Food,  Other

Airline in-flight meal experience: Finnair

Hello readers! It’s been a while since I posted here, but that’s because I was busy visiting India in the last month (Dec 2022) – I travelled to visit family after over 3 and a half years. I’ve had several posts in queue (from the Canary Islands, Finland and Portugal trips) but things were so busy I didn’t manage to publish any… and now I have tons of new content.

As I plan out all that, thought I’d make a quick post on airplane travel, and specifically about in-flight meal options onboard FINNAIR long haul flights. I’d like to share my recent experience and also hear about your experiences!

I have now updated this post to also include my journey from Helsinki to Singapore in 2024.

Check out our YouTube for recent travel clips: Veganhaven Travel

Departure from Helsinki
In-flight meals: VGML
Finnair: Helsinki – Delhi
– meals on Helsinki – Delhi flight
– meals on Delhi – Helsinki flight
Finnair: Helsinki – Singapore
– meals on Helsinki – Singapore flight
– meals on Singapore – Helsinki flight
Table of contents.

Departure from Helsinki

Finnair is Finland’s national carrier and Helsinki-Vantaa Airport is the main international transit hub. It connects Northern Europe with Asia and North America and has also many direct routes to European destinations.

Helsinki Airport is one of the best in the world, and after travelling through here so many times, I can say it has one of the smoothest airport check-ins and security systems!

At Helsinki airport before departure. ⬆

Let’s talk about in-flight meals!

While booking long-haul, the airline usually asks you for your meal choice and this is included in the ticket price. We choose the VGML option, which in airline lingo, is the non-dairy vegetarian meal.

It’s important to make sure you pre-select it, as there’s a chance the flight will not stock a ‘special diet’ option otherwise. While it would be great if the default meal served would be cruelty-free, we are far from a vegan world right now. So, remember to pre-order or pre-select your meal.

Packing snacks for a long flight.

All the flights I’ve taken in the last 5 years have had a vegan option to select – this includes Finnair, Norwegian, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Turkish Airlines. I’m lucky to say that I’ve never had any real issues (I’ve heard awful stories of people not getting anything proper to eat on a 10-hour flight). I still carry a few snacks with me (protein bars, crisps and nuts), as any seasoned traveller would.

2022

FINNAIR Flight: HELSINKI – DELHI

On this trip, I took 4 flights (2 long-haul) in total to reach my destination in India and back to Helsinki and could pre-select my meals on each flight (Finnair and Air India).

Meals on Helsinki – Delhi flight

This was an 8 hour 20 minute flight, with one meal served at the beginning and a snack before landing. I got my dinner meal before everyone else (the perks of pre-selecting a ‘special’ meal, I guess).

The default meal served to everyone on this flight was vegetarian! It was something like veggie couscous but had some dairy products on the side. Mine was completely different – pulao rice with black lentil dal plus veg korma. The side was a measly portion of potato salad which I didn’t really like, bread, margarine and a small vegan sweet bun – which was nice.

airline in flight meal

Tea/coffee and juice is served along with meals and, in addition, one complimentary alcoholic drink. Finnair doesn’t have ‘unlimited’ beverage service – only the first drink with your meal is complimentary (with a choice of wine or beer). I’ve previously flown to Asia with Emirates and Qatar Airways, and they provided you a few complimentary drinks. Personally, I would avoid drinking much on the journey, as alcohol doesn’t help with the jet-lag.

The morning snack given to us was just a muffin (not vegan), which I didn’t take and later found that they had oatmeal bars too. Anyway, I was too sleepy at the time so didn’t eat anything. Overall, the food served on this flight was good, but a portion that would leave an average person feeling hungry.

How I survived a 7-hour layover at Delhi Airport.

I then arrived at Delhi T3, to spend a tired 7+ hours waiting for my domestic flight to Kochi, where my parents live. I didn’t find any currency exchange open, so could not obtain Indian Rupees in cash to buy anything to eat.

