American Airlines and Finnair seat selections are glitched.
At the time of booking (Feb), I secured bulkhead aisle seats on my Finnair flights from JFK-HEL by calling American’s Executive Platinum line. The EXP agent was shocked that she was able to select seats for all the legs of my flight from JFK-HEL-GVA-HEL-JFK all operated on Finnair and flybe. Flybe is a regional jet carrier owned by Finnair (Think American Airlines and American Eagle).
When I checked into my flight at LAX, the gate agent handed me a boarding pass for LAX-JFK and JFK-HEL. Upon exiting the Flagship Lounge at LAX, I took a second look at my JFK-HEL boarding pass and was shocked to have received seat 54E. I didn’t think row 54 even existed on an airplane and they gave me a middle seat to boot!
I quickly checked the AA app and sure enough, 21C (bulkhead aisle) was still showing up and even on aa.com. The Flagship Lounge agent was flabbergasted as well and apologized and quickly assigned me another seat, 26D which was a standard economy aisle seat.
By the way, I’m currently writing this from HEL-GVA and again, the seat assignment I had chosen was not the same. However, I was able to select another seat on the Finnair airport self-check in kiosk.
Flights to Helsinki depart from New York’s Kennedy (JFK) Terminal 8.
I appreciate smooth connecting flight transfers and I was pleased that after landing from LAX-JFK in Terminal 8, I found out that my flight to Helsinki was departing from the same Terminal. I hate having to exit security and head to an International terminal and go through security again.
Economy really does suck.
The economy cabin is a 2-4-2 configuration which is a tight squeeze. The legroom was nonexistent. As you can see from the picture below, my legs were already brushed up against the seat back pocket and this is non-reclined.
The flight got worse when the person in front of me reclined leaving me with no choice but to stretch my legs at an awkward angle. The in-air flight time was 7 hours and 11 minutes according to FlightAware.
Though if I had secured seat 21C (bulkhead aisle), I would’ve had a lot more legroom due to having no one in front of me recline back. I do understand that seat assignments are always “requested” and not guaranteed so I wasn’t that upset my seat was given away (glitched).
The food service is really slow.
The dinner service did not start until an hour into the flight. Usually, the meals are already blasted with heat on the ground so it makes it ready to serve once in the air. The meal was either a choice between chicken and pasta and I chose the chicken entrée.
The food wasn’t too bad as it came with a salad, entrée, dinner roll, cheese & crackers, and a chocolate cake for dessert. It was definitely a poor man’s three course meal loaded all onto one tray.
About an hour later, the cleanup began. The meal service took two hours and five hours remained.
There was a poor man’s business class bar in the rear galley. You can help yourself to hot tea, water, and juices.
There were also buy on board alcoholic beverage and snack options. I was hungry mid-flight and bought a Cup of Noodles mini size Spicy flavor for 3 euros ~ $4.07 USD. This was the best thing I had eaten on this flight.
There was a pre-arrival breakfast which was served an hour and a half before landing. It was a basic
Things that made the flight more manageable:
In-flight entertainment – I can’t stress how important it is to bring your own in-flight entertainment. I always load up my MacBook Air with all the latest music, movies, and TV shows so I don’t get bored on the plane. I watched a few movies which took up most of the flight time in addition to the slow meal service.
The slow meal service – 2 hours for dinner and 1 ½ hours breakfast service before landing really meant 4 hours of “me” time. This really made the flight go faster for me and I couldn’t sleep at all (even though I tried multiple times).
Reading the in-flight magazine – There were several magazines about Europe and Helsinki which were interesting. I’m so used to reading American Way, so this was a breath of fresh air.
By all means, this wasn’t a hellish flight at all. I’ve flown in economy many times on other airlines for far longer than 7 hours. The bulkhead aisle seat would’ve made my flight more pleasurable, but it was not the end of the world. I tried to purchase an upgrade to Business Class, but it was not available. With this flight, I re-qualified for American Airline’s Executive Platinum which was the endgame goal for me this year. I’m definitely not looking forward to my economy flight next week from HEL on the way back.