No surprise upgrades this time, so this report will cover the return flight on SK in SAS Go, which is their fancy name for economy. I will also cover the SAS Lounge at CPH in this report. The Y-cabin was pretty full, so I just picked one of the two remaining window seats when I was booking the flight. I normally shy away from window seats on long-hauls since I hate feeling trapped, and this flight confirmed that fear… I should have gone with the aisle seat.
After checking out of my hotel after breakfast, I did some sightseeing in the pouring rain until lunchtime. I had a nice lunch near Nørreport and then took the subway to CPH, which is a really convenient airport to access from the city. It’s nice having an airport so close to the city unlike all the new airports in Japan that are a trek to get to (NRT/KIX/CTS/NGO).
Arriving at the airport at 14:00, I followed the signage to the check-in area in Terminal 3.
I used one of the SK kiosks to do check-in, which is when I found out some really fun news: my flight was delayed >3 hours. I didn’t bother getting a SIM card in Denmark so no SMS message from SK alerting me of the delay. Oh fun, 5-hours to kill in CPH, but luckily I was given a guest pass to enter the SAS Lounge by one of my hosts.
With my boarding pass in hand, I went over to the bag drop lines. The lines moved quickly and my bag was tagged for NGO and I was sent on my way in less than 5 minutes.
I took the escalator upstairs to the security checkpoint. I like how they tell you what the current waiting time is for security.
But first I stop and take in a view of the check-in lobby in Terminal 3 with these two ladies.
The long walk to the security checkpoint. Everything was very orderly and the lines moved smoothly. I didn’t time it, but it was probably finished within 10 minutes.
CPH loses big points for making all passengers pass through the duty-free shops in order to get to the gates. There is nothing that I hate more than these airports that are large “shopping malls.”
The FIDS confirm my fate. The plane from SFO will be arriving 3.5 hours late this afternoon so my flight becomes collateral damage.
With about 4 hours to kill, I decide to do some spotting first since it is still daylight.
AF A319 and DY B738.
Alsie Express ATR72, I always like finding obscure regional carriers.
TP A319 and LX A320.
IB A320 with sharklets.
Disgusting shopping infested gate areas at CPH.
Quiet hallway in CPH near the LCC gates.
A local flavor of Denmark: the LEGO store.
The SAS Lounge.
The agent was busy helping people so I just scanned my pass and went left.
From a distance, it looks nice and chic.
Getting closer to the food offerings, it looks less nice. Drinks were mediocre and the wine on tap creeps me out a little bit (good thing I don’t drink wine). I didn’t see any hot food items, there was just a salad bar (circled by vultures so no photos).
The lounge was pretty crowded so I found a seating area in the back corner near some windows (not tarmac views). My first offering was just coffee and cookies.
Connecting to the Internet, a little bit of irony: “Europe’s most punctual airline.” I’d hate to fly any other European carrier if this is true since SK averages a 2.5-hour delay based on my two flights.
I later went back to the buffet area and picked up a salad since that was the only food on offer. I settled down in a different area. Since SK does not offer free alcohol in SAS Go, I had to get my beer fix now.
About 20 minutes before the boarding time, I went to passport control, which was a little backed up because a DY flight to JFK was leaving at the same time.
Walking through the international gates, I spot the SK A343 in *A livery getting ready to go to PVG.
The aforementioned DY B788 leaving for JFK.
Waiting area for the international gates, very odd seat choice.
And here is my ride, Toste Viking, getting prepped following its arrival from SFO.
Scandinavian Airlines, SK 983 Equipment: Airbus A340-300 [OY-KBD “Toste Viking”, delivered April 2002] Departure: 15:45 (ATD: 19:22) Arrival: 10:40 (ATA: 13:25) Flight time: 10:03
Our Gate: C32.
I entered the gate area while business class was boarding. Passports and boarding passes were checked to enter the quarantined gate area. Interesting because boarding passes weren’t checked again as we entered the jetbridge. My boarding pass is a little interesting, since the flight is still listed at the original time (15:45), but the boarding time has been adjusted to 18:15.
I finally boarded the plane at 18:35. No real greeting boarding the plane by the J-cabin FAs, just kind of pushing passengers in as fast as possible.
