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Are you flying with Scandinavian Airlines soon? Read our review and know what to expect from the booking to landing. Find out why we rate Scandinavian Airlines as a 3-star airline in the short-haul segment and whether we will fly with SAS again.
Covered in the Article
Scandinavian Airlines System, commonly known as SAS, is the flag carrier of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. Founded in 1946, SAS has since grown to become one of the largest airlines in Europe, with a fleet of over 120 aircraft serving more than 190 destinations worldwide. SAS belongs to Star Alliance.
SAS is the leading airline in Scandinavia and has established itself as a strong and recognized brand. After the financially tough years, SAS has transformed its visual identity to distinguish itself from low-cost carriers and to target the True Travellers, those who travel frequently and generate the majority of the airline's revenue. The rebranding included new colours, photographer-designed SAS Sky gradients, a new uniform, and magazine-style printed materials.
SAS Connect is a subsidiary of Scandinavian Airlines and therefore a part of the SAS Group. This airline's sole focus is to operate short-haul flights on behalf of SAS. It utilizes only a modern fleet of Airbus A320neo aircraft. SAS Connect uses the same brand as Scandinavian Airlines.
Scandinavian Airlines' bases are located in Copenhagen-Kastrup, Stockholm-Arlanda, and Oslo-Gardemon airport. These bases are used for parking and operations of the aircraft. However, the airline has also many other focus cities in Sweden and Norway, for example, Gothenburg.
SAS operates a diverse fleet of over 120 aircraft, including narrowbody and widebody jetliners and regional aircraft. All of SAS' widebody aircraft are manufactured by Airbus, including Airbus A330-300s and Airbus A350-900s.
The airline's narrowbody fleet is mostly made up of the Airbus A320 series, with new A320neo aircraft and a mixed selection of older A319-100, A320-200, and A321-200 models. Boeing 737NG family aircraft are also used, as are leased regional aircraft such as the ATR 72-600 turboprop and the Embraer E195LR.
Miles Program - EuroBonus
SAS EuroBonus is a loyalty program launched in 1992. It rewards members for their travel, shopping, and everyday activities. Rewards are paid as points. The program has various airlines, hotels, and other partners.
EuroBonus has five different membership levels: Member, Silver, Gold, Diamond, and Pandion. Membership levels are achieved by earning a certain number of points or flying a certain number of qualifying flights. The highest level, Pandion, is awarded personally by the CEO of SAS to 1,500 selected customers who contribute significantly to the airline.
SAS Travel Classes
SAS Go is the economy class of SAS. You get a seat from the middle or rear section of the cabin without free snacks or drinks. However, coffee and tea are still complimentary. It is possible to pre-book a seat for a fee.
SAS Business and SAS Plus
There is no traditional Business Class on short-haul routes but it is replaced with SAS Plus Class which is a premium economy class. In Plus Class, a traveller gets a complimentary meal and drinks. In addition, there are fast-track and priority boarding services at the airport and also free SAS lounge access. People travelling in SAS Plus Class sit in the front of the cabin.
SAS Plus replaces SAS Business on short-haul routes.
SAS has multiple ticket types SAS Light being the cheapest one. A ticket in the SAS Light class does not include checked luggage or a large cabin bag. You can only take a small bag under-seat bag with. Other ticket types include complimentary luggage and more flexible booking conditions.
Everyone can bring free of charge a small under-seat bag into the cabin. More expensive ticket types have complimentary big cabin bags and checked luggage included. Others can buy the service for extra fees.
Checked luggage can weigh 23 kilograms without an overweight charge. The checked luggage service is not included in the SAS Light ticket type but it can be bought as an extra. Other ticket types include complimentary checked luggage.
Our SAS Flight
We flew a return flight from Helsinki to Stockholm. The flights were operated by SAS Connect but we bet that the majority of the passengers did not know that. SAS Connect uses the same brand as Scandinavian Airlines itself from a passenger's perspective, it does not matter who operated the flight.
We bough our ticket via Skyscanner. Third-party booking sites sell tickets usually a little cheaper than airlines themselves. That is the case with SAS too. We bought the cheapest SAS Light ticket without any extra services.
We made check-in online on the internet. SAS's website and mobile application have excellent design and they are simple to use. The application is perhaps the best airline application we have seen.
