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Sofas at Aspire Lounge Helsinki Airport
Instead of an expensive airport cafe, why not relax in an airport lounge.

Helsinki Airport Lounges: The Ultimate Guide

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Airport Lounges

Airport lounges are peaceful waiting areas maintained by airlines or ground service companies. In the past, lounges were meant mainly for business class passengers to enjoy complimentary services before flights. Nowadays, many lounges are open to any traveller. That is the case at Helsinki Airport, too. Usually, lounges offer snacks and drinks including but not limited to alcoholic beverages. Lounges offer also other complimentary services. For example, free fast WiFi, shower facilities, computer/iPad usage and printing services. The use of lounge premises and services is not free for economy class passengers but accessing a lounge with an economy ticket is still feasible thru different methods. Paying the entrance fee on the spot is usually the most expensive way to access a lounge but unknown to many, there are several ways to access airport lounges more affordably. Airport lounges are not only for business class passengers but also for ordinary travellers. In this article, we introduce Helsinki Airport lounges and many affordable ways to enjoy them.

Dress Code in Lounges

Almost all lounges have a common dress code which is smart casual. Practically, this code means that you need to wear decent clothes. In Helsinki Airport lounges, a casual dress is enough. Visitors should avoid wearing short clothing, a fancy dress and those clothes containing offensive prints/slogans. It means also that you need to forget your favourite shorts and slippers when visiting a lounge.

Helsinki Airport Lounges and Locations

There are six airport lounges at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport:

  • Finnair Schengen Lounge (review)
  • Finnair non-Schengen Lounge
  • Finnair Platinum Wing
  • Scandinavian Airlines Lounge
  • Aspire Lounge (review)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge

All the lounges are located after the security control so lounge visitors are required to have a valid boarding pass.

Aspire Lounge is situated after the security control in the Schengen Area, Gate 27 upstairs (3rd floor). Information signs are clear so the lounge is easy to locate. Aspire Lounge is our favourite lounge and it is open for anyone including visitors wishing to pay a small fee to get in and for those having a lounge membership.

Sofas in Aspire Lounge
In Aspire Lounge, the atmosphere is peaceful. The lounge offers complimentary drinks and snacks.

Finnair Schengen Lounge is also located after the security control at the terminal's corner (3rd floor). Stairs at Gate 22 lead to the lounge. The lounge serves mainly Finnnair's and its partners' customers and status members.

Entrance to Finnar Lounge
Finnair Schengen Lounge is located at the corner of Terminal 2 close to Gate 22.

SAS Lounge is located after the security control in the Schengen area at Gate 13 on the same level as the departure gates. This is the only lounge in Terminal 1. SAS Lounge is for mainly Star Alliance customers flying in the business class or having a Star Alliance status card, for example, Eurobonus Gold.

Finnair Non-Schengen Lounge and Finnair Platinum Wing can be found easily after the passport control close to Gates 50(a,b,c...). These gates are located in a separate hall accessible thru a small corridor. Finnair Lounges are right there where the corridor to Gates 50 (a,b,c...) begins.

Plaza Premium Lounge is located after the passport control a little before Gate 40 at the same floor level as the departure gates. Walking straight through the corridor after Gate 34 will lead you to Gate 40, on its right side, there is Plaza Premium Lounge. You can pay yourself in with money or with a suitable lounge membership card.

Are you new to Plaza Premium Lounges? Have a taste of them by reading our review of the Plaza Premium Lounge at Hong Kong Airport.

American Express Lounges At Helsinki-Vantaa

Unfortunately, Helsinki Airport does not have any American Express lounges. However, there is one Priority Pass lounge at the airport. Priority Pass membership comes free of extra charge with many Amex cards.

How to Access Helsinki Airport Lounges?

Finnair's and SAS's lounges are mainly meant for airline's own and their partners' customers. Third-party lounges can be accessed more easily.

Finnair Platinum Wing is solely intended for passengers who are travelling to a non-Schengen destination with the most expensive Finnair or oneworld tickets, obviously for those who are travelling in the business class. The flight must be marketed and operated by any oneworld airline. The lounge is also open to premium loyalty cardholders of Finnair or its oneworld partners (min. Finnair Plus Platinum Lumo or oneworld Emerald status). Other Finnair lounges are also meant for Finnair's customers but they can be accessed also with a corresponding fee by anyone. Similarly, SAS Lounge in the Terminal 1 is meant for Star Alliance customers. Fortunately, the two other lounges listed above can be accessed without any loyalty card or a high-class ticket.

