Wednesday : Warsaw to Heathrow T3 with Finn Air (via Helsinki)

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Yet another breakfast photo, woooo….. I posted this one as there’s a bay leaf on it and I enjoy it when people complain at Chipotle because they think part of a tree has landed into their food. For anyone who wants to see irate people on Twitter, just Google “chipotle bay leaf”. Another cheap and cheerful breakfast, which was suitably filling. I’m not sure why they’re providing biscuits for breakfast, but I didn’t quibble with what I thought was an innovative idea.

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I’ll miss Warsaw, but I’ve gone on about that before. Note how bloody hot it was. That made it easier for me to leave the city, so I could escape the rampantly high temperatures that I had endured.

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My journey to the airport was far from ideal, I had intended to walk to Warszawa Powiśle railway station to get the train. Unfortunately, this ticket machine en route didn’t supply the ticket I wanted, entirely because the sun was so bright that I couldn’t see the screen properly. There’s no good comes from this extreme weather I’ll say, no good at all.

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There’s the railway station I need, but I was on the hunt for a ticket machine. The railway station ticket machine wouldn’t sell me the ticket that I wanted and I couldn’t remember whether the train itself had a ticket machine on it as I always pre-purchase them to avoid any little issues with the guard.

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I swore quietly at the situation, then decided to instead walk one stop along to Warszawa Śródmieście as there’s an S2 train to the airport around every thirty minutes. There’s the Palace of Science and Culture in the boiling hot temperature. I was pleased to note that a lot of Polish people seemed to be struggling with the heat. Although I mean that in the way that I’m pleased I wasn’t the only person who was uncomfortable, not that I was pleased Poles were struggling with something.

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This wasn’t the train I needed, I just like taking photos of double-decker trains. I should probably get out more….

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I was slightly annoyed generally that there were indeed ticket machines on the trains, as can be seen by everyone else buying their tickets on them. I’d mention I was more annoyed that I hadn’t just risked it, but I like to live in a low-risk public transport world.

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And that was that, after 20 minutes I was at the railway station saying goodbye to Warsaw for the last time in what will likely be for some months. My journey today was to fly back to Heathrow, but due to problems with British Airways, they were flying me back via Helsinki. This isn’t ideal in many ways and is the second time that they’ve had to do this. One day the rail service will be fast and cheap enough to do this journey back to London without needing to fly, but we’re nowhere near there that stage yet.

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That gave me time to visit the Preludium Executive Lounge in Warsaw Airport, again which I’ve written about before. As an aside, the security process was extremely efficient, once again in Warsaw I was through into the lounge area within ten minutes of disembarking the train. Polish efficiency that is.

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It wasn’t particularly busy, so I sat near to the food (at the counter behind, not literally this near) with my laptop being productive.

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The lounge has finally got rid of the pre-packaged food that it has for some time, replacing it with help yourself food items so that guests can make their own salads or whatever they’d like. There’s also hot food and most importantly, big tubs of chocolates. What a time to be alive….

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Chicken wrap with olives, what more could anyone want from their brunch? I say brunch, it was still breakfast time, but I’d already had breakfast at the hotel and it’s bad luck to have two breakfasts.

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One quick beer before leaving. I’m not sure I needed that, but it’s another one for Untappd.

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The flight was already boarding when I got there. It’s rare that I cut things so fine, although I don’t want anyone thinking I had been unusually reckless, they were just boarding a little early.

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Down the airbridge, this is Finn Air’s Embraer E190, registration OH-LKM, an aircraft they’ve operated since it was brought into service in 2008. For anyone wondering why there are so many photos on air bridges, it’s usually so I can get the aircraft registration number, such is the level of detail that I demand for my two readers.

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This was a nearly full service, so no photos of the interior. I was pleased to get my free blueberry juice and the service was all efficient and felt a little more professional than my outbound flight. There was a bigger business class section than on the way out, they had the delights of a salad and bread for their morning meal.

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A little cloudier than Warsaw, I enjoy knowing that I’m unlikely to get heatstroke in Helsinki. These short stops in Helsinki are slightly sad from the point of view that I’m not leaving the airport to see the actual city.

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Back in the non-Schengen lounge at Helsinki Airport and the staff were as friendly as before, with everything being just as ordered and welcoming as I remembered. They have the same self-scanning desks to get into the lounge as their Schengen one elsewhere in the terminal, but they don’t seem to use them here.

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The pods and I went to investigate the showers here for the first time. They’re all self-service, you just type in the keypad on the door and if they’ve been cleaned with more towels put in, then they’ll open. When leaving, press a button on the keypad and it alerts the staff that the shower needs cleaning and restocking.

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This is much better than the food selection at the Finn Air Schengen lounge. I noted that they were unlikely to run out of plates as well.

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Meatballs in pepper sauce and these were delicious. There was also a broad bean tikka masala, which sounded a bit too vegetable orientated in its design to me.

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Self-pour beer, meatballs, rice and I even got some roasted vegetables for reasons I can’t remember. I probably got muddled up.

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I hadn’t noticed this before, but the text of what they’re doing is readable by clicking on the image, effectively they want some rye spirit ready in 2023 to mark Finn Air reaching 100. A rather lovely idea and not long left now, they thought ahead by starting this process in 2017.

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After a quick dessert and some more meatballs, back in the open space of the airport terminal. I wonder if this international terminal ever feels busy and cluttered, it’s hard to imagine that.

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The flight was showing a slight delay, but nothing frightening.

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Having this much space makes the whole boarding environment feel much more relaxed. Note power points everywhere, no-one is leaving Helsinki without their devices being fully charged.

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The airbridge photo again. Finn Air have two separate parts of the waiting area in the gate, so priority passengers were able to board first. A couple of people, whether through accident or design, tried to board in a lane they shouldn’t have done, with the Finn Air staff politely sending them back to the end of the queue, thereby forcing a little walk of shame.

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It’s Airbus A319, registration OH-LVL, which Finn Air have operated since new in 2004. I can also confirm that I didn’t overheat in Helsinki Airport.

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I’d deliberately put myself on an aisle seat towards the back of the aircraft and this was another flight, with just about every seat taken. If a flight is looking busy, I’d rather just sit at the back and stay out of the way of people trying to navigate their way around the crew with their trolleys.

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The drop-down screens showed a variety of television programming throughout the journey, including Tom & Jerry. This reminds me that British Airways has taken screens out of all of their short-haul aircraft, although I recall they only displayed the live map, never anything as exciting as Tom & Jerry cartoons.

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I wasn’t tempted as I had just been in the lounge, although I did think from the photo how small the cheese platter was. They didn’t seem to sell much, a few items here and there, but in the main customers just requested the free water or blueberry juice.

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And that leads me neatly into the now obligatory photo of blueberry juice.

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Back into Heathrow T3, nearly every time I use a Travelator I remember Liam’s children being endlessly excited by this exciting “it’s like an escalator but flat” device. To be fair, they’re not wrong.

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I had a fair amount of time at Heathrow Terminal 3, but more about overnight stay there in the next exciting post in this series.