As you may know, especially if you follow me on Instagram, I was in Los Angeles in November to celebrate my 30th birthday and I’m also currently in Los Angeles. What was extra exciting with the November trip, was flying with Finnair straight from Helsinki to LAX on the new AY1 and AY2 flights, on the new A350 airplane. Now that I’m back again, I flew with SAS, straight from Stockholm to LAX, on their A330. So, with that said – this post will be all about comparing those two flight routes, and what it is like to fly straight all the way from Scandinavia to Los Angeles!
First, let’s talk about the new “northern route” from Hki to LAX on Finnair’s new A350.
I had wanted to fly this route ever since it was launched in the Spring of 2019, and as the route flies over my home in Vasa – I had been reminded of it several times of the week when the A350 swished by, ever since (yeah I’m kind of an airplane nerd, so I’m always looking up noticing airplanes in the sky, and always checking them up on the Flightradar – app. Nerdy much?).
So, how was it? I loved the flight! It was just a bit over 10 hours, we had very little turbulence (just a bit over Norway where they had some kind of storm), and the passengers on the plane were all pretty mellow. I got a lot of sleep (I slept most of the flight), the food was good (as always on Finnair flights taking off from Helsinki (yes, there’s a difference!)), and there was never even any lines forming to the toilets (which was so nice, as we had the seats in the back just by the toilets, where lines usually form and can get a little frustrating for the passengers in the last couple of rows). I had a window seat and all was good.
I really must say that the AY1 flight was just as fantastic as I had imagined it to be, and I felt so happy jumping off the plane, knowing that I’d fly the exact same route on the AY2 flight back home in two weeks.
But how was flying back to Scandinavia on the same route?
Well, it was just as good as the route to LAX. No turbulence, mellow passengers, window seat in the back, the flight was on-time and so on… BUT, the food on the flight home was not as good as the flight over there, and I guess that had to do with the fact that it had been made in the US and not in Finland. There really is a big difference where the airplane food is made, and I must say that Finland definitely makes a whole lot of betters foods than the Americans make when it comes to airplane food… And I dare say that this is not just the case for Finnair, but also for British Airways, KLM and so on.
Enough about Finnair, how was Stockholm to LAX with SAS?
As the HKI-LAX route with Finnair was so amazing, I was very skeptical about getting on the SAS A330 plane that was gonna take me to LAX last week… Especially since I didn’t even get a window seat, but a seat in the middle of the plane. Isle though, so that was OK.
But, how was it? Let me break it down to you…
First and foremost – I loved the first meal we got, which was dinner! I had ordered a gluten-free meal (as always) and I can honestly say that it was the best airplane meal I’ve ever had. What was served was a vegan green curry with rice, bread with camembert cheese and a vegan chocolate ganache. It really was so good that I wanted another portion, yum! But the second meal that was served just before landing..? A catastrophe! A dry sandwich with tomatoes, a few lettuce leaves and ham in it, and as I don’t eat ham nor like tomatoes – all that was left of my sandwich to eat was some dry bread and lettuce. Yuck! The second meal was such a disappointment, and I’m lucky I had packed some snacks to eat instead so I didn’t have to leave the plane hungry.
The flight time with SAS from Stockholm to LAX was a bit longer than with Finnair from Helsinki, as it took us 11,5 hours. I guess that’s got to do with the airplane model, the A350’s can fly at faster speeds (correct me if I’m wrong (?)). But, I was pleasantly surprised by how fresh the cabin was, and I also thought that it was fun to watch some Swedish movies for once on the entertainment system (I did miss the many games that can be found on Finnair flights though, especially Tetris, Angry Birds World tour, and Who wants to become a millionaire – love playing those when I fly with Finnair!).
The SAS flight was a bit noisier than the Finnair flight, but that’s got to do with the fact that the Finnair flight was a night-flight while the SAS one was a day-flight – a.k.a. people were up and about, chatting in the aisle, going to the bathroom, etc. I definitely prefer night-flights over day-flights just for this reason, I want peace & quiet when I travel!
Summary: which flight was better, Finnair or SAS?
Well, Finnair, of course! What can I say, I am obsessed with the A350, I prefer flying night-time, I like their entertainment system more, their app and managing bookings is way better than SAS’s, etc. etc. BUT, I do have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with both SAS and their A330! The flight was smooth, the captain kept checking in for a chat on sightseeing (“if you look to the right you can see Las Vegas”), the cabin was new and fresh (not as great as on the A350 though) and so on. But if I had to choose a favorite, my vote is 100% Finnair! And truth to be told – SAS isn’t even flying the Stockholm to LAX route anymore… The flight I was on was one of their last on the route, and the route has now been switched to Copenhagen-LAX instead.
So… When you want to fly Scandinavia to LAX – choose Finnair and Helsinki as your departure city, and I promise that you won’t be disappointed! Maybe you’ll even jump on it soon, to come see me..?