Finnair aircraft operating Qantas flights with an undercover Qantas employee on board

Brenden Wood
7 min readApr 11, 2024

Finnair are operating services for Qantas on the Sydney to Bangkok route as part of a wet lease agreement, and on one of these flights I spotted an undercover Qantas employee working from the economy section.

Finnair’s Airbus at Sydney Airport. Inset: Finnair’s QF296 in Bangkok

I discovered the Finnair-Qantas partnership after I booked flights from Australia to Thailand. A small note at the bottom of my booking stated that the flight was ‘operated by Finnair for Qantas.’

The Finnair arrangement added a sense of novelty to my two Asian flights that I’m taking on my holiday — one to Bangkok, and the other returning to Australia from Bangkok.

Low key launch

After I received the booking, I found it intriguing that I couldn’t find any news stories about the Qantas-Finnair arrangement. Maybe Qantas’ media team wanted to keep the Finnair deal quiet, and instead keep the public narrative focused on the airline’s strategy of creating additional capacity for passengers in the post-COVID lockdown period.

Apart from a small explanation on the Qantas website, I could only find a travel blog review by someone who had travelled in business class in a Finnair aircraft that was being operated for Qantas.

I can’t offer a business class review, but here I’ll attempt to offer an economy class review of the Finnair-Qantas service operating between Sydney and Bangkok.

Passenger experience

For this review I flew on flight number QF295, an Airbus 330–300 on Thursday 12th April. Aircraft number OH-LTS.

The flight crew wore Finnair uniforms. The pilots were Finnish. And the stewards were Thai nationals.

Finnish pilots wearing Finnair uniforms prepating QF295 for departure at Sydney Airport

Aircraft layout

The Airbus had a seat format of 2–4–2.

The aircraft had splashes of the black that you’ll find in the Finnair brand. The carpet is black. The light above the windows is softer than what you’ll find on a Qantas aircraft.

Economy seating inside the Finnair Airbus 330–300 flying as QF295 from Sydney to Bangkok

The decor in first class is amazing.

Rear of the plane

The main kitchen for economy passengers is located at the rear of the Finnair aircraft with a very roomy kitchenette for staff to operate in.

The larger kitchen means there‘s only one toilet at the rear of the aircraft — this is unlike most Qantas aircraft which have two toilets at the rear.

Also at the rear of most Qantas aircrafts is a small area near the toilets where some passengers go to stretch their legs — but on the Finnair plane the big kitchen stretches into the ‘leg-stretching’ area. On the Finnair Airbus the leg stretching can only be done at your seat or as you walk along the aisle to the bathroom.


At each seat passengers found a Finnair safety card, a Qantas magazine, a Qantas headphone set and a Qantas-branded vomit bag.

The arm rest between each seat is slimmer when compared to Qantas aircraft.

Economy class seating on Finnair flight QF295

I was asked on social media if the Finnair seats recline — and I can report that the economy seats do recline. The button to push your seat backwards is a lot easier to use when compared to the Qantas aircraft.


The inflight safety video that was played on QF295 was produce for Finnair aircraft and had a northern European look. The video had a female British-accented voiceover. Listen to the inflight audio here.

The only time passengers heard from the Finnish pilot was when he told us the flight would be departing Sydney late. Normally pilots on Qantas flights welcome passengers after the flight has taken off, but this didn’t happen on the Finnair flight.

Inflight entertainment

It appeared as though the inflight system was operating from the Finnair media server. But it offers passengers Australian movie and audio book content. I found some recent movies, including the Ridley Scott movie about the rise & fall of Napoleon which had a Qantas-Jetstar watermark.

Inflight display onboard Finnair QF295. Inset: Example of a camera showing the ‘downward’ view from the aircraft

The flight map and flight cameras on the Finnair aircraft are the best that I’ve seen on any aircraft. The Finnair flight map is high-resolution and interactive. It allows passengers to choose which map they want to view. The flight map can even be pinched and zoomed!

Passengers can also watch one of two cameras — one showing the forward view, the other showing the downward view.


The highlights of the trip were the novelty of Finnair operating the Qantas flight, the service by the Thai stewards and the inflight camera and maps.