Premium Ticket

The simplest but not the cheapest way to access a lounge is to buy a Business Class ticket. Business tickets of Finnair and oneworld companies give access to lounges which are maintained by Finnair. Meanwhile, Star Alliance customers are directed to Scandinavian Airlines Lounge. Other airlines have usually outsourced their business class passengers to third party lounges. At Helsinki Airport, these passengers head to Aspire Lounge in the Schengen area or to Plaza Premium Lounge in the non-Schengen area.

Credit Card Perk

For frequent travellers, it is not reasonable to buy an expensive business class ticket for the sake of enjoying lounges. Business-class tickets are usually really expensive and not easily affordable for all holidaymakers. However, not purchasing business class tickets does not mean locking the doors of every lounge. The easiest and cheapest way to get in is to have the right credit cards. Some credit card companies offer free or reduced prices for airport lounge visits. For example, Diners Club holders can access many lounges free of charge or with a small fee (depending on the card issuer). In Nordic countries, Eurocard is another good option to have reduced-priced lounge access. American Express gives premium cardholders a Priority Pass perk that entitles usually to a few free lounge visits. The best Amex cards come with unlimited lounge access benefits.

Lounge Membership

Priority Pass is perhaps the most well-known lounge membership program. As a member regardless of the level, you are entitled to lounge access valid in all major airports. The Priority Pass membership comes often free of charge along with many credit cards, including the American Express Card as mentioned above. Surely, Priority Pass membership can be bought separately too. The cards are multi-level, and usually, the memberships that come with basic credit cards include 4 free lounge visits, with additional visits costing about 28 euros. Better cards come with unlimited visits. You can also purchase a Priority Pass membership with unlimited lounge access and its price is 399 euros. The exact price varies between regions.

We have published a review of Priority Pass.

At Helsinki Airport, Aspire Lounge accepts Diners Club and Priority Pass. There are no authentic American Express Lounges at Helsinki Airport.

Lounge Key is a similar lounge program as Priority Pass. It is included in some credit cards. Lounge Key membership cannot be bought with pure money but it always comes with a credit card. In Helsinki Airport, Lounge Key has the same lounge selection as Priority Pass.

Having a lounge membership does not guarantee that a lounge visit is free of charge. With premium cards, a visit is always free but on lower membership levels you need to pay about 25-30 euros for every visit after you have spent limited complimentary visits.

Travel Class Upgrade

A great and affordable way to increase your journey's quality is a travel class upgrade by airlines' miles. In the case of intra-European flights by Finnair, paying for the upgrade with Finnair Plus points is a good option. For example, Finnair occasionally offers low-priced bids to get yourself upgraded. Meanwhile, Scandinavian Airlines trades upgrades on auctions. In the case of SAS, you may also choose to pay for the upgrades with money at moderately cheap rates. In return, the travel class upgrade includes also lounge access, so this is often a cost-effective way to access airport lounges.

Lounge Pass with Money

If you do not own a suitable lounge membership or if you just want to try a lounge once, a single lounge visit can be availed at a reduced rate on Lounge Pass. The company sells inexpensive lounge passes to airport lounges around the world including Helsinki Airport. If you intend to visit lounges several times a year, a lounge membership becomes cheaper.

Bidding for Access to a Lounge

At Helsinki Airport, you can bid for access to Aspire. That is a way to get in surprisingly affordably. Bidding is a good option especially outside the busy hours or if you intend to stay only a short period inside the lounge.

LoungePair is a an innovative lounge bidding platform where you decide the price yourself. You need to choose the price, arrival time and the length of the stay. The lounge accepts or rejects your offer usually in less than 24 hours. Outside the busy hours, the lounge can accept a surprisingly low offer.

at Helsinki Airport, you can visit Aspire Lounge even for 20 euros/person. If the lounge rejects your offer, the payment card won't be charged. The bid can be cancelled free of charge as long as the lounge has not accepted your bid.