It was also nice to notice that SAS promised to offset carbon emissions generated by EuroBonus members. That is a good reason to join the SAS EuroBonus program.
We got boarding passes by email and also to the SAS app.
Boarding at Helsinki Airport was a little mess. There were many boarding groups and we were put into group F. When it was our time to board the aircraft, the gates did not open and we had to contact the staff. The staff told us that we must pay for large cabin luggage to get in. We told them that we had not bought carry-on luggage extra service and we only had small bags with us. After that, the staff apologized and let us board the plane.
The SAS mobile app worked excellently during the boarding. It gave push notifications and continuously reported the status of the boarding process. We could even see in real-time how many per cent of passengers had boarded the aircraft.
When we boarded the aircraft at Helsinki for the outbound flight to Stockholm, the crew did not greet us. The same experience happened in Stockholm during deboarding. We were surprised at how inattentive to customers the flight attendants on this flight were. The return flight to Helsinki was a better experience whereas the crew were friendly and happy.
It seems that SAS has quality issues with their crew. Maybe those flight attendants in said flight had a bad day but they should still behave professionally.
Pilots gave many informative announcements on both short legs. They also spoke Swedish but the cabin crew spoke only English.
Airbus A320neo is a modern and quiet aircraft. The cabins were in excellent condition and decorated with neutral colours. Compared to Finnair, SAS uses darker shades of grey which increases the contrast in the cabin.
We travelled in SAS Go so only free coffee and tea were served. The service was done quite fast so we almost missed it. It was possible to buy snacks from the airline's menu including chocolate, chips and similar products. The crew were not active in selling the products.
SAS markets that there is a paid Wi-Fi service on the majority of the flights. On our flights, Wi-Fi was not available so we were not able to test it.
There were not flight information screens in the cabin.
We rate Scandinavian Airlines as a 3-star airline in the short-haul segment. The aircraft was comfortable and in excellent condition. The SAS app has also a perfect design and the brand is fresh.
SAS profiles as a premium airline but we did not see any difference to low-cost carriers. Having left non-greeted while boarding and deboarding by the crew on the first flight gave us a quite bad impression. Still, we are happy to fly again on SAS given that the price is reasonable.
SAS Carbon Offset - How Does it Work?
Scandinavian Airlines offsets all CO2 emissions from its Eurobonus and Youth customers. For the year 2019, the airline offset 1.2 million tonnes of CO2, which is equivalent to 32% of the passenger-related CO2 emissions. The offsetting is done by purchasing emission reductions from projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This means that the equivalent amount of CO2 emitted is compensated through improvements in other sectors.
This alone is a good reason to fly with SAS and join the Eurobonus program. The offsetting price is included in the ticket price and you do not need to purchase it separately. A few other airlines sell similar services which usually cost 10 to 50 euros per flight ticket.
- Where is SAS from?
- SAS is a Scandinavian airline coming from Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
- What are the cabin classes of SAS?
- They are SAS Go, SAS Plus and Business.
- What is SAS Go?
- It is the basic economy cabin class without extra services.
- What is SAS Plus?
- It is a premium economy class including complimentary drinks and meals and SAS Lounge access.
- Does the SAS Plus class include lounge access?
- Yes, it does.
- Can I take a large cabin bag onboard free of charge?
- You can if you are not travelling on a Light ticket.
- Can I check in my luggage free of charge?
- You can if you are not travelling on a Light ticket.
- Does SAS have a Business Class?
- Yes, it has but only on long-haul flights.
- Where to book tickets for SAS flights?
- We recommend comparing ticket prices on Skyscanner.
SAS is a well-known Nordic Airline. Finnair is its main competitor in Fennoscandinavia. Over the years, SAS has improved its brand a lot and the airline is now a decent brand. Even though the brand is good, the service level is quite similar to low-cost carriers.
There are many reasons to fly with SAS. Tickets are sometimes affordable and SAS Connect operates a brand new fleet. Connecting flights to Stockholm-Arlanda is a pleasant experience. SAS is surely one of the best options for travellers living in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Also, Finns fly often with SAS but there is a need to transfer at Arlanda Airport or Copenhagen Airport.
Have you flown with SAS? What kind of customer service have you experienced onboard Scandinavian Airlines? Share your experiences below!