To Fly

Airline Review: Finnair

Airline Review: Finnair

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For anyone who knows us or who has read the blog recently, you’ll know how in love we are with Finland and why we think it truly is Europe’s best kept secret – so who said coming and going can’t be just as fun?

Rarely we do have very positive experiences with an airline, and I mean rarely. Thats not to say that every flight we take is a nightmare, but the vast majority of flights do their job in moving us from point A to point B in one piece, or worse case, there is a delay, luggage issue or some other unforeseen problem. Flying from Helsinki to Prague earlier this year we headed to the Helsinki Airport early one morning anticipating an average flight experience, however from the second we entered the airport we knew something about Finnair was different.

FYI: Finnair operates daily shuttles from right outside the Helsinki Central Railway Station that will drop you off right at your terminal. For only a few euros it was a perfect option for us and easier than we imagined.

To start off everyone was exceedingly friendly, and not in a forced way and not overly polite, just downright friendly, and this lasted from the moment we checked in, to the counter staff, Finnair lounge staff, flight crew and stewards, everyone was nothing but helpful, bright and a joy to be around – quite unseen in aviation today.

We ended up arriving to the airport early enough to justify visiting the Finnair lounge for a couple hours before our flight, which ended up being an excellent choice. Complete with free, fast wifi, a complete and impressive breakfast spread, chairs, couches and tables of every size, and most importantly peace and quiet. The lounge is topped off with its own flight schedule with up to the minute flight details, which kept our stress level down and allowed us to relax in the lounge until right before we walked onto the plane.

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“…they have truly found a loyal customer for life and we will always look for Finnair as our first option, we just hope it means we are flying back to Finland.”

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Walking down the walkway to enter the plane we were honestly not expecting much, as we were simply on a short haul flight from Helsinki to Prague. We were lucky enough to have been kindly moved from economy seating to business class, which was totally unnecessary, but again, the kindness of the staff was everywhere. We were close to the first ones on the plane and thrilled with the seemingly extra leg room and comfortable chairs. The business class wasn’t over the top like on some airlines, after all it was a small plane, but to say we were uncomfortable would be a complete lie, it was actually the most comfortable and roomy I had ever been on a flight.

Our flight was on time leaving, arrived early and it was without a doubt the smoothest flight experience we have ever had. No luggage issues, we carried on our bags no issue, no delays, hiccups or anything else to speak of.

Ironically, a few weeks later we needed to fly again and after such a wonderful experience on Finnair the first time we chose it again. This time we did not sit in first class and were shocked to find the economy seats JUST as spacious and comfortable as those in first. I have never been on a flight on any airline (and we’ve flown on 27 already in 2014!) that had as comfortable an economy seating as Finnair did, they have truly found a loyal customer for life and we will always look for Finnair as our first option, and we can only hope we are flying back to Finland – the kindness and hospitality are truly endless.

But don’t take our work for it! Check out this awesome video that Finnair shot recently when they launched their new route from Helsinki to China, I think it helps to illustrate how exactly they go the extra mile in their service and their smiles. With all the stress of travel, when you board an airplane it really is all the little things that make the difference in your flying experience, and step after step Finnair seemed to be right there, with an easy, friendly or fun way to make our journey a little brighter.

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Photo provided via Flickr by takoyaki 77

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jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

Airline Review: Wizzair

Airline Review: Wizz Air

Budapest had been on our list of cities in Europe to visit, but it wasn’t until this year that we found ourselves close enough to pay the city a visit. And while we have flown on some of the most popular budget airlines in Europe this year, we also hadn’t heard of Hungarian’s most popular budget airline, Wizz Air, until this year either. Easily the cheapest option to and from Budapest from countless cities, we chose to book our outbound travel from Budapest to Istanbul with Wizz Air.

We found a super cheap one way flight, however we made the mistake of waiting to purchase the seats and although they went up in price a bit they were still the cheapest option. As with any budget airline, the single most important thing to a problem free journey is making sure you sign up for every available add on you will need on your flight. We always travel light so we opted to check one small suitcase each as well as each paying a little extra for a large in-cabin backpack.

Unfortunately, we make the mistake of thinking Marina’s purse wouldn’t count as a cabin bag, and even though one small cabin bag is free, if you bring two, you’ll pay for both. Important note to remember, ALWAYS make sure to include your add ons when you purchase your ticket instead of showing up to the airport with an extra bag. Marina’s purse was going to cost an additional 70 euros, more than the flight itself, so we had to make room in our checked bag for it before completing the check in process. Note that the 70 euro price is a penalty price for adding a bag last minute, and not the normal rate if booked ahead of time.

