Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has trailed the competition for years in terms of longhaul business class product. I reviewed business class from Copenhagen to Washington Dulles in 2010 and four years later the seats still have not changed–SAS still does not offer lie-flat or even 180º “angled lie-flat” seats on its longhaul routes. With a refurbishment coming to existing aircraft and new aircraft on the way, SAS has finally introduced a new business class seat–and it looks great!
SAS is working with a relatively small fleet:
- Cabin upgrade on seven Airbus A330/A340s
- Four new Airbus A330-300s to be delivered in 2015 and 2016
- Eight Airbus A350-900s to be delivered from 2018 with an option on an additional six
Here’s a bit from the SAS press release—
Seven SAS Airbus A330/A340s are having cabin upgrades. The interior design is ultra modern with greater cabin comfort in the shape of new seats in all classes. To make flights even more comfortable, a new on-demand entertainment system with HD large screens is being installed along with WiFi access.
The materials and color scheme in the new cabins have been chosen to create a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere. The seating in SAS Go and SAS Plus is designed with good storage to create extra space. All seats in SAS Business have direct access to aisles and can be folded flat for maximum comfort. The bedding comes from Hästens, the oldest bed manufacturer in Sweden, to ensure that passengers enjoy a high class sleeping experience.
“SAS customers will enjoy a totally new travel experience in our upgraded cabins. The new interior is designed to meet the needs of frequent flyers and substantially enhances our customer offer,” says Rickard Gustafson, President and CEO of SAS.
The first plane with the new cabin is expected to go into service in early 2015 and the majority of the SAS long haul fleet will have the new interior within 12 months. SAS currently flies long haul to New York, Chicago, Washington, San Francisco, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo and Houston (from August 2014).
I love the color scheme of the cabins and seats and the Hästens bedding looks very classy–
As noted in the press release, the cabin will be configured in a 1-2-1 layout, meaning direct aisle access at every seat. A potential downside (though we have not seen the seat map): the loss of the current 2-2-2 cabin layout and the larger size of these seats (in fully lie-flat mode, they are 6’5″) presumably means fewer business class seats. Premium longhaul award space is already extremely rare on SAS, though not impossible to find. It may be even worse after the refurbishment.
SAS has struggled financially for years and I trust these seats are a sign of a turnaround–SAS provides critical air links within Scandinavia and is a valuable Star Alliance member. I cannot wait to try this new seat!