on time. The contrary would have been surprising since the aircraft had spent the night at Brussels Airport.
Boarding from gate 59 was on time, 20 minutes before departure, by groups (business first, then back of the plane, and my group last). Nothing to worry about since I had only a small backpack fitting under the seat, which I had selected on the Internet beforehand.
Flight: Finnair AY1550
Date: 05 Nov 2018
Aircraft: Nordic Regional Airlines (NORRA) Embraer E190 OH-LKG
From-To: Brussels – Helsinki (BRU-HEL)
Scheduled/Effective Time of Departure: 07:30/07:28 (GMT+1)
Scheduled/Effective Time of Arrival: 11:00/10:50 (GMT+2)
Scheduled/Effective Duration of the flight: 2 hr 30 min/2 hr 22 min
Load factor was around 80%. Three cabin crew for a capacity of 100 seats is nice.
Pushback on time and take-off from 25R which is not far away from the gate.
Nice sunrise shortly after take-off.
Free drinks were available: coffee/tea, water and the typical blueberry juice. I selected the coffee and the juice, and ordered a rye sandwich with ham and cheese from the menu. Notice the Marimekko design of the cup and napkin.
Early landing in Helsinki on runway 15 and exit on gate 29.
One hour and 20 minutes to change planes in Helsinki is very comfortable and the walk to gate 21A is not too long, with a lot of shops on both sides.
Gate 21A is under Gate 21, at the tarmac level, which means that we would be bussed to the plane.
Flight: Finnair AY645
Date: 05 Nov 2018
Aircraft: Danish Air Transport ATR72-500 SE-MDC
From-To: Helsinki – Kajaani (HEL-KAJ)
Scheduled/Effective Time of Departure: 12:10/12:05 (GMT+2)
Scheduled/Effective Time of Arrival: 13:30/13:30 (GMT+2)
Scheduled/Effective Duration of the flight: 1 hr 20 min/1 hr 25 min
Finnair had texted 2 days in advance that the flight would be operated by DAT instead of NORRA. But the plane was the same ATR72-500. It would serve not only Kajaani, but also Jyväskylä. The laod factor was a mere 50%.
Boarding, pushback and take-off (from runway 22L) on time. Again a nice free blueberry juice on board, and, just before landing, a first view of the multiple lakes and forests of Kainuu region.
Landing on runway 25 and taxiing to the airport on the same runway. No danger: there are only 4 flights a day.
After three days in the Kainuu region, it was time to fly back to Brussels. Check-in at the small airport of Kajaani was quick and easy. But the flight to Helsinki was announced with 40 minutes delay. With only one hour and 10 minutes to change planes in Helsinki, I felt that it was going to be sharp. When the delay increased to one hour, it was going to be even sharper. The check-in agent put a “short connection” label on my bag: fortunately!
The incoming flight eventually arrived 47 minutes late. The turn around time was short.
Flight: Finnair AY416
Date: 7 Nov 2018
Aircraft: Nordic Regional Airlines (NORRA) ATR72-500 OH-ATP
From-To: Kajaani – Helsinki (KAJ-HEL)
Seat: 5D (window)
Scheduled/Effective Time of Departure: 17:35/18:28 (GMT+2)
Scheduled/Effective Time of Arrival: 18:55/19:40 (GMT+2)
Scheduled/Effective Duration of the flight: 1 hr 20 min/1 hr 12 min
Boarding was obviously very quick, despite the 100% load factor.
Late take-off from runway 25. Another nice blueberry juice on board, and a quick descent into Helsinki on runway 15, then a bus to the terminal. We could make up some of the delay and had 25 minutes to find our gate 24.
Flight: Finnair AY1549
Date: 7 Nov 2018
Aircraft: Nordic Regional Airlines (NORRA) Embraer E190 OH-LKL
From-To: Helsinki – Brussels (HEL-BRU)
Scheduled/Effective Time of Departure: 20:05/19:58 (GMT+2)
Scheduled/Effective Time of Arrival: 21:40/21:35 (GMT+1)
Scheduled/Effective Duration of the flight: 2 hr 35 min/2 hr 37 min
Guess what? We departed EARLY! The transit time in Helsinki was damn short and even our baggage made it.
The Embraer had a load factor of 80%. Take off from runway 22R.
Once at cruising altitude, I ordered a nice Asian meal in addition to the free blueberry juice.
Landing on the unusual runway 19. On-time arrival.
End of the trip. Kudos to Finnair on the handling of a long delay and a sharp connection.
For a full report on the visit of the Kainuu region, please read this destination report: