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Finnair brings its new AirLounge Business Class to Singapore – daily VTL from April

You can be one of the first to sample Finnair's new A350 AirLounge Business Class between Singapore and Helsinki from April 2022, with daily VTL flights loaded including award space from 70,000 Asia Miles.

Finnair, the sole operator of Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) flights from Finland to Singapore with four weekly A350 services currently operating on the Helsinki – Changi route, has confirmed that it will be increasing to daily service for the summer season, with all flights continuing to operate quarantine-free in both directions.

“All our flights from Helsinki to Singapore [AY131] will be VTL flights until 29 October 2022.”

Finnair spokesperson, in response to a request from Mainly Miles

This will increase capacity on the route by 75% compared to the current operation, bringing flights back to pre-pandemic levels, with effect from 1st April 2022.

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AirLounge seats are coming to Singapore

Just last week we were writing all about Finnair’s innovative new Business Class seat being rolled out on its Airbus A330 and A350 long-haul fleet, and there’s some great news in this department too.

Finnair AirLounge Business Class on the Airbus A350. (Photo: Finnair)

From 1st April 2022 to 1st July 2022, Finnair is loading this brand new configuration on all its AY131 and AY132 Singapore flights, giving VTL passengers the opportunity to try out this brand new product, either for cash bookings or for great value surcharge-free miles redemptions.

That includes using 70,000 Asia Miles + S$25 to fly one-way in Business Class on the VTL from Europe.

The cabin is already fitted to at least two of the airline’s Airbus A350s, which will be used to operate the service.

Finnair’s Helsinki – Singapore route will be served by A350s with the new cabin products from April 2022. (Photo: Finnair)

You can identify the Airbus A350s with the new configuration because seats 1A and 1L are missing on the seat map either via the Finnair website or through a system like ExpertFlyer.

Two different layouts are installed, both of which are used on the Singapore route, with either 30 seats or 43 seats in Business Class on the ‘Hi-J’ aircraft with a small three-row mini-cabin in the second section.

New Business Class Configurations

Aircraft Old
Business
New ‘AirLounge’
Business
A350-900
‘Lo-J’
32 seats 30 seats
A350-900
‘Hi-J’
46 seats 43 seats

You can also count the seats total on the seat map to determine whether your flight has the AirLounge product, but it’s much simpler just to spot the ‘missing’ 1A and 1L, which are present on the older A350s.

There are 30 AirLounge seats in the forward cabin section of Finnair’s refitted A350s, with some aircraft having 13 more in a mini-cabin behind. (Photo: Finnair)

Finnair is the launch customer for the Collins AirLounge product, which doesn’t have a traditional reclining seat like most Business Class cabins, but is a contoured padded shell, designed to allow you to position yourself at a wide variety of different angles.

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You can rest your feet on the ottoman or use extendable infill panels to create a large flat surface. Pillows are provided to offer support in various seating positions.

Bed mode is more conventional in the new Finnair Business Class. (Photo: Finnair)

The fully flat surface also has a mattress, duvet and pillows provided for a flat-bed experience.

Modern features also include wireless charging, Wi-Fi and new 18-inch in-flight entertainment screens.

The new Finnair Business Class side table includes a handy wireless mobile charging point. (Photo: Finnair)

It’s certainly a unique product and we look forward to reading the first reviews and trying it out ourselves to find out how comfortable it is on a long-haul flight like this one.

Here’s our recent summary of the new product.

The schedule

Between now and the end of March 2022 Finnair is maintaining its four times weekly operation to and from Singapore, using A350s with the old Business Class cabin, with all HEL-SIN flights operating under the VTL .

Now – 31st March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
AY131
A350-900
HEL
23:55
SIN

17:15*
AY132
A350-900
SIN
23:45
HEL

06:00*

* Next day

From April 2022 the flight becomes daily, including a full suite of VTL options in the Helsinki – Singapore direction.

1st April – 29th October 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
AY131
A350-900
HEL
23:55
SIN

16:50*
AY132
A350-900
SIN
23:25
HEL

06:15*

* Next day

AY131 has the new AirLounge cabins from 1st April 2022 to 1st July 2022; AY132 gets the same treatment one day later (2nd April 2022 to 2nd July 2022).

