The construction works are in full swing at Helsinki Vantaa airport for the new non-Schengen lounges, although a few months behind schedule. In the beginning of June the new Finnair Platinum Wing opened for Finnair Platinum, Finnair Lumo and OneWorld Emerald guests, replacing the previous Finnair Premium Lounge.
Now the second phase has started, the construction of a new Finnair Business Lounge for non-Schengen passengers.
In the middle of June the first part of the new business lounge opened, which is basically the area which was previously used for the Finnair Premium Lounge. To get there you use the new entrance, the same one as for the new Platinum Wing.
In the rather sizeable lobby the entrance to the Platinum Wing is to the left and the entrance to the new Business Lounge to the right.
At the same time as this new business lounge opened the old business lounge closed and will be completely refurbished. When everything is ready the wall between the newly-opened business lounge and the old business lounge will be removed to create a significantly larger business lounge, which is good news during peak hours.
No date has been announced by Finnair for the formal opening. The original plan was to open the Platinum Wing in February 2019 (it eventually opened in June 2019) and then to open the business lounge around summer 2019. With the work 3-5 moths behind schedule it would probably mean the new business lounge (both parts of it, that is) will be ready late 2019.
Not a lot of information has been given about the new business lounge but what we do know is that when ready it will offer 200 extra seats compared to the old lounge, according to Finnair. And of course the new part, which is now open, gives an idea what it will look like.
The new part is not particularly large and it will get crowded during peak hours, but again this is just a temporary arrangement for a few months.
The old design is gone with the neon lighting effects, which although stylish felt rather old-fashioned and something you would rather see in a business lounge in the 90’s. The new design is not very different from the design in the new Platinum Wing. Most furniture and design details are in white, grey and dark blue but also occasionally in various pastel colours.
The lounge is divided into different areas with glass walls used as dividers, not just to keep different areas for different purposes but most likely also to keep the noise level down.
At the end of the business lounge there is a temporary wall which will later lead to the old business lounge, when ready.
There is also a rather sizeable buffet and dining area with a completely new design.
The presentation of the food is also much more elegant and appealing and they seem to use some Marimekko design details as well, just like onboard in Finnair business class.
Beer and wine are offered free of charge with the wines available both on tap and from large bottles. Later during the day there is also a small selection of spirits available for free, which was not the case in the old non-Schengen business lounge (where you had to pay for it at a manned bar) and which is not the case in the current Finnair Schengen business lounge. Also at the moment there is free-flowing Joseph Perrier champagne in the lounge.
But of course it remains to be seen if all of this will really be offered (at least for free) when everything is ready.
There are also several shower rooms available in the new business lounge, and they are available to guests already now.
Overall the new lounge gives a good impression, a nice improvement over the rather old-fashioned previous business lounge in the non-Schengen area. But what will be even more exciting is to the see the final result since most of the space was and still is in the old business lounge, which is currently closed and under renovation. What are they going to do with all of that space?