This was my first time every flying onboard SAS (Scandinavian Airline System), which is the prominent airline of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. It is part of Star Alliance and offers some of the most convenient connections throughout Scandinavia. However, for short haul flights, the airline has more or less removed Business Class, and instead sells tickets under SAS Plus and SAS Go, with SAS Plus offering similar amenities like a Business Class ticket but on an Economy Class seat. This means all the seats on SAS flights within Europe are basically the same except for legroom.
My flight was operated by a Boeing 737-700 which will be replaced by the A320 neo eventually. This, and the fact it was my first flight with SAS meant I would cover my experience flying with them here.
After boarding was called, I was able to be amongst the first to get on the plane due to my Star Alliance Gold status. However at the jetbridge, all of us who were already cleared for boarding was left waiting as the jetbridge was still roped off. I wonder what resulted in this mis-communication between the gate agents and the flight crew.
The sun was already starting to set while I got on the plane and that made for a very nice scene out of the window at the jetbridge.
SK2064 Stockholm Arlanda ARN – Åre Östersund OSD
Boeing 737-700 SE-RER ‘Svein Viking’
Gate 37 Seat 6A
Inside the plane, the seats was fitted in navy blue fabric in a standard 3-3 configuration.
The first 4 rows on the plane was reserved for passengers who purchased SAS Plus fares and the middle class is not blocked here so it is really unlike a traditional Business Class within Europe.
I had a window seat on row 6, which was a standard row with the legroom being a bit tight if I must say.
On the seatback pocket, travelers could find the safety instruction card, a copy of the Scandinavian Traveler magazine and the buy onboard menu.
The buy onboard menu provides information on the inclusions for the different fare classes (Plus and Go). SAS Plus travelers gets a breakfast, snack or a light meal with a beverage. SAS Go travelers only get coffee, tea or water as a beverage with snacks and drinks available for purchase.
As I perused the menu and the inflight magazine, the boarding was completed and it was not a very full flight as I had an empty middle seat. This made my experience feel a bit like an intra-Europe Business class.
There was not much of a wait for take-off but the plane had to be de-iced while on the ground which delayed our departure a bit. It was close to 5pm by the time we were up in the air.
Passengers by the window had a nice view out as we ascended with the sun setting in the horizon. The snowy fields around Arlanda airport made the scene even better in my opinion.
As we went above the clouds, the view remained as beautiful and it reminds me of why flying is always a nice thing to do.
By the time we were cruising, the seat belts signs were switched off and the crew immediately went to go around the cabin to offer refreshments since this is a relatively short flight. I had a cup of water for which was presented in a plastic cup with a serviette.
Just around the time the crew finished serving all the passengers, they had to go around to collect all the cups and any waste that passengers might want to get rid of. Not long after, the pilot announced our descent and it was once again a beautiful scene outside as we flew past the town of Brunflo on our approach to Östersund airport.
A fine weather meant we landed without any issue at Östersund and taxied to the remote stand near the terminal. Being a small airport, there are no jetbridge here and all passengers deplane from the stairs, with a short walk to the terminal. Having been to many small airports around the world, I am actually fine with this.
The airport actually has signs of the town of Åre as it was hosting the World Ski Championships in 2019 and it was obvious that this airport hosts plenty of skiers headed to this town as well.
There was only one baggage claim belt here so all passengers with checked luggage waits in the same spot. The egalitarian approach towards flying by SAS meant the priority luggage tags was not of much use here. Though it still did appear quickly on the belt.
As a Star Alliance Gold member, I was able to purchase the cheap SAS Go fares and still receive extra luggage allowance in addition to the one free checked bag. This allowed me to transport my skis for free and I was also able to select my seats beforehand. For a domestic flight lasting an hour in the plane, these basic seats do the trick since this is the most convenient and quickest way to get to Åre Östersund from Stockholm. With regards to my experience flying with SAS, I found that they provide the basic services, have decently maintained planes and offer a reasonable price at 1149 SEK (~$120) for the one-way journey. However, I would not consider them to be a premium airline by any stretch, and that I find is the conundrum most airlines face right now as they face competition from low cost carriers.