For a full list of all VTL flights to Singapore by route, see our dedicated and updated reference page.

  Full list of all VTL Flights

Great value Asia – Europe redemptions

Finnair abolished fuel surcharges on its award tickets in June 2020, making it one of the best redemption options to and from Europe with only mandatory airport taxes to pay on top of your miles, thanks to a complete lack of carrier surcharges.

Taxes on a Finnair flight from Helsinki to Singapore are only EUR 15.43 – around S$24

Here’s how the pricing looks with a variety of oneworld frequent flyer programmes from Europe to Singapore in Business Class, including on the VTL flight for the Helsinki – Singapore leg.

Finnair Business Class redemption
Europe to Singapore

FFP Helsinki
(non-stop)
Frankfurt
(via HEL)
London
(via HEL)
AStrans 60k
+S$41
60k
+S$175
60k
+S$407
70k
+S$24
70k
+S$158
70k
+S$390
90k
+S$24
104.5k
+S$158
104.5k
+S$390
92.75k
+S$24
109.25k
+S$158
109.25k
+S$390
120k
+S$24
150k
+S$158
150k
+S$390

Unfortunately there’s not much you can do to avoid hefty taxes on long-haul redemptions from London, which stem from high airport fees and the extortionate Air Passenger Duty (APD) levied by the UK government.

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Business Class awards are not quite as widely available as they were when Finnair first joined the VTL, but we saw days in April with up to three seats open to partner redemptions in Business Class, so it’s definitely worth checking.

The widely-held Asia Miles option is the best for most of our readers, allowing Europe redemptions on Finnair for 70,000 miles.

Helsinki to Singapore for in Business Class for 70,000 Asia Miles + S$25

Travel to Finland is test-free

More good news about travel to Finland is that pre-departure testing for fully vaccinated travellers from Singapore has been dropped since 15th February 2022, meaning you’ll have one of the most frictionless travel experiences possible on a trip there from Singapore.

Helsinki. (Photo: Tapio Haaja)

In order to travel to Finland quarantine-free as a non-resident, you must have received your last dose of an approved vaccine course at least seven days and no more than 270 days prior to your arrival day.

That means if you were fully vaccinated back in May 2021 or earlier, you’ll probably need to have received at least one booster dose in order to travel to Finland.

Approved vaccines for travel to Finland are:

  • AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria)
  • Covaxin
  • Covishield
  • Janssen
  • Moderna (Spikevax)
  • Nuvaxovid (Novavax)
  • Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty)
  • Sinopharm (BIBP)
  • Sinovac

Overall testing costs

Here are the approximate testing costs for a Singapore – Finland – Singapore trip, using the VTL on your return.

🇫🇮 VTL
Singapore Finland
COVID-19 Testing 

Test Cost
Finland pre-departure (ART) ~S$120
SG on-arrival (ART) S$15
Total ~S$135

As you can see pre-departure testing in Finland, even for an antigen test, is very expensive compared to most VTL countries, so it isn’t a cheap option to return to Singapore from there.

The good thing is if you’re just transiting in Helsinki (e.g. FRA-HEL-SIN) you’ll have had your pre-departure test in your origin VTL country, where it was hopefully cheaper!

Finnair lounge in Helsinki. (Photo: Finnair)

Remember if you have recently recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days with documentary proof, you are now exempt from all pre-departure testing, on-arrival testing and isolation requirements when travelling to Singapore.



 


 

Summary

It’s fantastic to see Finnair planning to deploy its brand new innovative AirLounge Business Class product on the Singapore route from April, while at the same time increasing to daily operation, with all Singapore-bound services operating under the quarantine-free VTL programme.

This could be a great time to lock in a Europe – Singapore redemption this summer from 70,000 Asia Miles, while also being one of the first to experience the new seats.

Finland is also one of Singapore’s 10 VTL countries not requiring any testing to travel there, making it one of the simpler holiday options.

(Cover Photo: Finnair)