9 Nov 2010
Christina Lund Sørensen
I'm a keen collector of refrigerator magnets and I have a newfound passion for 'usu nigori' - sparkling sake

I’ve blogged about the food I’ve been served on some of the flights I’ve been on. And I’ve blogged about something you can hardly call food. I’ve been called brave by readers of the blog to bring up the subject of the quality of the food on Finnair’s flight and I even expected that some of the blogs would generate a comment or two from someone within Finnair. However, my criticism has been met with absolute silence. I’ve taken this as a good sign. A sign of Finnair being bold enough to let us Quality Hunters write about, what we experience without censoring anything. Thank you for that.

This weekend my three weeks long Europe trip had ended and I was heading back to Asia, where I started the QH journey. The destination was Hong Kong and I was flying Business Class. More than anything else I was looking forward to being served decent food and NOT the Finnair Sandwich as my fellow hunter Wolfgang calls it.

On flight no 1 from Manchester to Helsinki I was being served smoked reindeer rillette on rye bread, which instantly topped my list of best things I’ve eaten on an airplane. The salmon that I had for main course was so-so. It was eatable, but the dill potatoes were impossible to eat as they had been cooked to destruction.

Yummy reindeer rillette

On board on the flight from Helsinki to Hong Kong I decided that I wanted to check out the menu even though I wasn’t at all hungry after the meal I had on the Manchester-Helsinki flight. The flight attendant asked me if I was interested in trying a new test menu that Finnair was trying to introduce called ‘Superfood Dinner’. Anything that is called ‘super’ sounds fine to me so I accepted and I had the most delicious meal.

Finnair's new 'Superfood Meal'

The entrée was salad with beetroot and giant prawns. The main course was poached pike with mushrooms (chantarelles even!), vegetables, spinach sauce and a side salad. And for dessert the menu offered fresh fruit, berries and organic honey. It was world class!

Super indeed!

This was such a delicious and tasty. I couldn’t believe that I had been served this on the same airline that serves this:

In fact, I was so busy eating that I forgot to take a picture of the main course, but I assure you that it was nicely presented and very, very tasty.

This shows a new and very promising future for the Finnair Cuisine that I’ve criticized a lot so far. Now, if the airline somehow can implement the ‘Superfood Menu’ as a choice for passengers on Economy Class that would, in my opinion, be very high quality.

8 Nov 2010
Christina Lund Sørensen
I'm a keen collector of refrigerator magnets and I have a newfound passion for 'usu nigori' - sparkling sake

If Manchester Airport was a person it would be Paris Hilton. Like the blond jetsetter the airport has got it all, but for others it can be difficult to spot the qualities. First of all it is in Manchester, who’s travelling there? And second of all… it’s in Manchester…

Not having spend much time in Manchester I’m talking a 100 percent from my prejudices. I’m sure it’s a lovely place, but if you had the choice between going to Manchester or London, I’m pretty sure I know, what most people would choose. But even if you are going to London there is actually a reason to fly in and out of Manchester rather than one of the London Airports, where most of them are not actually IN London or anywhere near London.

First of all you might be able to get a much better deal on the plane tickets and second it takes you about as long to get from Heathrow to Central London than it does to get from Euston Station in London to Manchester Piccadilly – a little over two hours. And starting next year there will even be a train going straight from London to Manchester Airport without having to change train in Manchester Piccadilly. Et Voilá, as they say in France.

But Manchester Airport lacks one fundamental thing to keep an airport running. Guess what?

Helloooooo, anyone here?

Busiest check in counters so far

Virtually empty

And that brings me back to my clever Paris Hilton comparison. Paris Hilton wears a lot of bling-bling (jewellery that sparkle and shine) and so does Manchester Airport. I have been to some of the busiest airports in the world, but I have never been to an airport that was that well assorted. The tax free shop had EVERYTHING, no bookstore in my hometown Copenhagen could compeed with the selection of travel guides and there was even a fancy car exhibit and a spa.

All the travel books you could dream of

Great tax free, but also haunted by the empty theme

Fancy car exhibit

The staff had no customers so they started massaging each other

Ding, ding, ding… correct. The airport lacks people, human beings, passenger. No one was there!

It is such a shame as the airport has so many good things going for itself. I think the staff at the airport was probably the nicest airport staff I’ve ever met – from the check-in counter and security staff to the cleaning lady who showed my direction to the washrooms and the helpful staff at the Business Lounge. But the airport was just eerily empty. Again, not unlike Paris Hilton.

I hope that passengers and airlines one day discover this airport. Up in Manchester they are certainly ready to be discovered.

