I've occasionally ended in a wide-body A350 flight flown by Finnair, on an intra-European route. Turned out that this week I got two experience two of them in different cities: Brussels and Amsterdam. The third route that they regularly fly is London Heathrow.
I happened to be able to use these flights because my conference in Rotterdam was somewhat difficult or expensive to get to. The prices for flying to Amsterdam for the first day of the conference were very high. But since the rail system in that part of Europe is in great shape, I explored the option of flying to a nearby city instead. So I found out that I can fly to Brussels and fly from Amsterdam on the way back.
And those flights were on A350s, I guess in part contributing to the low ticket costs with so many seats to sell. I also got an upgrade on one the flights on my perishable vouchers. Those vouchers expire at the end of the year, and I also don't fly enough to qualify for my frequent flier tier at the end of the year, so I won't be seeing too many upgrades in the future. Oh well. It was good while it lasted.
Of course, Brussels is further away from Rotterdam than Amsterdam's Schiphol. But ... even from Schiphol you have to take a train. On the way out it lasted about an hour. On the way in, coming from Brussels it took two hours. So in the end not such a big difference. I need to look into these options also in the future!
The main downside for flying to Brussels was, however, Brussels. It wasn't unexpected perhaps but we ended up waiting for for 45 minutes for our gate. And then when we got to the gate, we waited at least 20 minutes inside the boarding bridge for the door to be opened. This wouldn't have been such an issue otherwise, but I had a train to catch, and I needed to make it to make to my conference session in time.
Plus by now all that Diet Pepsi from the flight needed to be deposited somewhere, and there were no toilets in the boarding bridge. Also, there were really not that many toilets in the Brussels airport either, once we got there. When I finally found one, it turned out that all the five quick service stations were broken and roped off, and that two of the five stalls were also broken. Out of the remaining three stalls, one was occupied by someone having a loud conference call inside (!)
Anyway, I eventually got to use their facilities and made it in time for my train, in part because was a few minutes late. Good.
But sigh. My experiences in Brussels have never been one of great efficiency and organization, either at the airport or the city. Expect delays. Finnair A350 flights, however, they are great!
Here's the A350 leaving Amsterdam:
For more flying stories, check out the planetflier.com website! And of course the Planetcaver, and Planetskier blogs for other stories in Blogspot and TGR! The photos and text (c) 2023 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.