Flight Report: Norra (Finnair) E-190 Business Class

Norra Finnair E190.JPG

As part of a recent trip to Hong Kong (my initiatic A350 trip, courtesy of Finnair, whose corresponding flight review you can find here), I also had the chance to fly, for the very first time, with Norra's Embraer E-190.

First of all, what is Norra? you may have thought.

This is a very legitimate question if you do not visit Finland, or the Nordics for this matter, very often.

Norra, the commercial name of Nordic Regional Airlines, is the successor of Flybe Nordic and it currently operates as Finnair's regional subsidiary. To be fair, aside from some mentions to the "Norra" name in the booking documents and at the airport, it is hard to tell the difference with mainline Finnair (maybe those more familiar with Finnair's European services would disagree, though!). 

The flight was between Moscow Sheremetyevo and Helsinki Vantaa (curiosuly enough, despite being a member of Oneworld, Finnair flies to Aeroflot-Sky Team SVO hub as it has a code-share agreement with the Russian flag carrier)

The privilege of boarding first

The privilege of boarding first

As you can see, the cabin design is quite sober, in grey tones (with the occasional touch of colour provided by Finnair's dotted Marimekko-style blankets), consistent with the airline's tidy, Nordic image.

Finnair's colourful dotted blankets, same as on the A350

Finnair's colourful dotted blankets, same as on the A350

The seats are the same as in economy and I think the seat pitch is the same too, the difference is, thus, in the onboard service (for example, upon entry a flight attendant offered to keep my coat in the wardrobe at the front of the cabin), the food and the priority boarding and lounge

The seats are the same as in economy and I think the seat pitch is the same too, the difference is, thus, in the onboard service (for example, upon entry a flight attendant offered to keep my coat in the wardrobe at the front of the cabin), the food and the priority boarding and lounge

I particularly like the 2-2 seat arrangement on the E-Jets - it provides a more "premium" feel even when you travel in economy...but this time it was business, so time to enjoy some of the perks!

The food, quick correct for a relatively short flight (1.5h)

The food, quick correct for a relatively short flight (1.5h)

It was a mid-morning, only half-full flight, which gave me the chance to test different seats (my advice is, if you have long legs, and despite the appearances, avoid the first row, you will next see why!)

I went to see whether there was more space in the front row, actually, there wasn't! In fact, it was not possible for me to fully stretch the legs, so, as the business class section was only half full, I took another seat a bit behind

I went to see whether there was more space in the front row, actually, there wasn't! In fact, it was not possible for me to fully stretch the legs, so, as the business class section was only half full, I took another seat a bit behind

Wine choices were pretty decent too

Wine choices were pretty decent too

The E190 is also quite a quiet aircraft (or so it felt!) which adds to the overall experience, which included some nice views of the Baltic coast and snowy Russia.

A glimpse of the Nordic skies from the E190

A glimpse of the Nordic skies from the E190

In terms of IFE, there is, well...the good-old in-flight magazine, which included some interesting facts and figures about the airplane I was going to fly after a few hours in Helsinki, the new Airbus A350!

And in the inflight magazine...and old friend...Finnair's A350! but this is another story...

And in the inflight magazine...and old friend...Finnair's A350! but this is another story...

Overall impression: it met expectations.

We are talking about a relatively short flight here, so it is what it is. The seats were nothing extraordinary but the food was good and the crew was attentive and professional. If you are flying business short haul as part of a longer journey (as were most of the fellow passengers) it isa good "aperitif" to the much more robust long-haul business class service.