Meet the competitors! – Photos: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter
Reviewing airlines is fun. But ranking them is even better! I got to review five Star Alliance premium cabins in 2017, and in the spirit of a little healthy competition I wanted to consider how they stacked up against each other. Our contenders are a Taiwanese AvGeek favorite with a penchant for Hello Kitty, a legacy U.S. carrier with a knack for being in the news, one of South Korea’s largest long-haul airlines, Scandinavia’s hometown favorite, and a company that’s looking to become the dominant Middle Eastern airline.
The routes we flew – GCMap.com
Read on as we rank United Airlines, EVA Air, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Asiana Airlines across a range of categories including lounges, seat design, dining experience, service, amenities, and in-flight entertainment. By the end, we’ll see if any of our contenders can rise to the level of champion!
When it comes to the passenger experience on long-haul flights, the gap between economy and business class just keeps getting bigger. Today’s business class is all about universal aisle access, suites with doors, and other features that used to just be for first class. Back in economy, seats and legroom are tighter, and amenities are disappearing.
But lucky for us, many airlines are offering a new island of refuge in the middle of the gulf between economy and business: so-called “premium economy.” Oxymoron? Maybe. But if it’s a way to take some of the harsh edge off of flying in economy, without having to shell out big bucks for business class, then consider us interested!
We recently did some flying with SAS Scandinavian Airlines, whose long-haul A330 and A340 fleet recently got a major interior makeover. On the outbound to Copenhagen we had a blast trying out their new business class, but on the way back we made sure to score a seat in SAS Plus, their premium economy cabin. The seat itself was more economy-plus than business-minus, but amenities like lounge access, free WiFi, and fast-track airport security were a great way to sweeten the deal. All in all, SAS Plus did a great job of making economy class much more comfortable and fun.
Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter
Read on for our full report and our thoughts on whether SAS Plus is worth it on your next trip.
If you fly often, airport lounges aren’t just an occasional treat; they’re a home away from home. However, at a lot of lounges it’s hard to do more than plonk yourself down in a chair, chow down on sugary snacks, and help yourself to free booze. Sure, sometimes that’s just what you want. But it’s not a particularly healthy way to pass the time.
To make airports a bit more livable, SAS Scandinavian Airlines has been working on a new generation of airport lounge for its passengers. We got to swing by Oslo Gardermoen Airport to explore the first of SAS’ so-called “next-gen” lounges. We found a lot of features there that were definitely out of the ordinary, like a real-deal gym, a cafe staffed with a barista, and a dining area decked out to look like mom’s kitchen. There were also some quirkier features, like a VR flight simulator and a 3D body scanner.
Read on for a photo walk-through of a lounge that’s definitely anything but ordinary!
Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter
Our ride, looking sleek in red and blue – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter
SAS Scandinavian Airlines has a lot of history under its belt — over 70 years’ worth, in fact. It was first to offer a regularly scheduled transpolar flight way back in 1954. More recently, it was a founding member of the Star Alliance. It continues to make big moves, expanding its US route network into Miami and Los Angeles to solidify its status as the airline with the most flights between the US and Scandinavia.
But as of a few years ago, SAS’ business class on its long-haul A340 and A330 fleet was stuck in the past, with a 2-2-2-across layout and only angle-flat seats. The airline ordered a few A350s but deliveries aren’t expected until late next year. In the meantime SAS needed to do something to keep its existing fleet from aging out of relevance. So starting last year it launched a massive effort to reinvent its flagship premium cabins.
We got a chance to experience SAS’ reimagined business class for ourselves and we found a lot to like — all documented in this trip report. And as suckers for aviation nostalgia, we’re glad that travelers will have the chance to fly the classic A340-300 for a while longer, and won’t have to sacrifice on style or comfort to do it.
Read on and join us on a Scandinavian adventure for the ages!