Below are my ratings:

- Comfort: 9/10

- Seats: 8/10

- Service: 10/10

- Food: 8/10

- Toilet: 8/10

- Entertainment: 8/10

- Flight maps: 10/10

- Branding: 6/10

- Overall experience: 9/10

Remarks: The mixed inflight branding of Qantas and Finnair is the reason for the 6/10 rating. Lower ratings were given for things like no news service in the inflight, only one toilet at the rear of the plane, the skinny arm rests and the poorer quality cutlery given to economy passengers.


The food on board the Finnair plane was supplied by food catering company Dnata. The inflight food and beverage trolleys were owned by Qantas. Dnata’s invoices that I saw on the trolleys had Qantas nominated as the client.

Economy Class Menu


Qantas Sky Spritz — white wine spritz with finger lime and Davidson plum


Plant-based dining — Sichuan puffed tofu with oyster mushrooms, green beans and jasmine rice

Chicken schnitzel parmigiana with sweet potato mash

Stir fried black bean beef with capsicum and jasmine rice

Rosemary, garlic, sea salt and olive oil focaccia

Bulla Australian ice cream

Hot chocolate

Peppermint tea


Mid-flight snacks

Soy crisps

Chic chip and chocolate cookies

Light dinner

Plant-based dining — Spinach and ricotta ravioli with Italian Sufi and roast vegetables

King Pao chicken with friends rice, choy sun and d cashews

Rosemary, garlic, sea salt and olive oil focaccia

Wattleseed brownie slice


Australian wines

Qantas Sky Spritz (select flights)

Bloody Mary

Gin and tonic

Vodka and ginger beer


Finlandia Vodka, Finland

Beefeater London Dry Gin, England

Bundaberg Dark Rum, Australia

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, USA

Jameson Irish Whiskey, Ireland


Selection of premium Australian beer



Soft drink

Hot drink


Dilmah Tea

Hot chocolate

Wet lease

The so-called ‘wet lease’ is a short term lease arrangement where an airline can establish a service quickly or, in the case of Qantas, use another airlines’ aircraft and staff to maintain a route while they transition to a revised roster of aircraft and staff.

Finnair Airbus in Bangkok. Dismebarking on to the tarmac after lying from Sydney.

For the Sydney-Bangkok route, Qantas says the wet lease began on 31st March 2024 (QF295 & QF296), and commenced in October 2023 for the Sydney-Singapore route (QF291 & QF292).

From what I witnessed, Finnair only supplied the staff and plane, with the food trolleys removed. Everything else like the food, inflight read, headphones, etc were supplied by Qantas. I’d say Qantas most likely arranged the fuel.

The wet lease will shift to a ‘dry lease’ after about 12 months when Qantas staff will takeover the operation of the flight until 2028, says Executive Traveller.

A Thai flight attendant dressed in a Finnair uniform aboard QF295

Wet leases are more common in the northern hemisphere, but being able to experience a Finnair-Qantas wet lease for my trip here in the Asia Region was quite a novelty.

Several reports suggested that Finnair has surplus aircraft due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict impacting routes throughout Europe which is why they’ve created this arrangement with Qantas.

You’ll find a highly engaged discussion about the wet lease arrangement and the flight I flew on social media here.

Undercover flight attendant

During the flight I saw an economy passenger walking around the aircraft casually checking on passengers, but not engaging with the passengers. I thought it was a bit strange, but I didn’t think much of it at the time.

I later learnt that this ‘passenger’ was actually an undercover Qantas employee who was offering gentle guidance to the Finnair flight attendants. She was seated not far from me in an economy aisle seat near the rear of the Finnair plane. She wasn’t wearing a flight attendant’s uniform, instead she wore black pants and a litghtly-coloured pink top. There was no logo for any airline on her clothes.

What gave away her important contribution to the smooth-operation of the flight was that she hugged two Finnair staff as she exited the plane.


Listen to the podcast I uploaded about the Finnair-Qantas wet lease flight between Sydney and Bangkok — you’ll also hear audio of the Finnair flight safety video.

If you’ve travelled a Finnair along this Sydney-Bangkok route or the Sydney-Singapore route, I’d love to hear about your experience. You can find me on social media @BrendenWood on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Threads and Messenger.

QF295, a Finnair plane in Bangkok

#Qantas #Finnair #Travel