Some strafing of the Y seats on my way to the back. More cabin shots showing SAS Plus and SAS Go seats will be at the end during deplaning. As I make my way to my seat, boarding is completely clogged so get some time to talk and crack some jokes with a FA that was standing in the Y galley as I wait for the line to move since it looked like it was a giant Japanese tour group in this section.
My seat (taken on arrival). Preplaced on the seat were pillow and blanket.
Seat pitch is not bad for Y. A water bottle was preplaced in the seatback pocket. You can also see that my seatmate is already making his presence known in this photo…
There is a small entertainment box under the window seats.
Cabin shot during boarding.
The micro 6” IFE that is very low quality. It was definitely touch screen since the German behind me insisted on poking the screen as hard as possible throughout the flight (sleep was not in the forecast for this flight).
With all that space they saved by installing a mini IFE, they had extra space for this mirror and little storage pouch.
The tray table had a foldout cup holder.
The left armrest had the recline button and my seatmate’s elbow which would not budge until I pushed back later in the flight.
The right armrest had the IFE remote control and the audio jack. This armrest was right up against the fuselage so the seat felt very narrow and I’m not a very wide person.
Pillow and blanket. The pillow had the standard hospital cover, but was of decent size. The blanket was nasty feeling, it was very synthetic and scratchy.
Earbuds were in the seatback pocket too.
Boarding was finished, but we sat there for 20-25 more minutes while cargo containers were still being loaded.
My seatmate was already expanding his empire into my personal space. He insisted on putting a bag in between his legs and thus extending his right foot into my footspace. Since my seat was near the back of the plane, it suffered from curvature and I was already getting squeezed against the fuselage.
We eventually pushed back around 19:10 into the dense fog.
Safety videos played during the foggy taxi.
We took off to the SW based on the moving map.
As we continue our climb into the dark, the safety card for this A343 (which also doubles for the A333).
Scandinavian Traveller and the route map to Asia.
The BOB Menu. Not a good sign when you see a BOB menu on a long-haul flight…
The meal service guidelines for SAS Go. If you read closely, you are only given ONE free non-alcoholic drink with the first meal. For the second meal, you only get ONE fruit drink. Post meal coffee/tea is offered, but all other drinks on this flight are BOB (and overpriced at that).
Cabin shot as meal service begins.
A cabin announcement was made that all drink orders for the meal have to be done at the aperitif service. The same FA that I joked with earlier was working my aisle; he slipped me a free beer with my glass of water. I find it poor that SK does not offer any sort of snack with the aperitif (how much does a bag of pretzels or nuts cost?). This witbier looks good though.
The meal trays were distributed. There was no option available. Everyone was served the exact same chicken with rice dish. The roll was hot and fairly good since it was multigrain. This is really poor catering, you better hope you remembered to pre-order a special meal if you really need one…
Seeing my glass was empty, the FA slipped me another free beer.
Plastic cutlery with packets of salt and pepper and a wetwipe.
The main today is “SAS Chicken Breast Barbeque” and comes in at 250g.
The main revealed and it actually doesn't look that bad. The chicken didn’t look heavily processed and the barbeque sauce helped add a lot of flavor. Overall, I was happy with the main as a Y meal.
The salad: not so happy. It looks very boring with just lettuce and a packet of dressing. No color, just industrial lettuce.
Standard Camembert cheese and crackers.
The same FA brought me two more rolls. I must have made his day with my joke, because he pampered me during this meal service with extras.
The overly sweet industrial dessert that was very small.
Milk and sugar were also on the tray.
Knowing that drinks were going to be stingy, I strategized my post-dinner drinks. I saw coffee coming first so I took a cup.
I quickly drank the coffee in time to get the green tea.
Quickly drank that in time to get the final coffee run.
After dinner, I poked around the IFE and its pitiful offerings.
Not only were the offerings bad, but clicking on most of them resulted in this screen.
The NES era remote.
I eventually just decided to rest my eyes instead of watching a bad movie. Unfortunately, my seatmate started to lean on me pushing me against the window. I wasn’t going to have any of that so I gave an “accidental” elbow into his arm while I was reaching to get my water from the seatback. He didn’t like that, but quickly returned to his sleep and leaned on me again. I immediately woke him up again in order to go to the bathroom.
The lavatories are standard Airbus issue with no amenities.
