SAS offers one of the best long haul Business Class experiences of any European carrier, with solid cabin products and an innovative food & beverage offering. Staying true to its roots, the airline provides a genuinely Scandinavian travel experience with a strong focus on local touches and sustainability.
Scandinavian Airlines System, generally referred to as SAS, is the flag carrier of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. While domestic and regional flights form the backbone of the airline's operation, long haul Business Class remains a flagship product. SAS serves almost a dozen destinations to the USA, China and Japan from its three central hubs in Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo respectively.
SAS is a founding member of Star Alliance, which includes partner airlines such as Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, United Airlines and Ethiopian. Members of SAS EuroBonus or any other Star Alliance loyalty program can earn and redeem frequent flier points on SAS and enjoy benefits associated with elite status within the alliance.
Passengers flying SAS Business Class enjoy a hassle-free airport experience with benefits such as dedicated check-in and bag-drop counters, fast track security, lounge access and priority boarding. In Copenhagen, the airline even offers a private fast track for premium passengers, separate from the one offered by the airport.
SAS offers a user friendly app, which has become the most common way of checking in.
Expansive SAS branded lounges are offered in Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo, with lounges split into separate sections for Business Class passengers and Star Alliance Gold card holders. While similar in style and character, the Gold card lounges offer a somewhat wider range of food options, wine is served from bottles rather than tap, and liquor is available.
The interior design of the SAS lounges is contemporary Scandinavian accentuated with light colours and light woods. Although an informal self-service buffet, breakfast is fairly extensive, while the cuisine on offer later in the day is mostly limited to salads and snacks. Soup is often found to be the only hot option. Showers are available in the lounges, as are customer service desks. The airline has experimented with concepts such as barista stations, daylight booster zones and innovation hubs displaying new technology in some of the lounges.
SAS also offers its own lounges in New York, Chicago, Paris, Helsinki and Gothenburg, with Bergen, Tromsø and Trondheim featuring more basic lounges branded as SAS Café Lounge. At other airports in the network, SAS offers lounge access via its Star Alliance partners.
SAS has opted for a relatively dark and masculine design in their Business Class, with tones of grey, touches of black, brushed steel, leather and orange trim accents. The cabin, seat and finishes are well designed, giving SAS Business Class an elegant and contemporary character. The comfortable seats are upholstered in charcoal fabrics and convert to a fully flat bed at the touch of a button. Set in a 1-2-1 configuration, seats have been staggered to provide as much personal space as possible and offer direct aisle access for every passenger.
Thanks to the staggered configuration, seats on each side of the cabin alternate between being closer to the window or aisle. While seats by the window provide more privacy, those closer to the aisle offer easier access. The most generous footwells are found on bulkhead rows, which offer more space than other seats. Centre seats are close enough for conversation yet separated by a fixed privacy partition and a generous armrest, avoiding the potentially awkward situation of being too close to a stranger.
While the SAS A330-300 accommodates all Business Class passengers in a single cabin, the A350-900 also offers a second “mini cabin”. Featuring a total of eight seats on two rows, this second cabin is popular due to the intimate and exclusive feel. Service can however be slower since SAS tends to offer service from front to back.
The SAS Business Class seat can be converted into a bed of almost two metres, and armrests lowered to add more width. SAS has partnered with premium brand Hästens, the oldest manufacturer of beds in Sweden, to provide high quality bedding. Hästens is known for its iconic blue and white checked pattern, but a unique adaptation in light grey was specially designed for use on board.
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes images, videos and seat maps for most airlines and aircraft. Search results also include details such as seat pitch, width and recline. This way you can see the seat and cabin configuration of the flight in which you are interested, before making your choice.
SAS Business Class features some of the best in-flight dining in its class. Passengers can expect two meals - with the first offering a more elaborate dining experience. Flights departing from Scandinavia feature menus with a strong focus on Scandinavian suppliers, and the airline also tries to offer local delicacies on flights from outstations.
