Helsinki via Dublin, Part 1

Whilst some of the other tier point earning trips might come close, this trip is probably as close as I’m going to get this year to pointless flying. Over the weekend I’m going to fit in 6 flights, Dublin to Helsinki via London, nested within a London to Dublin return. Why Helsinki? It’s one of the longer short haul routes that BA operate, netting 80 tier points each way. Plus there’s a decent Hilton a few minutes walk from the terminal, useful for a late arrival and early departure the next day.

Heathrow Express

It’s early Saturday morning, and the first leg is on the BA830, the 8:20 departure from Heathrow T5 to Dublin. Unless I have a departure at such an ungodly hour that it’s necessary to drive, the Heathrow Express from Paddington is a pretty civilised way to get to Heathrow and takes only 20 minutes. Weekday fares bought on the day are high, but a 90 day advance fare on a weekend is a little over £5, and for a small supplement of around £2 you can upgrade to business first which is more comfortable and gives you a complementary copy of the FT.

Heathrow to Dublin (40 TP)

Heathrow T5 is quiet at 06:45 and the BA first lounge quieter still. This Dublin return is on a separate ticket, which means that if it’s late and I miss my next flight as a result, then I have no recourse to BA for rebooking and I’m on my own, but the flight is showing on time, and with an almost 4 hour layover at Dublin, there’s no stress.

We take off on time, and there’s a nice view of T5 from runway 27R.

Dublin to Heathrow (40 TP)

Landing at Dublin, and heading immediately back airside and to the lounge in T1, and it’s heaving. Apparently there’s a long-haul service quite badly delayed. But there are still a few spare seats, and since the refurb, it’s comfortable enough.

The flight back to London is also on time, and after landing at T5, it’s time for a terminal change.

Heathrow to Helsinki (80 TP)

BA’s Helsinki flights depart from T3, and with plenty of time to spare, decide to checkout the Heathrow Express transfer. The transfer is free, but you need to get a transfer ticket from one of the blue machines.

T3 mid afternoon is stark contrast to T5 earlier, and even the Cathay First lounge barely has a spare seat. The adjacent business lounge has an excellent noodle bar, and fortunately has room to sit.

The Helsinki flight departs at 18:15 from Gate 27, about a 5 minute walk from the lounge. The aircraft is G-TTNA, the very first of BA’s new A320 Neo’s or New Engine Option planes, delivered April 2018. They’re more fuel efficient than the Ceo’s or Current Engine Option aircraft, and have distinctive sharklets at the end of the wings. The new engines are quieter and more refined, but it’s disappointing to see that BA have removed the middle table from the Club Europe cabin, leaving just an empty seat, and other than the extra tier points even less reason to pay for this class of travel.

The flight is relatively uneventful, and over in 2h 45mins. Landing at Helsinki, there’s a covering of snow on the ground, and more than a little chill in the air as I head to the hotel.

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