Meals on Delhi – Helsinki return flight

The return journey was a 9+ hour flight. This route used to be 8 hours, but the current re-route to avoid Russian and Ukrainian airspace makes it a longer trip.

Flight route between Finland and India.

It was an early morning trip, and we were served a breakfast meal and a light lunch! The breakfast was a hot Indian meal of roti (a piece of flat bread) with chana masala and a potato cutlet. On the side was a bun with jam and fruit salad (I got 2, strange..).

Another light meal was served a couple of hours before landing, and this was a warm box of pasta! I was hungry by then – the previous meal wasn’t filling at all – so this was a good thing! The penne pasta just had tomato purée and herbs (a bit too much parsley) but was very much eatable.

Meals on Kochi – Delhi Air India flight

I also had a meal served on one of my domestic flights between Delhi and Kochi. I’ll share it here as well, in case you’d like to see. This was a 3-hour journey with Air India and you could pre-select a VGML meal. Cucumber-tomato salad on the side, rice with yellow dal and ‘bhindi’ (lady’s finger) masala – a very homely meal. The small box was dessert, something like jalebi – very sweet. Black tea/coffee for beverage. The portion was good, and I’m glad I got a meal on this flight, as I arrived in Delhi very late.

airline in flight meal

2024

FINNAIR Flight: HELSINKI – SINGAPORE

This year I made a trip to Singapore to visit my sister and found a direct flight from Helsinki to Singapore on campaign prices! This is the longest flight journey I’ve taken so far and luckily, it was an overnight flight. I wasn’t too worried about food, since the experience with Finnair has generally been good.

So, with the pre-ordered VGML meals, let’s see what we got.

OK, about this. Finnair now has different tickets types, and the basic ticket ‘Economy Super Light’, doesn’t even include luggage – quite frustrating when long haul flights had 1 piece of checked luggage included; now you have to pay 20-30 EUR extra. What’s more, they don’t let you pick your seats for free, not even upon check-in. They also separate you if you’ve booked with family/friends. This flight gave you the option to pay 36 EUR or more for a window seat, but so many seats were empty that it was pointless.

These frustrations aside, let’s see how the food onboard is this time.

Meals on Helsinki – Singapore flight

The meals were similar as before. The warm meal ‘dinner’ served shortly after take-off was a typical dal-rice dish, with a side of coleslaw. There was a piece of bread with margarine and also a sweet bun as dessert. Taste wise OK and it was filling enough.

The lights were turned down after, and it was sleepy time for everyone. The flight was pretty uneventful and calm, and I was able to get some sleep! The selection of movies wasn’t great, I did not really watch any after browsing through a few.

In the morning, we were served a light breakfast and I got a vegan couscous/semolina kind of dish along with a vegetable and lentil curry. It was not bad! There was unfortunately no sweet treat or bread on the side. They did not even offer plant-based milk for coffee.

Meals on Singapore – Helsinki return flight

On the way back, the meals were quite disappointing. It was basic pasta served as the warm ‘dinner’, again with plain bread and salad side, no dessert. No fruit either. My last long haul was Edelweiss Swiss Air from Zurich to Tanzania, and it was way better compared to this. I was expecting better from Finnair.

Dinner.

The morning snack was tofu with potato hash and some boiled veg. This honestly did not taste nice. It’s like they just crumbled some tofu out of the package without any flavouring. The veg were also tasteless.. rubbery beans. My least favourite in-flight meal. At least there was hot coffee –

Breakfast.

But no plant milk given! I’m surprised that Finnair has not improved their food service on board. On such a long flight, a good meal is essential. It’s not so hard to put together a tasty plant based meal in 2024!

Flight from Singapore to Helsinki.

Share your experience!

Let me know about your in-flight meal experiences! Have you had better or worse meals? Was there any occasion you didn’t get a vegan meal? What was the best meal you ever had while up in the air? Let me know in the comments below!

in flight experiences
Happy flying!

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Last updated on April 10th, 2024

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