Lunch and dinner starts with drinks and warm nuts presented in a ramekin. Tables are set with light grey table linens, Georg Jensen cutlery specially designed for SAS and a bread & butter plate. Glassware is provided by Orrefors of Sweden and fine china by Royal Copenhagen, underlining the emphasis on Scandinavian design.
With a nod to the Scandinavian concept of smörgåsbord, SAS offers most of its meal service in Business Class from display trolleys. This is appreciated by passengers since it offers an opportunity to see the food before making a choice. The first trolley being rolled down the aisle displays a choice of two different cold starters. Salads are also offered - with a choice of dressing and a selection of breads and rolls.
In 2017, SAS trialled a new starter which became so popular that it has been offered as a signature dish ever since. Vendace roe, a Swedish alternative to caviar, from Kalix in the north of the Baltic Sea is served in small glass jars, topped with organic crème fraiche and chives, with crisp bread baked with Västerbotten cheese on the side. Bright orange in colour and sublime in texture, the Kalix Vendace roe holds a protected status similar to other regional delicacies in Europe such as Parma ham. It is served at royal dinners, at the Nobel prize banquet, and to passengers lucky enough to fly SAS Business Class during the six month season that annual stocks normally last.
The second display trolley offers a selection of four main courses. There is usually one red meat option such as beef, lamb or even reindeer, one poultry dish, one seafood and one vegetarian alternative. On flights to and from Asia, one of the options is Asian in character. The main courses are followed by a third run down the aisle by the display cart, offering cheeses, fresh fruits and desserts, often including a cake and ice cream. Handmade pralines are also offered.
The pre-landing meal is a more simplistic affair using trays placed on linen-lined tables. Flights from Scandinavia to the USA usually offer a traditional open sandwich with cut fruits or a cake on the side. Westbound flights from Asia offer a more substantial selection, with hot options offered as a buffet, plated by the cabin crew. A similar setup is used for breakfast, offering passengers various hot and cold options from a buffet, plus yoghurt, muesli and marmalade accompanied by hot croissants, breads and rolls.
Savoury and sweet mid-flight snacks are available from a dedicated snack bar located adjacent to the galley.
SAS offers one of the most extensive selections of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages of any Business Class cabin.
The airline is committed to working with Scandinavian suppliers, and sources as much as it can close to home. Vodka from Mikeller of Denmark, whisky from Mackmyra of Sweden, gin from Harahorn of Norway and a second gin from Stockholms Bränneri may not be household names, but thanks to SAS they are spreading their wings. The airline has a well established partnership with Danish craft brewery (and vodka distiller) Mikeller, supplying up to four different kinds of beer in addition to classic Carlsberg. SAS has also partnered with Tjoget in Stockholm, recently named one of the 50 Best Bars in the World, to offer a range of organic cocktails and mocktails with flavours tailored to conditions in the air. Classic cocktails are also available. Refreshing fresh apple juice from Ringi farm in Norway completes the local offering.
Wines in SAS Business class are a combination of old and new world, often including lesser-known grapes. A minimum of two whites and two reds are offered, in addition to Champagne.
SAS has recently launched a new Champagne offering that rotates limited supplies of vintage Champagne from "grower producers" with a more readily available Champagne from a larger producer. Small batches of unique Champagnes will be served for 2-3 months twice a year - while stocks last. Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve will act as the backbone of the airline´s Champagne offering during the rest of the year.
Vintage port as well as a sweet dessert wine is available to compliment cheeses and desserts, with cognacs and liqueurs rounding off the meal service.
A selection of fine teas is available from Dammann Frères, while espresso and cappuccino is made from Illy coffee using an on-board espresso machine. Organic and Fairtrade-certified French press coffee by Stockholm-based Johan & Nyström is also on offer.
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes information on which Champagne is served in Business Class and First Class on many airlines. We do our best to keep track of any changes, but feel free to let us know if there is something we missed.
