Embattled Finnish flag carrier Finnair is to axe inflight Champagne on some flights and remove pillows from its long-haul Economy Class cabin as part of a new raft of cost cuts designed to turn the financial fortunes of the loss-making airline around.
A glass of bubbles in the form of French Champagne has long been considered an almost mandatory part of the travel experience in premium airline cabins but Finnair is to swap out Champagne for a cheaper nondescript sparkling wine in Business Class across its short-haul network.
The cost-cutting measure will take effect from April 19, when a slew of other penny-pinching initiatives will take effect across Finnair’s already frugal onboard passenger experience.
Finnair says it will continue to provide Economy Class passengers on long-haul services with a thin blanket, but pillows are to be removed because, the airline reassures, many passengers already bring their own pillow.
A spokesperson for the airline said passengers didn’t need a pillow because new headrests on Economy Seats acted as head support.
If passengers manage to get some sleep, they may, however, end up getting off the plane hungry. Finnair is to eliminate a second meal on some of its shorter long-haul flights like the nearly nine-hour flight from Helsinki to New York JFK or the six-hour flight to Dubai.
“Changes in our in-flight services are part of the many actions we are taking to restore Finnair’s profitability,” commented Finnair’s head of in-flight customer experience Eerika Enne, on Tuesday.
Finnair will sell snacks and drinks onboard, while Enne suggests passengers pack granola and cereal bars in their hand luggage should the inflight food offering fail to fill them up.
Across its European network, the airline will continue to offer water and its famous blueberry juice free of charge. Business Class passengers will also continue to get a meal on all flights apart for the very shortest flights where the airline says it doesn’t have time to serve passengers.
Finnair’s inflight service has been pretty utilitarian for a number of years, especially for its long-haul Economy Class passengers. The beleaguered airline will, though, continue to offer a single complimentary serving of wine of beer with the main meal – perhaps to comply with minimum service standards agreed by oneworld alliance airlines.
Earlier this month, Finnair lifted a threat to subcontract out hundreds of flight attendant jobs to cheaper workers after its directly employed crew agreed a set of cuts to their pay and conditions.
Finnair is attempting to reinvent its business model after the closure of Russian airspace made its pre-pandemic long-haul strategy of primarily serving Asia economically unviable.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.