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“We were happily surprised to find that Wizzair allows the most weight for checked bags of any budget airline…”

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TIP: If you are flying into Turkey as we were, remember to apply for and pay for your Turkish visa online before arrival. Starting April 1, you must buy your visa online prior to arrival. $20 US per person.

Speaking of checked bags, we have to admit that while the 70 euro additional fee price tag shocked us, we were happily surprised to find that Wizz Air allows the most weight for checked bags of any budget airline. Where RyanAir and easyJet only allow 15 and 20kg per checked bag, Wizz Air allows a massive feeling 32kg, which was more than enough for us, even after adding Marina’s purse.

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Airline Review: Wizzair

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Now, while we are not big fans of all the extra comfort charges budget airlines charge, the extra 4 euros for priority boarding is probably the one we would chose the most. Seeing as all flights have open seating, being the first one on and off is a huge plus and while worth the small fee. In addition, Wizz Air now offers their “Wizz Privilege Pass”, a concept which we have been wanting to see in the airline industry for a long time. The Wizz Pass offers frequent flyers a membership which allows one free cabin bag and priority boarding for only 99 euros a year, which can pay off very quickly, and while Wizz Air is based in Hungary, they offer a large variety of flights to many popular European destinations.

To our surprise Wizz Air boasts one of the best on time records in Europe and routinely scores higher than not only other budget airlines, but the big boys as well. Our flight as on time, the seats comfortable, the planes bright purple and impossible to miss and the in flight crew was helpful and accommodating.

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Airline Review: Wizzair

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.H . jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

Airline Review: Agni Air

Airline Review: Agni Air (Nepal)

We have been lucky to get to Nepal in our travels, but never had quite as exciting a flight as Brian and Noelle did flying domestically through the country. While we just had a boring flight from Delhi, theirs sounds much more fun. Take it away Brian!

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“A number of domestic airlines fly the route between Kathmandu and Lukla in Nepal. The short thirty-five minute flight brings hikers to the starting point of the Everest Base Camp Trail. Choosing to fly with Agni Air, due to their slightly better safety record than some of the other airlines we booked our one-way ticket for $130, opting to walk the six days back to Jiri on the way out. Agni was a delight to fly with.

We were surprised at the level of service and professionalism for such a small airline and such a short flight. Short delays in the morning were announced to all passengers in due time and ground-staff were patient and helpful answering questions. Once it was safe to depart, we boarded the twelve-seater, propeller powered plane, unfolded our seats (!) and buckled up. To our surprise an air hostess came down the aisle serving mints and handing out cotton balls to passengers, it was laughable given the size of the aircraft. Views from the flights were incredible, especially once we broke through the clouds and could see the peaks of the Himalayas towering up around us.

Looking forward through the cockpit the pilots, in their old-school leather bomber jackets, kept passengers updated on our progress towards Lukla and pointed out the peaks in the distance. Landing in Lukla is no easy task, the skilled pilots touched down smoothly on the tiny runway which clings to the mountainside and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. From our experience, we would certainly recommend Agni Air to anyone flying from Kathmandu to Lukla. It’s an exhilarating flight to say the least and our most memorable to date.”

– Brian Barry, WanderingOn

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Overall Rating: 5 – We were kept up to date of delays (which are to be expected on this route) and we landed safely on a somewhat notorious runway for accidents. So hats off to Agni Air!
Comfort: 5 – Considering it was an 11 seater propeller plane with fold out seats, it was about as comfortable as we could have hoped.
Food: N/A We just got mints and they were top-notch!
Staff: 5 – We couldn’t believe there was even an air hostess on board and the pilots told us the best time to look out the windows for views of the Himalayas, couldn’t ask for much more.

 

Airline Review: Lufthansa

Airline Review: Lufthansa

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We have been lucky enough to fly with Lufthansa only a couple of times and absolutely loved our flight. Everything was just about as great as you could ask for. To make sure it wasn’t just us, we asked others for their opinion and review of Lufthansa as well. Looks like our experience wasn’t anything out of the ordinary!

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Route Flown: US to Europe

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“I have flown with Lufthansa airlines many times from the US to various European destinations. I really appreciate how prompt, courteous and efficient the service is. Everyone is well attended and the service is always impeccable and personal even on their large international flights. I also love the size of the couch seats, the wonderful games and video consol and large choices and the spacious cabin rooms for walking around in. This is an airline that I really enjoy traveling in when I fly to Europe.”

– Noel Morata, Travel Photo Discovery

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