Finnair business class Asia sale – a better choice than Qatar?

cheap flights shanghai and beijingShanghai skyline

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Finnair has launched a UK and Ireland flight sale to Asia, bookable until the 21st February 2017. You can travel from London, Manchester or Edinburgh.

Is Finnair the best business class choice to Asia?

Finnair is probably not your first thought when selecting an airline to fly to Asia in business class. So why is Finnair worth considering for business class travel? If you are looking for the cheapest prices or are collecting Avios or BAEC status then you would generally think of British Airways or Qatar. However Finnair offers a good alternative to both of these airlines depending on what your priorities are. In this article I discussed the Finnair A350 product.

If your priority is a direct flight your best bet is British Airways from Heathrow. This is likely to be the most expensive and the seats are a bit dated with not all seats having direct aisle access. You will also earn fewer tier points and Avios but get there quicker.

Assuming that you don’t mind a connecting flight and are trying to get extra Avios and/or tier points then either Qatar or Finnair are good options. See below for the tier point and miles comparison.

Pricing is usually fairly similar so which would I choose? If there was no difference in aircraft type or price then I would probably go for Qatar for the Doha lounge and on board food as Finnair wine and food is fairly average. However if Qatar were using a B777 on the route I wanted and Finnair had the A350, I would choose Finnair. Qatar has fully flat beds on B777 but they are quite old now and in a 2-2-2 configuration so window seats do not have direct aisle access. Middle seats are also not very private for solo travellers.

Tier point and Avios Comparison

The comparison takes London-Singapore return in business class as an example and assumes you do not have any more than blue status in the BAEC:

Qatar 

Tier points 140 x 4 = 560

Miles = 17778

BA

Tier points 140+140 = 280

Miles – 14402

Finnair

Tier points 80+140+140+80= 440

Miles = 17238

560 tier points is nearly enough for Silver status (600 points) which gives you lounge access even in economy.

Finnair sale prices

The Finnair sale prices are good, although some are substantially more than the last sale such as Bangkok. Some Dublin flights are a little cheaper but not by a lot, so it is not worth starting in Dublin unless it is more convenient. Hong Kong is very expensive, so your best bet to save money would be to get a connecting flight from either Guangzhou which is closest (1hr 10) or Shanghai (2 hours 20) which is the cheapest if you aren’t fussy which airline you fly with. Cathay Pacific fly on both routes but are very expensive on the Shanghai route (£500+ economy) unless you used Avios. Budget airline Hong Kong airlines fly from Shanghai at around £150 return.

A sample of the most interesting sale prices are below. All London flights to Helsinki have the A350 aircraft currently. The routes in bold have the A350 from Helsinki:

  • Bangkok – £1595 for travel until 31 January 2018.
  • Beijing – £1,335 or €1395 (£1188*) from Dublin, for travel 1 March–30 June 2017.
  • Delhi – £1,625 for travel until 31 January 2018.
  • Guangzhou – £1,339 for travel 1 May–30 June 2017Finnair a350
  • Hong Kong – £1965 for travel until 31 January 2018.
  • Seoul – £1,395 or €1405 (£1197*) from Dublin, for travel 1 March–30 June 2017.
  • Shanghai – £1335 for travel 1 March–30 June 2017
  • Singapore – £1,475  for travel 1 March–30 June 2017.

 

Book by 21 February 2017.

 

Minimum stay

The minimum stay is 6 days or a Saturday night

Stopovers

Two stopovers permitted in Helsinki free of charge.

Changes

Changes are permitted for an additional charge of €200.

Cancellation

Tickets are non-refundable.

 

You can find further details on Finnair  here.

 

*Prices based on current bank exchange rate at time of going to press