8 things I learned while flying business class on SAS  

The subsequent time you are touring to Denmark, Sweden or Norway, chances are you’ll very nicely end up flying on the area’s fundamental airline, SAS. For a current journey from the New York Metropolis space to Oslo, I discovered an awesome money fare for round-trip flights to the Norwegian capital that was hundreds of {dollars} cheaper than what my most popular airline, United, was charging.

I might by no means flown with SAS earlier than, and since I am on an everlasting quest for United MileagePlus Premier qualifying points, I hesitated to ebook instantly with SAS and face difficult incomes guidelines. (The airline’s declaration of bankruptcy this summer time did not assist, both.) However the value was too onerous to withstand and, since SAS is a Star Alliance member, I knew I may nonetheless earn some factors and segments to assist me requalify for MileagePlus Premier status in 2023.

But it surely wasn’t lengthy after I booked my discounted economy-class SAS Go fare that I began to remorse my resolution to take a seven-hour in a single day flight in an financial system seat that did not even include a free seat project. Thankfully, I used to be capable of bid on an improve to SAS Business and loved my flight throughout the Atlantic in a lie-flat, business-class seat as an alternative. This is what I found concerning the product — and the joys of successful an improve bid.


You possibly can bid your strategy to an improve

Many airways permit you to bid on an upgrade, although vacationers are sometimes restricted to upgrading by only a single class of service — you possibly can’t all the time leapfrog from financial system to enterprise or firstclass as an alternative of premium financial system. I initially known as SAS to ask about paying for an improve, and a pleasant agent knowledgeable me it will value upward of $5,000 to take action, partially as a result of they may solely improve all the four-segment journey. All I actually needed was to sleep in a horizontal place from New York to Norway, although.

That was going to be a no.

As an alternative, I made a decision to reap the benefits of the airline’s improve bidding program. Within the days main as much as a flight, vacationers can bid on an improve to a premium cabin. You will have till 25 hours earlier than departure to bid on home and European flights however can submit a bid as late as six hours earlier than departure for U.S. and Asia flights.


Bids for enterprise class on my flight began at 420 euros (about $410 on the time as a result of robust U.S. greenback — and a steal, for my part). I rounded as much as 450 euros (about $440 on the time) to enhance my odds. A little bit of analysis (learn: Googling) led me to consider many vacationers safe upgrades with solely the minimal bid, and an ExpertFlyer search confirmed there was wide-open availability in enterprise class on my flight. About 24 hours earlier than my flight, I acquired an e-mail saying my improve had cleared.

Vacationers may actually wait till the final attainable hour to verify seat availability, although I might be sure to bid on U.S. and Asia flights not less than 25 hours upfront, which is when the upgrades begin to clear.

For those who occur to be sitting on a stash of EuroBonus factors (or American Express Membership Rewards points, which switch to EuroBonus at a 1:1 ratio) you too can bid on an improve utilizing these factors.

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A successful bid will not change your fare class

Although money upgrades do earn extra EuroBonus factors, the fare class of your ticket stays the identical, so I didn’t find yourself incomes extra United PQPs than I might have if I might caught with my coach seat since United nonetheless thought of my ticket to be an SAS Go fare.

You may get business-class perks (no matter the way you booked)

My business-class expertise started at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). Although my flight to Oslo Airport (OSL) departed from the sorely underwhelming Terminal B, which didn’t actually have a devoted TSA PreCheck line or Clear kiosks, I used to be capable of reap the benefits of lounge entry. I might have been permitted entry with my Star Alliance Gold status, however for vacationers who don’t produce other technique of entry, your business-class boarding go will do.

The SAS Lounge in Newark’s Terminal B, close to Gate 60, was appropriate for brief stays, however I wouldn’t depend on having a considerable meal there. There was loads of seating within the distinctly Scandinavian design-inspired area, however regardless of the late hour, the lounge was pretty busy.

There was a self-serve beverage bar and a disappointing chilly meals buffet (recent lettuce and uncooked vegetable crudites, but additionally trays of sliced turkey and American cheese slices) and no music; you neglect how essential a little bit of background sound is till it’s utterly absent.

Different perks embody free onboard Wi-Fi, the place out there, and entry to Quick Observe safety lanes, the place out there.

The meal was surprisingly good — even for enterprise class

It had been years for the reason that final time I might flown worldwide firstclass with a world service, and I had forgotten how significantly better the meals is than in financial system — usually talking.

I used to be impressed with the service I acquired throughout my seven-hour flight from the New York Metropolis space to Oslo. However what I beloved probably the most concerning the expertise had been the considerate particulars and particular touches I wasn’t anticipating. A few members of the crew became crisp, double-breasted chef’s whites for the dinner service (I might discover out the next week this was true in financial system, too), which established a extra formal eating ambiance.


My flight attendant “set the desk” with a crisp white linen serviette, and my potent gin and tonic was blended to order and served with the remaining can of Ekobryggeriet tonic.


