Finnair announces re-opening of Helsinki Schengen lounge, onboard service changes and launch of passenger “ Clean Kit ” as part of ongoing ramp-up measures

© Image Finnair

During the spring, Finnair has made numerous changes to its services at the airport to support the health of customers and employees at the airport and onboard. As air traffic gradually recovers, Finnair will increase its service by opening the Finnair Lounge in the Schengen area and expanding the in-flight catering service.

“Travelling can feel different than before, with changes in services and new types of procedures in place, such as the mandatory use of a mask on our flights. However, we are delighted to be able to bring back familiar elements of our valued customer service while still taking good care of the hygiene and safety of our customers and staff,” says Karim Al-Soufi, Vice President of Customer Experience at Finnair.

© Image Finnair

Finnair Lounge opens its doors on the Schengen area

Finnair Lounge at Helsinki Airport’s Schengen area opens to customers as of 1 July 2020. The lounge is open from 6 am until 10 am and from 2 pm until 8 pm with a limited selection of Food and Beverages. The lounge services will be operated with reduced capacity and extra cleaning to support high hygiene standards.   Also customers who are going on a non-Schengen flight and are eligible for lounge access may use the lounge in the Schengen area. Finnair’s lounges on the airport’s non-Schengen area will remain closed.

In-flight service will expand in July-August

In July-August, in Finland and on the shortest routes in Europe, such as Stockholm’s Arlanda, we serve coffee and tea, juice and water in economy class. On longer European flights we serve also biscuit or a sandwich, depending on the length of the route. On long-haul flights, our service returns closer to normal in both economy and business classes. However, the range of special meals and alcoholic beverages is still limited. More detailed descriptions of the serving can be found here.

New “Clean Kit” for customers 

In addition to stepped up cleaning measures and regular disinfections onboard aircraft, for added reassurance, Finnair will launch a new “Clean Kit” that will be distributed to all passengers from the beginning of July. The kit contains hand sanitiser, surface wipes, an information leaflet and is packaged within an envelope that acts as a waste container.

The kit has a special sustainable focus and features artwork by Finnish artist Reeta Ek. The paper product has been sourced using sustainable Finnish forestry fibres and the hand sanitiser has been supplied by Kyrö distillery, who is perhaps best known for their award-winning gin. Kyrö pivoted to providing hand sanitiser to the healthcare industry when the pandemic first started.

© Image Finnair

The wearing of masks by all passengers and crew will continue to be mandatory throughout the entire journey (except when dining). Passengers are asked to prepare enough masks for their journey though a limited supply is available onboard if required in exceptional circumstances. In line with the focus on sustainability, these masks have been sourced and manufactured within Finland.

Temporary reduction in the size of hand luggage 

Finnair temporarily changes the permitted size of hand luggage. The new dimensions of hand luggage are 55x40x23cm (old dimension 56x45x25cm). Economy class tickets includes one hand luggage and a small personal item with dimensions of 40x30x15cm. The total weight of hand luggage and personal belongings may not exceed 8 kg. Business class tickets includes two hand luggage and one personal item, such as a handbag, with a total weight of up to 10 kg.


Luxair is joining forces with the formidable Luxembourgish artist Sumo to celebrate the art of travel


© Image Luxair

Plane spotters and travellers at Luxembourg airport will soon be astounded to see a Luxair plane sporting surprisingly bright colours and positive messages. A unique look designed by Sumo. Luxair wanted to offer its passengers a unique travel experience, combining art and travel. These two worlds are naturally entwined.

The art of travel, the art of getting away from it all and leaving behind all those difficult months to rediscover the pleasure of travelling safely. Sumo is a Luxembourgish artist and national contemporary art icon, who celebrates its 25th year of painting. Luxair therefore decided to entrust the artist with the make-over of two of its planes, a Boeing 737-800, registered under LX-LGU, and a De Havilland Q400, registered under LX-LQA. Christian Pearson, aka Sumo, is in charge of these makeovers that will transport Luxair passengers to new horizons with his new colourful landscapes and imaginary characters.

