A standard SAS Boeing 737-700 without a fancy interior.

A standard SAS Boeing 737-700 without a fancy interior – Photo: Aero Icarus | Flickr CC

For many, taking a ride on the 737 is nothing to write home about. How about flying on a 737-700 with only 44 seats in it? That spark your interest? Typically you will see the 700 with 128-140 seats, so that is a big change.

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has announced that they plan to start operating a business class-only 737-700 from Houston (IAH) to Stavanger (SVG) starting on August 20th of this year. The 737 will be wet-leased from PrivatAir and it will wear the SAS livery. According to their press release, the inside of the plane will offer, “SAS Long Haul Business Class concept on board… along with modern in-flight entertainment system and full-service meals and service.”

SAS' Boeing 737-700 will likely be configured like this. Image: PrivatAir

SAS’ Boeing 737-700 will likely be configured like this – Image: PrivatAir

“The route we have established is a tailored product for a defined market with particular travel needs,” says Rickard Gustafson, President and CEO of SAS. What does that mean? Oil!

A PrivatAir Boeing 737-800 - Photo: PrivatAir

A PrivatAir Boeing 737-800 – Photo: PrivatAir

Even in their press release, SAS makes it quite clear the demographic they are trying to sway. “The route will launch on August 20, just ahead of the major oil exhibition in Stavanger, Offshore Northern Seas.”

Of course they are not just limiting the option to oil folks. They also sell the flight for its ability to connect to other destinations. “The favorable timetable provides excellent connections throughout Scandinavia in both directions, while Houston is a hub for places to the south and west such as Mexico, Los Angeles, Dallas and Phoenix with the Star Alliance,” says Rickard Gustafson.

This is the current SAS long haul business product see on other aircraft. Photo: SAS

This is the current SAS long-haul business product see on other aircraft. Photo: SAS

The flight is over 4,200 nm, which is quite impressive since the 737-700 normally will fly a maximum distance of 3,200 nm. Do not worry, the plane will make it (PrivatAir lists the max range at 5,000 nm). Having fewer seats means less weight and increased flight distance capability.

If you are interested in taking a flight, tickets will go on sale on April 29th. What a thrill right? The only thing better might be flying a Boeing 737-700 business jet!


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: david@airlinereporter.com

VIDEO: 737 Business Jet Flight Deck PLUS Cabin Tour

Wow. The things you can do with a 737. If it ain’t Boeing, I ain’t going.

Martijn Coenen

Ah, Bryan, you do know that British Airways is flying to New York from London City with Airbus A318 planes (to NY with a stop at Shannon, back non-stop)?

Bryan’s “Wow” is right. That is an impressive flight and yes, with a very light load, but 737-7 can go a very long way. I’d expect extremely high fares and, once the novelty wears off, I wonder how long the service will remain viable. IMO, that flight could turn a modest profit, but only if they sell 38+ seats, and for darn near every flight. It is a gamble. To their credit, SAS is wet-leasing the service, so they can terminate it almost at will. I wonder…

Martijn Coenen

Depends, is Stavanger a big place with a lot of US-oriented business people? The need to change planes at Stavanger from some other place isn’t very attractive. That is something working for BA with their business class only shuttle: It departs right from the City from London City Airport to New York JFK. If SAS wishes to offer such service too, it needs to connect two “hot spots” for businesses.


This flight is more of a point-to-point flight and I don’t expect anyone to connect to this flight at Stavanger. Someone travelling from Oslo has at least 3 or 4 good one stop alternatives to reach Houston.
This flight will be priced considerably higher than one-stop business options currently offered between Houston and Stavanger. There is also the cargo factor. I do not know how much cargo this flight can carry but considering it will be oil related, they will make good money from cargo too. So I think this flight will make money even if they manage to fill 32 or 35 seats. This is definitely a gamble but considering premium traffic demand between Norway and Houston, this route should be a winner.

Clearly this is also a move to compete with Norwegian Air Shuttle’s plans to expand in the USA.

JL Johnson

Not exactly apples to apples, but this reminds me of Midwest’s signature service on the Boeing 717. Loved that, but it was a total flop. Best of luck to SAS, much longer flights and a better demographic might actually make it work. I look forward to seeing how it pans out.

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