SAS eliminates short haul business class and changes service -- experiences

Discussion in 'SAS | EuroBonus' started by tommy777, Jun 28, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    This has been covered in another thread, but now that the products have been implemented, I wanted to share my experiences with both the products. I've taken 6 flights, two in Go, four in Plus.

    SAS claims to "modernize/revolutionize" the industry by removing Business Class on all short haul flights. If you're not familiar with SAS, they've had 3 classes (in various forms) on short haul, Economy Economy Extra and Business. For the infrequent traveler, SAS has been very confusing and flimsy the last 10 years or so. Breakfast is free on some domestic flights throughout the cabin, while on European routes it's not in Economy.

    Business in Europe has been blocked middle seat, warm meals, open bar, lounge, 200% EB Points etc. Economy Extra has a separate cabin, but do not get lounge and blocked middle seat. You get a meal and free drinks, but it's a cold meal. Economy is bob only, but you get coffee and tea all day.

    On intra Scandinavian flights they've had two classes, Economy and Economy Extra.

    For domestic Norway/Denmark/Sweden there has only been one class even if they sell flexible and business class tickets.

    Confused? Well, the CEO of SAS wanted to make things simple. Here are some statements he made in regards to the Go and Plus products




    Ok, so lets look at what in detail this means: Enter SAS Go and Plus.

    Go: The new Economy Class. On European routes/ Intra Scandinavian flights, everything except coffee, tea and water is BOB. On domestic flights in Norway and Sweden, you get free breakfast up till 9AM, coffee, tea and water free the rest of the day.

    Plus: Economy Extra and Business lumped together. Everyone gets lounge and fast track access, 200% EB points. Service on board: You get to pick a food item off the BOB trolley for free, all drinks are free. Middle seat is NOT blocked. The prices to get in to Plus is actually not bad in most cases, from about 75 bucks a flight. Tickets are all refundable and changeable, but you have to pay the fare difference. SAS still sells Plus Full Flex, which is fully flexible and refundable without any fare difference. The prices are outrageous, same as the old business class, like full Y in the US. This was the old business class fare and also some Economy Extra fares. There's absolutely no reason to buy these fares anymore. Not at all. You don't get anything, not a single thing more than the lower prices Plus tickets. You can just change your ticket any time without paying a fare difference, so you have to be a moron if you don't buy the highly discounted Plus fare and only buy up at the time you need flexibility.

    I've taken 6 SAS flights the last 3 weeks since the product started. please note that SAS crams almost as many seats in to their 737s as Ryanair does. Now it's an all 3+3 config and while they try to block middle seats in Plus, flights are usually full and with 30" pitch, it's pretty tight and uncomfortable.

    LHR-ARN in Go. Got the emergency exit aisle, so I had the by far most comfortable seat on the plan. This was during the introduction week, so service was extremely slow.

    The Plus passengers were asked what they wanted from the bob cart as the free item and received drinks. There are 4 food items available on the menu: Cheese sandwich, Chicken/Turkey sandwich, Chicken salad and a the only hot item, which is a mushroom, mozzarella and tomato sauce wrap. That's it. I bought the chicken sandwich. It was about 10 bucks. Very dry and like any other airplane sandwich.

    ARN-BRU in Go. Did not buy anything, except a drink.

    Conclusion: Nothing has really changed in the back, except a new menu that's extremely boring.

    LHR-OSL in Plus. Booked a while back as Business, even if SAS already had introduced the new concept. Was in row 1. Got a person in the middle seat and Melinda graciously took the middle seat instead. There were only two open middle seats in Plus

    I ordered a cheese sandwich and Melinda ordered the hot wrap. Sandwich was again dry, Melinda liked the wrap. They did not have time to refill drinks or do anything for the Plus passengers as sale goes really slow. The menu doesn't define what the items are at all, so people have a lot of questions. Takes forever in Plus

    OSL-EVE. Domestic flight, Plus. Flight was packed, no open middle seat. The FAs have started to realize that asking every Plus passenger what they want is very time consuming, so the purser decided to hand out the chicken salad to everyone in Plus like a regular meal in business. She even made an announcement "Today we'll be serving a chicken salad in Plus". So everyone, except Melinda took it. She wanted the wrap again.

    Very uncomfortable flight.

    EVE-OSL, Plus. The only flight were our middle seat was open. Did not eat, Melinda had the wrap again. I was already bored by the menu

    OSL-AMS, Plus. Breakfast flight. Very tight again and a full flight. Breakfast was a plastic box with one slice of ham, one slice of cheese, one yoghurt, musli and a small thing of OJ. Hot rolls. Fair enough.

    The experience in total and my view on the new concept:

    The product on Intra European is a huge downgrade in every way if you used to travel Business. The open middle seat was the key to comfort. A good meal would be served, not a plastic wrapped sandwich.

    Economy Extra has gotten a couple of upgrades: You now get lounge access and 200% points instead of 150%. But you also have gotten a downgraded meal and service. There are no dedicated FAs watching after the premium customers. They're all over the place trying to serve the rest of the plane all the way to landing.

    Domestically, there is an improvement as you didn't get anything as a premium passenger in the old one class config.