3 Nov 2010
Christina Lund Sørensen
I'm a keen collector of refrigerator magnets and I have a newfound passion for 'usu nigori' - sparkling sake

Dear Blog-reader,

I would like to draw your attention to the picture of me above this text. Look carefully at the scarf. If you see it anywhere, do let me know as I’ve now almost given up hope that I will ever get it back from Finnair.

I stupidly forgot the scarf on a flight from Helsinki to Berlin on the 23rd of October and a couple of days later I called the lost and found office in Helsinki, who told me to write them an email. I wrote:

“To whom it may concern,

I lost my scarf on the flight from Helsinki to Berlin on Saturday the 23rd of October. The flight that departed Helsinki at 09.40 am. The scarf is a home-knitted, woolen scarf in the colors black and green and should have been found under the seat of  2D.

I will be in Helsinki Airport on Friday/Saturday. Is it possible that I can come and pick it up?

Kind Regards,

Christina Lund Sorensen”

Today, more than a week later, I get a response:

“Unfortunately we have not received your scarf.

Warm greeting, Finland’s Found Property Service”

I’m fully aware of the fact that it is my own responsibility to remember my belongings, when I leave the plane, but how can it be gone? I mean, it’s a plane and not the Bermuda triangle. Someone must have found it and put it somewhere. It’s not the most fashionable scarf in the world, but surely no one can have thrown it out, or can they? What happens to the things we forget by mistake that are never found?

It’s the first time I ever forget anything on a flight, train, bus etc (ahem… apart from a book that is banned in Thailand that I forgot on a Thai Airways flight, but I didn’t really try to get that back) and I need your help. Have you ever forgotten something on a flight? Did it turn up again? How did you get it back?

15 Oct 2010
Christina Lund Sørensen
I'm a keen collector of refrigerator magnets and I have a newfound passion for 'usu nigori' - sparkling sake

This cannot be argued, in my opinion. Food servings on flights are ghastly at worst and bland and boring at best. But why does it have to be like that and why do we  as passengers accept it?

In most countries there are constant debates concerning healthy food. We discuss the need of eating enough fruit and greens, cut back on sugar and get plenty of fibres through our meals. Most Scandinavians and Europeans in general want to eat well. We want fresh, quality ingredients made in to healthy dishes that gives us energy and satisfies our hunger. This is an obvious trend. A trend most airlines apparently haven’t been able to pick up on yet.

On the following picture is, what was the first serving – the hot meal – on my flight from Nagoya to Helsinki.

The Meal

I had the option between chicken and beef and chose the chicken, which seemed like a safe bet. But the chicken meat was fatty and chewy and the potatoes were overcooked to the point of destruction. The rest of the warm dish contained a tasteless sauce and carrots and spinach. The carrot and spinach was eatable, but is was not quite enough to make me full. Luckily there was a small salad and green Japanese noodles accompanied by soy sauce and wasabi. This was relatively tasty and fresh and a lifesaver for me at that point. Otherwise I would have been hungry all the way to Helsinki.

And then there was the bread. Oh, the bread. An all time favourite hate-object of mine on the many flights I’ve been on. It is nine out of ten times a bun made out of yeast, wheat, water and a bit of salt and nothing else. But isn’t that what bread is made from? What more do I want? I always wonder, when I’m being served that tasteless, unhealthy piece of bread – how much more would it cost airlines to serve passengers wholegrain or whole wheat bread? Bread that would fill our stomachs and make us feel good, when we’re flying. Nurturing food is crucial for our wellbeing. And Finland – the home of healthy rye bread – should have an airline that serves good bread. Full stop.

But at least the view was nice

Before landing in Helsinki serving number two came up, and to be honest I don’t even know what it was. A hotdog bread with unidentified slices of fatty meat, melted cheese, ketchup and a single slice of tomato.

Sort of sandwich with unidentified meat

One of the things that Finnair wants to be associated with is freshness, but to be honest the food, that I got, left a lot to be desired for. And apparently I wasn’t the only one thinking this I noticed that the passengers around me didn’t finish their meals either. But this is not just a critique of Finnair – it’s directed to ALL airlines I’ve ever flown with.

But at least the view was nice

I don’t expect gourmet meals, when I fly and I understand that the food is pre-produced, packed, heated and then served in the sky, but is it impossible to serve healthy and tasty food in Economy Class, where most of us are to be found, when we fly?

Oh, and one more thing – serving smelly cheese on a flight is a bad, bad idea. Even if they are suppliers to the Danish royal court.

Smelly Danish Cheese

THE END…

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