Sumo has dressed the fuselage with a vibrant and harmonious outfit featuring happy figures and messages. The artist will also be let loose on the cabin interior. The head rests are soon to be decorated with fresh and invigorating designs, whilst pictures of his works will also be displayed at various points in the cabin. Sumo’s works with his wild yet controlled signature style reveal themselves the more you contemplate them.

His dynamic designs are in keeping with his feisty and colossal alias, as they induce powerful sensations, whilst his words make you feel good and entice you to travel. Luxair has created the first flying gallery in Luxembourg thanks to this collaboration.

Passengers on board one of these aircraft will be able to admire the unique creations until March 2021. Luxair is also proud to be able to promote a Luxembourgish artist through this experience by transporting his works of art across Europe. The Boeing 737-800 (LX-LGU) is set to take its first passengers to Ajaccio on Saturday 25 July 2020 (flight LG-277). However, you will have to wait a few more days before the unveiling of the De Havilland Q400’s new look (LX-LQA).


Alaska Airlines Flight Attendant & Soul Food Chef Hampton Isom recognized for his ‘Giant’ heart


© Image Ingrid Barrentine

When Hampton Isom joined Alaska Airlines in 2015, he had no idea what would become of it and the joy he’d bring to people in the skies and his community

Nominated by his peers, Isom, who is a flight attendant based in Seattle and also runs his own food truck business, recently won an initiative from the Brawny® paper towel brand for going out of his way to support his community.

Hampton Isom

The Brawny® Giants Initiative was created to recognize and support people who are going out of their way across the country to help those who’ve been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

After roaming the globe, first as a professional basketball player and later a flight attendant for Alaska Airlines, Isom aka “The Boss,” had big plans to bring his love of Cajun Cuisine to the Pacific Northwest while also giving back to people in need. Through “sweatin‘ and workin hard” and his Louisiana-rooted culinary skills, he created Dat Creole Soul, a nonprofit business in Seattle. He takes his cooking a step further by sharing hot plates with people who are homeless.

Whether he’s setting up shop down on Pine St. or at an annual festival or family reunion, when you see his Creole Soul truck pull up you know you’ll be taken care of with some hot food that “will stick to your ribs” like gumbo jambalaya, shrimp et tu fe, red beans and rice.

“When I got my food truck, every time I go out on location to sell food, the food that I have left over, instead of throwing it away, I will park somewhere and I got this sign that says ‘If you’re hungry stop on by and come get something to eat,’” he said.

Hampton says he hears the same questions and quips from guests almost every flight. From “If you were any taller, you wouldn’t fit in this plane” to “Do you play basketball?” And to reply, he says “You should’ve seen me with an afro,” and “yes” to playing basketball – Isom played in college and professional for 12 years in Turkey, Italy and Australia.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Isom says he grew up poor and knows what it’s like to be hungry. He says if he can help someone avoid it, he will.

“I grew up in the projects, food stamps the whole nine yards. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to be hungry, I know how it feels to be cold,” he said. “It’s easy to give. Everyone has to eat plain and simple. More importantly, the world just needs to come together as a whole and everybody needs to be nice to somebody, it doesn’t cost anything to be nice.”

Before applying to work at Alaska, Isom was nervous that a 7-foot tall Black man might not be the best fit for working inside of an airplane all day or night, but it happened. Not only is he giant by nature—many airlines do have maximum height limitations that fall well under 7-feet—but he’s also a ‘Giant’ to people in his community.

“When it comes down to the grind, everyone I work with is ‘in.’ I use that same motto when I’m helping the homeless—I’m all in—whether I get donations from somebody or whether I gotta do it myself,” Isom said. “If I don’t get donations or a lot of stuff I just go out of pocket because I chose to go down this road to feed people and I will do it until I can’t do it anymore.”

Isom received a supply of Brawny® paper towel and a donation toward his business as part of the recognition.

Over eight weeks, Brawny® asked consumers to nominate their friends, family members and neighbors who are making a difference. Brawny® recognized and supported recipients like Isom (of course) with paper towels and donations to help him and others continue the work they are doing.