Although my colleagues have since remarked that I ought to fly international business class extra typically (no arguments there), I used to be thrilled when dessert was rolled out on a cart for passengers. I felt instantly transported to the Hogwarts Categorical — solely as an alternative of a trolley witch promoting chocolate frogs and packing containers of unpredictably flavored jelly beans, a flight attendant was doling out plates of seasonal fruit with vanilla yogurt, apple doughnuts and ice cream.

Even earlier than dessert, I used to be impressed with the variability and execution of the meal that night. Dinner was preceded by a number of breads, a blended greens salad and a selection of starters (beef tenderloin carpaccio or Maine lobster with smoked tomato French dressing with corn salsa).


Entrees included 4 choices that accommodated virtually each dietary desire (broiled rooster with lemon sauce and garlic confit; a mustard-and-pepper brief rib with truffle Gruyere gratin; seared sea bass atop a fennel and tomato ragout; porcini and caciocavallo ravioli with mushroom ragout).


I ordered the ocean bass, which was completely ready; it was moist and flaky, with no indication it had been reheated in a galley microwave.

The service was attentive and frequent

I’d hardly sat down in my seat earlier than a flight attendant got here by to supply me a beverage (water, pink wine or a glowing white). And the drinks by no means stopped coming after that, with the flight attendants steadily asking if I needed one other gin and tonic.


I’ve been on for much longer worldwide first- and business-class flights prior to now the place you are counting the hours between drinks, or must stand up and request one (which I all the time really feel a bit uncomfortable doing). I shudder to assume what number of drinks you could possibly devour on an SAS flight if you happen to had been capable of down a full drink between flight attendant check-ins.

Although I principally slept on the in a single day flight, the flight attendants additionally politely woke me for breakfast, upon request, and assisted with my overhead baggage at any time when I wanted it. It wasn’t the primary time I might discovered the overhead bins too excessive to achieve, however these did appear even taller by some means.


You will get a therapeutic massage in your seat

One of the best a part of a strip mall pedicure is, I’m positive we will all agree, the therapeutic massage chairs. And the lie-flat seats on board SAS are outfitted with the identical expertise, which I wouldn’t say made for a extra restful sleep however was notably enjoyable whereas I waited for my meals to reach.


You would crank up the firmness of the seat 5 notches, and the easy therapeutic massage characteristic delivered a delicate rolling therapeutic massage.

Although they’re not the most spacious business-class seats within the sky, Hastens bedding is supplied (together with a seat topper, a thick checker-pattern blanket and a comfortable pillow) which even places United Polaris’ Saks Fifth Avenue bedding to disgrace.

The Scandinavian bedding model is known for its craftsmanship, and if you happen to needed a cover of your personal at residence it may simply set you again between $800 and $5,000. (Vacationers would possibly know the model from the $11,000-per-night Regent Seven Seas Cruises suite with a home made Hastens mattress value round $200,000.)

Seats are aggressive — particularly for the worth

Enterprise-class cabins on the SAS A330 are organized in a 1-2-1 configuration, with the window seats alternating between both the seat itself or the console being proper up towards the window.

Although each seat permits each passenger within the cabin to get pleasure from direct aisle entry, having a seat proper up towards the wall (like mine, 2H) of the plane made getting out and in of the seat a decent squeeze, although the precise Thompson Vantage XL seats had been comfy and spacious, with easy-to-use controls.

Seats on board are 23 to 24 inches broad, they usually can rework into 77-inch beds when flat. When in a full lie-flat mattress place, the footwell does get a bit cramped.

It’s an awesome introduction to Scandinavia

I beloved rifling via my amenity package once I boarded to see the assortment of Scandinavian manufacturers represented within the little bag (together with lip balm and moisturizer from Stockholm-based Verso Skincare). And the aforementioned Hastens bedding made my night time much more restful than I anticipated; cozy and with sufficient weight to move me removed from the freezing skies to, say, a mattress retailer in Sweden.

The menu featured a wide range of Swedish, Danish and Norwegian manufacturers and elements — apple should from Norway’s Higher Ringi farm; port wine marmalade made in Malmo, Sweden; and a Danish IPA and Pilsner — and went to nice lengths to rejoice the area. My solely disappointment was that the seafood entree featured sea bass, and never Norway’s iconic pink salmon.

Backside line

My business-class flight on SAS wasn’t good. After I settled into my seat, I shortly realized I had an inoperable tray desk and must lean over the armrest to eat in the course of the flight.


And the boarding course of was not not like watching the doorways to Finest Purchase open on Black Friday: Both each single particular person in that aircraft had precedence boarding, or the gate brokers did nothing to keep up order.

There wasn’t a ton of area for my belongings on the seat both; there was no enclosed storage, just like the miniature cupboard you may get at a United Polaris seat. However SAS nonetheless delivered nice worth for its premium service.


Now, if solely I may persuade them to recalculate my whole ticket value with the improve bid so I can earn extra United PQPs.

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