When it comes to flying in Europe, there is almost never a big difference in the seat from economy to business class. There are some exceptions, of course, but it is normally nothing to get excited about. While I have flown SAS inside Europe a couple of times before, this was the first time I had opted for what is called “SAS Plus Class” and it was different enough with some things that I thought I would offer a review of it.
Review of SAS Plus Class for European Flights
The Seat – SAS Plus Class
The seat for SAS Plus is no different from the seats for SAS Go class but it is also not at the level of other airlines’ intra-European business class. The only separating factor between SAS Plus in Europe and something like, say, Lufthansa Business in Europe is the fact that SAS does not block the middle seats for SAS Plus. So, on full flights like I was on, you will have a seat companion.
But, the SAS Plus seats are up front so that is still nice. It means quicker offloading at your destination. However, I had flown this from Stockholm to Thessaloniki, Greece and Thessaloniki has only hard stands (meaning you park on the ramp and are either bussed to the terminal or walk). When you fly normal European business class into Thessaloniki, you get a separate bus. With this SAS flight, there was no separate bus so we got off first but had to wait for the bus to fill.
Benefits of SAS Plus Class
It was kind of funny – I had only booked in SAS Plus class because the price of the ticket had dropped on my SAS Go fare so I decided to just change it to a SAS Plus for no charge (since the cost of SAS Plus at that point was the same as I had originally paid for SAS Go). I only did that for the extra miles that I could credit to my Aegean account, not because I was looking for any extra benefits. So, when the flight came, I actually had no idea what came with SAS Plus Class!
Lounge Access and Priority Access
It turns out, you get quite a bit with SAS Plus Class! For starters, it comes with lounge access, something you may not expect given that it is no marketed as “business” class. But, I believe this is only for the SAS lounge, I do not know about other airports. So, if you are flying out of Stockholm’s Arlanda airport, you can use the SAS lounge there.
Next, you get the priority check-in, priority security, and priority boarding access. I get all of that with my Star Alliance Gold status and did not have bags so I had not really been aware of that before, either!
Within the SAS Go and SAS Plus tickets, there are actually even more levels, just to make it more confusing. 🙂 Within Europe, you get cash fare options in SAS Plus of SAS Smart and SAS Plus. The main differences between the two is that SAS Smart gets 1 checked bag and is only refundable with a fee while SAS Plus gets two checked bags and is refundable with no fee.
Food and Drink
Onboard, SAS has a paid food/drink menu. I never pay for food on an airplane. 🙂 But, I was honestly considering it since I had just finished my marathon not long before and had barely eaten anything since then.
Well, it turns out, that SAS Plus customers get free food! They had a salad option with salmon and pizza which was described on their menu as “delicious.” Even as hungry as I was and as big of a pizza fan as I am, I would not have described it as “delicious.” It was certainly good but probably a step or two down from delicious. But, they are trying to sell that (for €6.50 a piece).
Getting free sodas and coffees was, for me, a nice touch and something I would have had a hard time paying for onboard! Plus, the food was appreciated as well, especially since it was free! Again, it was nothing like the food I am used to eating on Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian, Aegean, or Turkish in business class within Europe but SAS is not marketing this as business so that is ok.
This is a nice one if you want to stay connected in the air – SAS Plus gets free wifi! However, I cannot report on this part since our flight was not equipped with it/it was not working. There were also no in-flight monitors anywhere on the plane so it felt very weird to not know where we were, how long before arrival (especially since we departed late) or any of the normal information we glean from the overhead flight monitors on typical intra-European flights.
If you have a checked bag or two and no elite access when flying out of Stockholm on SAS, definitely give the SAS Plus price a look. There is some value there but just be aware that it is not business class. While there are some similarities to other airlines’ intra-European business class, you will enjoy the experience more if you look at it as an all-inclusive economy fare instead.
If you already have Star Alliance Gold status, I would not splurge for the SAS Plus over regular economy. You already get all the priority access, lounge access, baggage allowance, and such anyway. The only reasons for choosing SAS Plus would be for the mileage earning, forward seat selection, and free food.
I do think those of us in the SAS Plus section (I believe it was about 6 rows) did have way more attention from the flight crew than the rest of the plane so that was nice, especially since I was drinking a lot of fluids post-marathon!
Featured image courtesy of SAS