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Sofas at Aspire Lounge Helsinki Airport

Instead of an expensive airport cafe, why not to relax in an airport lounge.

Helsinki Airport Lounges: The Ultimate Guide

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Table of Contents

  1. Airport Lounges
    1. Dress Code in Lounges
  2. Helsinki Airport Lounges and Locations
  3. American Express Lounges At Helsinki-Vantaa
  4. How to Visit Helsinki Airport Lounges?
    1. Premium Ticket
    2. Credit Card Perk
    3. Lounge Membership
    4. Travel Class Upgrade
    5. Lounge Pass with Money
    6. Bidding for Access to a Lounge
  5. Lounge or Cafe?
  6. Recommended Lounges at Helsinki Airport
    1. Frequent Travellers
    2. Infrequent Travellers
  7. Lounge Reviews
    1. Which Helsinki Airport Lounge Is the Best?
  8. Helsinki Airport Lounges Opening Times
    1. Contact Details
  9. Bottom Line

Airport Lounges

Airport lounges are peaceful waiting areas maintained by airlines or by 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, it means that you need to wear decent clothes. In Helsinki Airport, a casual dress is absolutely 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 the Gate 22 lead you 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 in the corner of the Terminal 2 close to the 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 the 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 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 like Priority Pass.

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 are two Priority Pass lounges at the airport. Priority Pass membership comes free of extra charge with many Amex cards.

How to Visit 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 an oneworld airline. The lounge is also open to premium loyalty card holders of Finnair or its oneworld partners (min. Finnair Plus Platinum Lumo or oneworld Emerald status). Other Finnair lounges are also meant for Finnair's own customers but they can be accessed also with a correspoding 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 NO 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 expensive business class ticket for the sake of enjoying lounges. Business class tickets are usually really expensive and not easily affordable for all holiday makers. However, not purchasing business class tickets does not mean locking the doors of every lounges. The easiest and the cheapest way to get in is to have right the 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 its premium card holders a Priority Pass perk that entitles usually to a few free lounge visits. The best Amex cards come with unlimited lounge access benefit.

Lounge Membership

Priority Pass is perhaps the most well-known lounge membership program. As a member regardless of the level, you are entitled for 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 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.

In Helsinki Airport, Aspire Lounge accepts Diners Club and Priority Pass. Plaza Premium Lounge also accepts 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 to 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 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 the upgrades with money at moderately cheap rates. In return, the travel class upgrade includes also a 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 in a year, Priority Pass becomes cheaper.

Bidding for Access to a Lounge

In Helsinki Airport, you can bid for access to Aspire Lounge and Plaza Premium Lounge. 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 new innovative lounge bidding platform where you decide the price yourself. You need to choose the price, scheduled arrival time and the length of the stay. The lounge will accept or reject your offer usually in less than 24 hours. Outside the busy hours, the lounge can accept surprisingly low offer.

In Helsinki Airport, you can visit Aspire Lounge and Plaza Premium 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.

Register to LoungePair and make the first bid.

Table 1. illustrates ways to access Helsinki airport lounges without a need of expensive flight tickets or elite statuses in airlines' loyalty programs.
Lounge Access Method Price
Finnair Lounge A pre-purchased voucher for Finnair Plus customers About 29,25 € + 1 000 Finnair points
or 13 000 points
Finnair Lounge Finnair travel class upgrade For example, 7500 - 10 000 points when the destination is within Europe.
SAS Lounge Travel class upgrade Starts from 5000 Eurobonus points by the auction,
one can also offer money.
Aspire Lounge Diners Club,
Priority Pass,
Lounge Key
Card issuers have their own price lists.
Plaza Premium Lounge Priority Pass,
Lounge Key
Card issuers have their own price lists.

Taking part in the Scandinavian Airlines lounge auction requires a SAS flight ticket. Using Finnair Lounge vouchers requires Finnair's own (or Norra's) flight ticket.

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 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.

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 in to 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 a 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 to a single airline, it is possible to climb to a high enough level of airline's miles program. That gives you a complimentary access to airlines' own 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 a lounge access separately.

Infrequent Travellers

At Helsinki Airport, it is possible to buy a single entry lounge passes to Aspire Lounge and to Plaza Premium Lounge no matter which ticket class you have.

  • Schengen Area: Aspire Lounge (Book)
  • Non-Shengen Area: Plaza Premium Lounge (Book)

Lounge Reviews

We have reviewed the following Helsinki Airport Lounges:

In addition, we recommend checking out these reviews written by others:

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 Premimum Lounge is known of 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.

Helsinki Airport Lounges Opening Times

Table 3. The opening times of Helsinki Airport Lounges.
Lounge Schedule
Aspire Lounge 8.00 - 18.00
Finnair Schengen Lounge 5.30 - 24.00
Scandinavian Airlines Lounge Opens 60 minutes before the first SAS flight and closes 30 minutes before the last departure.
Plaza Premium Lounge 5.00 - 23.00
Finnair non-Schengen Lounge 5.30 - 24.00
Finnair Platinum Wing 5.30 - 24-00

Most likely, the lounges are operating now with temporary schedules until the air traffic normalises.

Contact Details

Table 3. Contact details of Helsinki Airport lounges.
Lounge Schedule
Aspire Lounge Twitter @AirportLounges
Finnair Lounges
Scandinavian Airlines Lounge
Plaza Premium Lounge
Finnair non-Schengen Lounge
Finnair Platinum Wing

Bottom Line

You should seriously 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 as 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.

If you are not able to access airlines' lounges, we recommend booking a single visit to Aspire Lounge in the Schengen area from Lounge Pass. In the non-Schengen area, Plaza Premium Lounge is absolute the most stylish choice. All lounges offer snacks and (alcoholic) drinks from a buffet table.

Plaza Premium Lounges is an international premium lounge company that has the newest lounge in the non-Schengen area of Helsinki Airport. Plaza lounges are really stylish but they may be a little pricey. We recommend you to have a visit on Plaza Premium Lounge next time when travelling outside Schengen area. The current price is about 50 dollars. The best part is that Plaza Premium Lounge accepts Priority Pass that makes Priority Pass membership really worth the money.

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

Which Helsinki Airport lounge is your favourite? Comment below!

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Destination: Finland

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