“Being a giant has nothing to do with a person’s height but everything to do with the action they take to bring good to this world,” says Katie Kolesky, Senior Director of Brand Building, Brawny®. “Giants like Hampton embody the Brawny® brand purpose of inspiring others to overcome life’s challenges with strength and resilience and do things from their hearts without expecting anything in return. We’re honored to help him continue to cook meals with love, kindness and compassion.”

Michelle Spackman, an Alaska flight attendant based in Los Angeles, nominated Isom for the award. She says she’s only met him a handful of times but he made a lasting impression on her and that he just has something about him.

“He could not be a more deserving person. Forget the fact that he is 7 feet tall and what he is doing with the community. Just as a person, Hampton is remarkable. There’s no other word that describes him,” Spackman said.

Michelle Spackman

Alaska talks about going above and beyond and when you go through his posts, you see what he’s doing with the community and he even takes his time to go out to hand out flyers that say ‘my truck will be here at this date and this time and if you want a hot meal I will be here.’”

Spackman says she is normally the type of person who fast forwards through commercials and for whatever reason, she stopped to watch the Brawny® Giants Initiative commercial. She says the first person that came to my mind was Hampton.

“Whether he won or not, I’m glad there was somebody, a virtual stranger, who did something for him and to affect his life. He’s a legend in the making.” – Michelle Spackman

Photo shot by Ingrid Barrentine in 2019.

For more information about Isom & what’s on his menu visit Dat Creole Soul’s website and check out other Brawny® ‘Giants’ taking action here.

Source: Katharine McEntee contributed to this story.


Agreement reached between Icelandair and the Icelandic Cabin Crew Association (FFI)

Source: Icelandair Group hf.

Despite failed negotiations between Icelandair and the Icelandic Cabin Crew Association (FFI), the parties have managed to resume discussions and have signed a new collective-bargaining agreement which is valid until 30 September 2025.

The agreement is based on the same principles as the agreement which was agreed to between the parties on 25 June 2020 and thus meets the set objectives of increasing productivity and flexibility for the Company and at the same time ensures competitive compensation for cabin crew members.

The current agreement results in further reduction in operating cost without negatively affecting the employee terms of cabin crew members. The agreement will now be presented to FFI members who will vote on the agreement but a conclusion from the vote is expected on 27 July 2020. Due to this progress, Icelandair’s pilots will not take over responsibility for onboard safety and the most recent cabin crew layoffs will be withdrawn.



Nolinor the well known charter outfit from Canada has created a scheduled offshoot low cost carrier called ‘Off We Go’ or OWG

© Image OWG

Launch of OWG, a new airline

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new airline, OWG. This new service will soon take off to regular flights to tropical destinations.

The OWG team has been quietly working since 2018 to create a new airline positioned in the tourism market. As OWG President Marco Prud’Homme explains, “Flying to your destination should be an extension of your vacation. Traditional airlines have cut the quality of their services year after year, without considering the passenger experience. Our goal is to win the hearts of travelers with a new airline whose mission is to make passengers fall in love with flying again.”

In early 2020, the carrier acquired a fleet of Boeing 737-400s and began transforming them into a reflection of their high service and safety standards. Unlike many airlines, OWG will track its aircraft in real time using sophisticated satellite-based communication systems. In order to ensure competitive pricing, OWG opted for aircraft with a proven track record: a fleet of Boeing 737-400s (158 seats). The interior of each plane has been refurbished with lighter, sturdier seating. Altogether, these upgrades required an investment of several million dollars.

In addition to their technological innovations, OWG is investing in quality personnel to provide a travel experience that will exceed your expectations. OWG is reinventing the travel experience by putting passengers at the heart of our business. Our logo is a perfect representation of the brand spirit. OWG operations will roll out over the next few months with destination announcements coming soon.

This new airline is an initiative of Nolinor Aviation, who are continuing their expansion into a new market. For 27 years, Nolinor has provided charter flights to the Far North and beyond with their fleet of a dozen Boeing 737s.

When it comes to keeping our passengers safe during the pandemic, OWG crews will benefit from the expertise developed by Nolinor Aviation during the COVID-19 crisis while they continued to serve certain northern destinations.