The culture of Scandinavia is typically practical and egalitarian, and this is also reflected in the service on board SAS. Although the passenger experience is generally good, service delivery is unfortunately rather inconsistent. On a good day, SAS cabin crew deliver a world class level of hospitality and attention to detail, while on another flight, they may come across as indifferent and less service minded. Most crew come from Denmark, Sweden and Norway, and a mix of nationalities regularly work together. Flights operating in and out of China and Japan often include native cabin crew, enabling SAS to offer a customised service experience and local languages.
Air Hosts and Hostesses work under the supervision of a senior Air Purser. More often than not, the Air Purser provides some of the best service on board, combining the role of an experienced host with a touch of finesse and in many cases a good dose of humour.
Long haul flights also feature Air Stewards, whose main responsibility is to ensure that food is served at the right time and to the correct standard. Originally SAS required Air Stewards to be qualified chefs, although this has later been modified to simply having a passion for food and wine. Air Stewards dress in white chef jackets for the main meal service, adding a touch of theatre to the dining experience.
Entertainment is provided on individual HD touchscreens, although options are somewhat limited. There are around 200 movies and television shows plus a selection of music. Sadly, only a few series offer multiple episodes. A dedicated “Kids zone” helps young passengers and their parents find suitable entertainment.
In addition to the always popular moving map, SAS offer views from exterior cameras on all long haul aircraft, with the A350 also offering a tail camera. Noise-cancelling headphones are provided, although the quality could be better. Passengers wanting to connect their own headphones need to bring a two-prong adaptor.
SAS Business Class passengers enjoy complimentary and unrestricted Wi-Fi access, offering acceptable speed for a satellite based internet connection. Power sockets and USB ports are available in every seat.
SAS provides newspapers and magazines, as well as the inflight magazine Scandinavian Traveler. Passengers can also download a wide range of reading material to their personal devices via the SAS app starting 30 hours before departure.
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes information on inflight entertainment and Wi-Fi.
SAS has partnered with Swedish designer Filippa K to offer an amenity kit in three colours; petrol, beige and black, as well as matching eye masks. The airline focus on sustainability has clearly played into the selection of products, which all come from Swedish brands. Humble & Co has supplied a toothbrush with cornstarch handle and natural fresh mint flavoured toothpaste. Soft and warm socks made from recycled materials come from Swedish Stockings, with Verso Skincare providing lip balm and skin cream.
Hot towels are provided once airborne as well as before the second meal service. Slippers are only provided as a standard on flights to and from Asia, but may be available on request on other flights.
SAS discontinued Business Class on flights within Europe back in 2013. Short haul flights now offer a choice between SAS Go (Economy Class) and SAS Plus (Premium Economy Class). Passengers connecting to or from long haul flights in Business Class will usually fly SAS Plus on short connecting flights. The airport experience in SAS Plus is thankfully similar to Business Class. SAS Plus offers seating in the forward part of the cabin, complimentary beverages, snacks or cold meals and free Wi-Fi. Seating is exactly the same as in SAS Go, meaning no blocked adjacent seats and no cabin divider.
SAS wants to lead the way in sustainable aviation, and this commitment encompasses every aspect of the airline's operation. A lot is done behind the scenes, including the use of green approaches, lobbying for more access to biofuel, dry washing of aircraft and implementing technical solutions that help reduce the carbon footprint. SAS is working closely with Airbus on a project to develop electric aircraft for large-scale, commercial use, with the ambitious end goal of climate-neutral air travel.
Passengers will notice sustainability initiatives such as the commitment to using local suppliers, environmentally friendly packaging of items such as snacks and a focus on recycling. SAS even removed inflight duty free sales, citing the benefits of cutting weight to reduce fuel consumption. For members of SAS EuroBonus, the airline automatically offsets carbon emissions at no extra cost to passengers. Thanks to the reach of its loyalty program, SAS now carbon offsets over 40% of all CO2 emissions from their aircraft.
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes information on CO2 emissions for each flight. Our quality algorithms also give a higher score to flights operated by the most modern and environmentally friendly aircraft.
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