Table 1. Target groups of Helsinki Airport's lounges
Lounge Target group
Finnair Lounges Finnair and oneworld customers
SAS Lounge SAS and Star Alliance customers
Aspire Lounge Members of lounge programs
Premium customers of certain airliners
Customers paying with money
Plaza Premium Lounge Premium customers of certain airlines
Customers paying with money

It is possible to access almost any lounge just by walking in and paying at the reception. But it becomes expensive.

Lounge or Cafe?

Cafes at Helsinki Airport are pricey. Even though paying 30 euros for a lounge visit may sound expensive, choosing a lounge instead of a cafe may finally become cheaper. In the table below, we compare the costs of visiting a cafe against Aspire Lounge.

Table 2. A comparison of the prices of typical food products in a cafe and in Aspire Lounge.
Product Cafe Lounge
Special Coffee 6€ incl.
Soup + Salad 12€ incl.
Desert 6€ incl.
A Wine and a Sparkling Wine 20€ incl.
Total 44€ 32€

The comparison shows that if you intend to have multiple drinks and some snacks at Helsinki Airport, visiting any lounge is a wiser choice. Costs of the visit will stay smaller. Cafes are also noisy but in a lounge, you can enjoy a peaceful atmosphere for many hours with a fixed price tag. In addition to the complimentary catering, lounges offer other services such as free newspapers/magazines and stable WiFi.

Did you know that you can fill your portable water bottle in a lounge and take it into the cabin? Then you don't need to wait for onboard service to buy water. Tap water in major airports is usually clean but that is not the case in every country. Why not buy a self-cleaning water bottle that you can easily fill in the lounge and take into an aircraft. (#amazon #ad)

While you are not flying in the business class and you do not own a good enough loyalty card of oneworld or Star Alliance, it's better to forget Finnair's and SAS's lounges. In theory, you may pay yourself into these lounges outside the rush hours but it is expensive.

Frequent Travellers

For frequent travellers, we recommend a lounge membership. With a membership, it does not matter which airline to board. The easiest way to acquire a lounge membership is to own the right credit card and to get a lounge membership free of extra charges.

If you can't get a lounge membership with a credit card you may also buy one with pure money, for example from Priority Pass.

By concentrating all your journeys on a single airline, it is possible to climb to a high enough level of the airline's miles program. That gives you complimentary access to airlines' lounges. In Helsinki, that means access to Finnair or SAS lounges. To achieve this status, you need to fly a lot so the solution is mainly suitable for business travellers. For leisure travellers, the cheapest way to fly is always to buy an affordable flight ticket no matter which airline and to buy lounge access separately.

Infrequent Travellers

For the infrequent travellers, a lounge membership does not give much value. Luckily, you can access almost all lounges at Helsinki Airport just by walking in and paying on the spot. However, this way is often expensive so it is recommended to pre-book a visit on the internet. Travellers to the Schengen area are recommended to book Aspire Lounge while the other may wish to try Plaza Premium Lounge.

Which Helsinki Airport Lounge Is the Best?

Lounges at Helsinki Airport have separate target groups so it is difficult to select the best one. Finnair lounges are of high quality but getting in is difficult. SAS Lounge is modest to be an airline lounge in a major airport.

From third party lounges, Plaza Premium Lounge is known for its superb quality. You should visit this lounge even though it is not the cheapest one.

Aspire Lounge is the only publicly available lounge in the Schengen area. It is affordable but offering still good services.

Contact Details of the Lounges

Table 3. Contact details of Helsinki Airport lounges.
Lounge Schedule
Aspire Lounge Twitter @AirportLounges
Finnair Lounges www.finnair.fi
Scandinavian Airlines Lounge www.flysas.com
Plaza Premium Lounge finland@plaza-network.com
Finnair non-Schengen Lounge www.finnair.fi
Finnair Platinum Wing www.finnair.fi

Bottom Line

You can consider airport lounges as substitutes for expensive food in airport restaurants. It is important to find out what is your best way to access lounges. This decision is often influenced by how often you travel and also which credit cards you have. It is also significant to remember that, your chosen method of accessing lounges determines which lounges will be available to you.

For infrequent travellers, we recommend booking lounge access already before a journey. The price will also be cheaper.

Even though you may just walk into many lounges in Helsinki Airport and pay at the counter, we do not recommend doing it. Pre-bookings give you better prices and your entry is secured even during busy hours.

Which Helsinki Airport lounge is your favourite? Comment below!

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Destination: Finland

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