Monday, March 24, 2008

Mornin’ from Mongolia

Well 40,000 feet above Mongolia on a Boeing MD-11, to be exact. And on that subject, wow is Mongolia ever dry. One moment, we are cruising above the snow-coated mountain ranges near Irkutsk, the next, we are steadily flying over the Mongolian steppes. The difference is truly amazing. Granted, however, I’m not entirely sure that I didn’t drift off during that moment.

Good news though. So far, I have escaped the…ahem…consequences of Finnair catering. Imagine arriving at your favourite breakfast bar only to be told that today was Omelette, Pancake and Baked Beans. If you can imagine that, then you have a pretty good impression of the horror delight I experienced after two hours of surprisingly pleasant sleep.

In many ways, Finnair reminds me of Air China. Both airlines are sharp and efficient on short haul routes, with sparkly new aircraft. On long haul however, the fleet age goes up and subsequently the quality goes down. Whereas on Air China, my seat had a constant desire to recline, AY51 brought with it a wonky table. Nothing life-altering, but it didn’t give the greatest first impression.

Still, having a flight that is at most 2/3rds full means we can stretch out considerably, something that is a definite rarity on most “mainstream” carriers such as British Airways or American Airlines. And it gets better. Poor Finnair obviously feels shame at this slightly deficient portion of the international fleet, as there are PSPs and Personal DVD Players to save face until the MD-11s are fully phased out by 2010.

Here I should mention that from this year, Finnair are bringing in quite a number of Airbus A340s as part of their Europeanisation policy. The A340 is known as one of the quietist and most fuel-efficient long-haul jets, so this dedication to environmental awareness is again impressive.

Solely from a passenger’s perspective, the A340 will also be a treat, with powerports for every seat, inflight e-mail, on-demand TV and the ability to hear yourself think. Not a bad deal if you ask me.

Oh and Mongolia looks cool.

1 comment:

Natso said...

Hope you have great experience in Mongolia!

Ask me if you need any help with language! Keep Writing!