Pitch-black darkness, clear skies, and a stroke of good luck are often the elements you'll need for a glimpse of the Northern Lights. However, if you're flying on Finnair's new fleet of A350 XWB carriers, you simply have to look up to find this kaleidoscope of colours sweeping through the cabin. There's nothing quite like seeing the real thing itself, but this LED light show fanning out on the ceiling of the cabin was a soothing sight to behold, one that accents the Finnish carrier's decidedly Nordic in-flight experience.
Other pops of colour in the cabin come by way of designer touches from Finnish design powerhouse Marimekko. Playful prints in bright splashes of green and blue anoint everything from dining ware and amenity kits to blankets you hide under when the seat folds down into your very own Marimekko bed in the sky. It could have been the quiet Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines, the state-of-the-art filtering system that piped in fresh air every three minutes, or the absence of a wailing baby, but whatever it was, I clocked up a full eight hours of sleep — waking up in time to have breakfast (designed by Kari Aihinen, executive chef de cuisine of Helsinki's famed Savoy Restaurant), catch a movie, and buckle up for the descent into Helsinki.
Finns and Singaporeans can count themselves pretty lucky to be amongst the first to fly the new A350 XWB planes between Europe and Asia. While Singapore Airlines has already enlisted the new A350 XWB planes on its Europe-Asia routes, Finnair prides itself as the first European carrier to do so. At 11 hours and 20 minutes, my flight from Singapore to Helsinki proved to be a surprisingly short bridge between two continents, and quite possibly the shortest flight I've ever taken between Singapore and Europe. If Helsinki isn't your final destination, we'd advise taking advantage of Finland's StopOver programme, which allows you to spend up to five days exploring the country before hopping onto your connecting flight.
Finnair flies up to seven times weekly between Singapore and Helsinki. For more information, click here.