Getting back to my seat, I quickly put my arm down on the armrest before he could sit down. I wasn’t going to let him retake that space and forced him to sleep leaning towards the aisle.
Once he was asleep again, I enjoyed the sunrise over Siberia.
Breakfast service started as we got close to the Russian coast.
The breakfast offering looks about as bad as UA’s on my recent KIX-SFO report. This was the entire tray and nothing else was offered. The tray contained: cutlery, orange juice packet, plain yogurt, muesli, roll, cheese, jam, and butter. A very poor offering and it did little to fill me up.
My yogurt with muesli.
Coffee was also offered.
Entering Japan just north of Niigata. Cloudy as always.
As we approached the eastern coast of Japan, I noticed something on the horizon: Mt. Fuji poking up over the clouds in the distance. There is also an air-to-air with some other plane just to the right of the mountain, but I can’t identify it.
Making our U-turn along the eastern coast of Honsh?.
Eastern approach into Narita.
We touch down almost 3 hours late.
SkyTeam operations at NRT: AM, AZ, and SU.
As we taxi to our gate, a TN A343 is in its final approach.
Arriving at our gate.
Deplaning, a look at the rear SAS Go cabin in 2-4-2 configuration.
The SAS Plus cabin in 2-3-2 configuration. Doesn’t look that compelling of a premium economy product.
A “thanks for flying” deplaning. No lines at immigration and I am quickly into the baggage claim. After a 20-minute wait for bags, I clear customs and this is where I will end this report. Tune in next time for another visit to the ANA Arrival Lounge and the short hop from NRT to NGO.
—————————- BONUS: A couple afternoon strolls through Copenhagen in between meetings. I only saw about 30 minutes of sun the entire time I was there, so you can probably guess where I was at the exact moment based on this bonus.
Views from the top of Rundetårn.
De Danske Garderforeninger.
Rosenborg Slot. Unfortunately, its toilet is not up to SK standards.
Flats in København.
Foliage in Fælledparken.
Parken, home of FC København.
Foliage in Kastellet.
Den Lille Havfrue.
Views from the top of the Christiansborg Slot.
SAS Scandinavian Lounge
Copenhagen - CPH
Tokyo - NRT
SK long-haul leaves a lot to be desired in economy. The LCC nature of SK is present in some aspects of this product. The planes are old and in need of a desperate update (which unfortunately for me did not occur prior to this report). I didn’t think the catering tasted bad (the main was one of the better Y mains I’ve eaten outside of NH), but there is no option for meals, no free alcohol, and the pre-arrival meal was pitiful. Crew was very neutral and the on-time performance was crappy. An easily forgettable experience aboard SK, but still better than UA (ever so slightly).
Cabin comfort: Brutal, but mainly because of my seatmate. The seat pitch was okay, the seats are fairly hard and not very comfortable. I’m not wide at all, but I found the seats narrow, but this may have been because I was the second to last row and the curvature of the plane was squeezing me in. I couldn’t sleep at all on this flight as is common for me in economy.
Crew: They generally seemed very average; the only saving factor on this flight was my ability to befriend the FA working my aisle. That really made a big difference since he gave me two free beers and extra bread. They didn’t seem cold, but they also didn’t seem friendly, I’d give them a 6 under normal circumstances, but will give a 7 given my personal experience.
Meal and catering: This is really where the LCC comes out on SK. There is no option for the first meal, everyone is served the same main. That said, the main wasn’t that bad and I thought the chicken was good. The rest of the tray was average at best with an industial salad and dessert. Plenty of warm bread offered though from my friendly FA. No free alcohol on SK and very stingy with drinks (everything is BOB between meals). The arrival meal was extremely poor for a 10-hour flight. SK catering is only a notch above UA (based on the quantity and quality).
Entertainment: The IFE is microscopic, the quality was very poor, and the content was terrible. Since I already exhausted anything remotely interesting on the first flight, there was nothing left. On top of that, no power ports on this older SK economy product. Standard seatback literature and no newspapers offered.
On-time performance: Ugh, SK is 2/2 on delays. This time a brutal 3.5-hour delay due to a late inbound aircraft, which is unacceptable at their hub. We landed 3 hours late into Narita, which wasn’t a problem with me because I had a 6-hour layover scheduled, but if I were to miss the last flight to NGO because of this delay, I would have been livid.
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