OWG received the authorization from the Minister of Transport to provide regular international flight service on July 6th 2020



Qatar Airways is the First International Airline to Resume Flights to the Maldives

© Image Qatar

Qatar Airways is delighted to be the first international airline to resume flights to the Maldives, with the first daily service touching down at Velana International Airport earlier this morning,

marked with a water cannon salute. With the airline’s network never falling below 30 destinations throughout this crisis, Qatar Airways continues to lead the recovery of international air travel. By the end of July, the airline’s network will expand to over 450 weekly flights to more than 70 destinations with the addition of flights to the following destinations:

15 July

  • Male, Maldives (daily flights)

16 July

  • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (three weekly flights)

18 July

  • Djibouti (three weekly flights)

23 July

  • Antalya, Turkey (two weekly flights)
  • Bodrum, Turkey (two weekly flights)

25 July

  • Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen, Turkey (three weekly flights increasing to daily from 1 August)

29 July

  • Helsinki (three weekly flights)

With the resumption of services to the Maldives and Antalya and Bodrum in Turkey commencing next week, Qatar Airways’ growing network includes a number of popular summer holiday destinations that are open to visitors now.*

Travellers can enjoy the white sandy beaches of the Maldives, one of the most popular and exclusive destinations in the world, soon soak up the summer sun on the golden shores of Antalya, or visit the historical sites and attractions of Bodrum.

Also open to beach lovers are the Greek islands through the airline’s Athens gateway, with the airline increasing its frequency to the city from seven to 11 weekly flights today. They can also fly with Qatar Airways to visit the blue seas of Zanzibar in Tanzania or the relaxing Mediterranean coastline of Tunisia via Tunis.

For those seeking a city break, Qatar Airways is operating regular services to many cities including Milan, Rome, and Venice in Italy; Ankara and Istanbul in Turkey; plus six cities in the USA.

Qatar Airways is one of the few global airlines to have never stopped flying throughout this crisis and continues to utilise its full fleet of 30 Boeing 787 and 49 Airbus A350 aircraft. The airline’s variety of modern fuel-efficient aircraft has meant it can continue flying by offering the right capacity in each market. Due to COVID-19’s impact on travel demand, the airline has taken the decision to ground its fleet of Airbus A380s as it is not commercially or environmentally justifiable to operate such a large aircraft in the current market.

Qatar Airways’ onboard safety measures for passengers and cabin crew include the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for cabin crew and a complimentary protective kit and disposable face shields for passengers. Business Class passengers on aircraft equipped with Qsuite can enjoy the enhanced privacy this award-winning business seat provides, including sliding privacy partitions and the option to use a ‘Do Not Disturb (DND)’ indicator. Qsuite is available on flights to more than 30 destinations including London, Paris, and Frankfurt. For full details of all the measures that have been implemented onboard and in HIA, please visit

To ensure travellers can plan their travel with peace of mind, the airline has also extended its booking policies to offer even more choice to its passengers. The airline will allow unlimited date changes, and passengers can change their destination as often as they need if it is within 5,000 miles of the original destination. The airline will not charge any fare differences for travel completed before 31 December 2020, after which fare rules will apply. All tickets booked for travel up to 31 December 2020 will be valid for two years from the date of issuance. For full terms and conditions visit

Qatar Airways’ home and hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA), has implemented stringent cleaning procedures and applied social distancing measures throughout its terminals. Passenger touchpoints are sanitized every 10-15 minutes and boarding gates and bus gate counters are cleaned after each flight. In addition, hand sanitizers are provided at immigration and security screening points. HIA was recently ranked “Third Best Airport in the World”, among 550 airports worldwide, by the SKYTRAX World Airport Awards 2020. HIA was also voted the ‘Best Airport in the Middle East’ for the sixth year in a row and ‘Best Staff Service in the Middle East’ for the fifth year in a row.

*Entry restrictions vary for each country depending on a number of factors and can change at short notice. Passengers are advised to check how entry restrictions apply to them ahead of travel.