Review of SAS flight Stockholm Luleå in Premium Eco

Airline SAS
Flight SK012
Class Premium Eco
Seat 1A
Aircraft Airbus A320neo
Flight time 01:15
Take-off 04 May 22, 15:00
Arrival at 04 May 22, 16:15
SK   #57 out of 66 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 171 reviews
bldavid
By GOLD 440
Published on 7th May 2022

SAS Scandinavian Airlines, founded in 1947, used to be the pride of Denmark, Sweden and Norway for decades, and was especially doing well in the 1980s, and to a lesser degree, in the 90s. It had ownership in many hotels and several other airlines. It was the symbol of Scandinavian lifestyle and prosperity. But then came the low-cost revolution to which SAS was unable to react. The airline tried to keep its high quality business airline image but had less and less money to do so. The company was restructured four times in the 2000s (2001, 2004, 2007 and 2009) and tried to adjust its products to the changing market. But it definitely missed the aforementioned low-cost revolution and was losing ground, if that can be said for an airline, both in terms of market shares and product quality. It had older aircraft and much higher per passenger costs than the main low-cost airlines in Europe during the past two decades.

SAS has an unusual fare structure for its domestic flights: SAS Go Light, SAS Go Smart, SAS Plus Smart and SAS Plus Pro are the four choices. SAS Go Light does not even include hand luggage. SAS Go Smart includes both a carry-on and a check-in luggage. SAS Plus Smart includes fast track, lounge, seating in the front, meals and drinks in addition to the carry-on and the check-in luggage. SAS Plus Pro offers the same but is rebookable and refundable. To give you an idea of the price differences, a one-way flight from Stockholm to Luleå, a town 900 kms north of Stockholm, costs 61, 70, 97 and 116 euros if booked well in advance.

Should we call SAS Plus Smart and SAS Plus Pro premium economy or business class? Although lounge access is included I prefer to call them premium economy, not business class, as the seats are the same (the middle seat is not blocked) and the catering is certainly not business class.

I arrived at 12.45 from Iceland to Terminal 5 at Stockholm Arlanda Airport. Arlanda is one of the best airports in Europe. It has many domestic and intra-European flights but few intercontinental flights.


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It was a long hike to get to the SAS Lounge near gate 1. There are two lounges: one for business class passengers and the other for SAS Gold Members. Domestic SAS Plus Smart fares give access to the business class lounge.


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The lounge is medium sized. It was quite crowded except at the back where I took this photo:


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The view from the lounge:


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There's a food and drink station near the entrance. Hot food includes mushroom soup (no photo) and hot-dog sausages.


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Paper soup bowls, paper plates and wooden cutlery. Bleh.

Update: I'm here at the same lounge three days later and there are now proper plates and cutlery.


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Salad bar.


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Bread.


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Fruit and potato chips.


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Coffee machine.


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Beer.


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No liquors and of course no champagne are available at the lounge.

Unnamed red wine, unnamed white wine, still water and sparkling water from tap. Can you imagine Air France offering some unnamed wine from a tap at its business class lounge at its home airport?


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I had some cold pasta and coke for lunch.


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The lounge was unstaffed except the cleaning staff that collected the used paper plates and wooden cutlery from the tables.

I spent almost two hours at the lounge. The gate for my flight was at the other end of the terminal. 


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Gate 37.


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Boarding started at 14.51. I'm not really sure if there was priority boarding as the announcement was only in Swedish but at least half of the passengers seemed to board in the first group.

Despite its fare structure with four options SAS has single-class cabins in a 3+3 configuration on its domestic and intra-European flights. SAS Plus Smart passengers are seated in the front but there's no real divider between these front seats and the rest of the cabin. As mentioned earlier the middle-seat is not blocked although I was offered at check-in to buy the seat next to mine for 299 SEK (28,5 €). I didn't buy the extra seat.

This plane was an A320neo, registration number EI-SIL (yes, registered in Ireland), built in 2021 so it was very new.

SAS has a grey colour scheme for its seats. I call it "museum grey" as the cabins look older in my opinion in this colour. Sorry, I didn't take a photo of the cabin as it was already full.

I was at seat 1A (booked at no extra charge) with great legroom.


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Boarding was completed at 15.04. An expected flight time of one hour and five minutes was announced.

Push-back was at 15.10 for a scheduled departure time of 15.00. We took off at 15.19.

The runway:


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Some views after take-off:


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"We will serve you something from our menu", said the purser on the PA. SAS does not offer a specific meal for its premium passengers on its domestic flights but gives them any items free of charge from the buy-on-board menu. I'm sure there are some rules about what exactly is offered but most people just order a snack and a drink.


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I had some cashews and a coke.


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The rest of the flight was uneventful.

Some nice views before landing - ice just started to melt on the rivers and lakes in Northern Sweden even though it was already May.


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Verdict

SAS

5.3/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi2.0
Meal/catering4.0

SAS Business Lounge

5.5/10
Comfort5.0
Meal/catering4.0
Entertainment/wifi10.0
Services3.0

Stockholm - ARN

9.0/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness10.0

Luleå - LLA

9.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

Arlanda is a nice airport. The lounge was OK for a domestic flight but it would be underwhelming for long-haul business class passengers (the same lounge is used for all flights). The plane was quite new. The configuration was standard for this type of flight. On-board catering was reduced to a free snack and a free drink from the buy-on-board menu. The cabin crew was friendly.

Information on the route Stockholm (ARN) Luleå (LLA)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 3 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Stockholm (ARN) → Luleå (LLA).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is SAS with 6.8/10.

The average flight time is 1 hours and 15 minutes.

  More information

2 Comments

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  • Comment 602223 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5759 Comments

    Hi David, great report as always!

    Should we call SAS Plus Smart and SAS Plus Pro premium economy or business class? Although lounge access is included I prefer to call them premium economy, not business class, as the seats are the same (the middle seat is not blocked) and the catering is certainly not business class.

    You hit the nail on the head! SAS Plus within Europe is such a confusing product and is definitely not premium enough to be considered Business class. It's not great for SAS's image to have such a low quality premium product on short-haul, especially with their rather nice long-haul J product. Connecting from long-haul J to SAS Plus on a narrowbody it not a consistent experience. The SAS Plus European product is even more confusing because SAS sell it both as premium economy fares and business class fares in GDS, for the same exact unexciting product. Every European airline that has tried doing a product like this without a blocked middle seat has failed, like KLM, Air France (for the short time they had short-haul Premium Economy), and most recently LOT Polish....it just doesn't work, except maybe for people connecting from long-haul Premium Economy, which is too small of a market. I really hope SAS see what's happening around them and go back to a true J product on intra-European routes.

    SAS does not offer a specific meal for its premium passengers on its domestic flights but gives them any items free of charge from the buy-on-board menu.

    Ugh, so Low-cost-ish. really bad

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 602233 by
      bldavid GOLD AUTHOR 180 Comments

      Hi KévinDC, yes, this is exactly the situation. SK seems to be unable to decide if this product is more for connecting business class passengers or for short-haul point-to-point passengers. The two markets are very different.

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