    At the end of the day, SAS is offering the by far worst product on intra European of any carrier in Europe and on European routes, I'd not recommend using SAS as a business/plus passenger. The combination of close to Ryanair pitch and no open middle seat is extremely uncomfortable.

    The menu is very boring and I'm really glad I'm not an SAS frequent flyer anymore. 4 things on the menu?? Oh, man.

    The lounges are also starting to get really packed. For the first time in my life, the LHR SAS Lounge had nowhere to sit when we arrived from our TATL business flight last week. It has never been like that. Thankfully, the SQ lounge right down the hall will take *G passengers only, so that's your way out. Just imagine: SAS has lumped two classes together and lowered prices on both. One of them did not get access to lounges before. So expect crowded SAS lounges moving forward.

    So SAS, you have very high thoughts of yourself if you think you're going to revolutionize the industry by offering LCC pitch and BOB trolley only for premium pax. If your competitors don't follow (and there's no way they will), your revolution is over and you have to go back to the drawing board -- again
     
    OY-JFS, Fredrik, William JLP and 6 others like this.
  2. tommy777
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    Oh, and please post your thoughts and experiences as well
     
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  3. jetsetter
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    jetsetter Silver Member

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    Kind of depressed reading this from you to be honest. I have been busy flying around a lot lately but not on SAS yet. I have a flight tomorrow in GO CPH-SVG and then have 4 segments domestically in PLUS starting the day after tomorrow. I hope the experience I get is a better one. Just when I thought switching to EB is a good idea *smh*
     
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  4. Malu
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    Malu Silver Member

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    I agree 100% with your impressions from Go/Plus. The menu is below acceptable level if SAS wants to be comparable with anything else, except Ryan&Co.

    I suggest you make your voice heard at MySASIdea - by voting for this suggestion:

    https://mysasidea.flysas.net/idea/real-food-sas-plus

    Already over 100 votes, so SAS should react soon... ;)
     
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  5. Fredrik
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    Fredrik Silver Member

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    Haven't had the opportunity yet but the menu doesn't look good at all. I am unlikely to try Plus unless it's paid for by the employer.
     
  6. jetsetter
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    jetsetter Silver Member

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    Over the last few weeks I had the "pleasure" of flying SAS Plus. As much as I am happy to see SK try and change things, I think this was a step back to be honest with you. Being squeezed in a seat for an hour or so is not the biggest of my worries. Multiple flights between SVG - OSL, OSL - KSU, SVG - BGO and even OSL - BGO all proved to comply with what the OP has talked about. Within Norway, I think that it doesn't really change anything except that it limits you to the seating section of the plane they cram the most. If that is the same on European destinations, that is definitely a no go from me. Would rather fly in GO and hope the plane isn't as sold out to find a seat with a blocked middle due to status.
     
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  7. Fredrik
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    Fredrik Silver Member

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    As an individual I agree with you. But, the truth is that many people travel on company dime and many of these will continue to pay for Plus. I am not sure anything has changed except that the onboard experience is worse for Premium class flyers. That's bad enough IMO.
     
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  8. tommy777
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    Another flight in SAS Plus coming up next week, Tuesday afternoon LHR-OSL. Pretty sad that out of the 13 flights I've got booked next week, it's the one I'm least looking forward to.
     
  9. joemume
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    Even my 70 year old mom who rarely travels thinks Plus is a NO GO. I'm sorry SAS, but this is not working. Feels like Vueling...,
     
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  10. jetsetter
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    With Vueling, I normally pay a little extra and get a "premium" seat. Hope SAS wakes up soon.
     
  11. jetsetter
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    jetsetter Silver Member

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    I agree with you that many people are traveling in PLUS on company dime. Having said that, as an individual who also does quite a lot of personal travel, the price difference between PLUS and GO is almost negligible on certain routes depending on the time of booking. In the past, I have always booked flexible tickets to and from Alta because the restricted economy was that much highly priced. At some instant, business tickets were all that was available when I had to return back to Stavanger. True that due to corporate agreements things won't change much but as far as ppl like me traveling on their own dime as well, this makes a huge difference. It feels like the PLUS area is crammed so much to allow more GO seats to be sold as to maximise their payload. This makes me think that in the GO area, there must be a lot more space if it is not sold out. The only difference would be pocketing the price difference, losing a meal which I am not really thrilled about and the mileage difference which won't really affect my various statuses here and there. It is bad enough as you said.
     
  12. BizflyerNorway

    BizflyerNorway Silver Member

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    Last week, I had 4 SAS Plus flights.

    I am pretty positive to the thing. I paid 4k NOK for Norway - CPH - TXL/AMS and in old times a biz ticket would have cost me 10k NOK.

    Now, for 4k, I get the same amount of points as biz, I get free drinks and food from the trolley. The sallads I got was better then the cold biz meal they use to serve between CPH and Germany/ AMS in old biz.

    On all flights the made it thight for the eco pax so that Plus pax traveling alone got a pair of seats on their own. This happened in 3 out of 4 flights. Only WF on CPH-KRS failed on this as to full airplane, as usuall (get SK back here please!)

    Lower price for more points is good. I would never dream on paying 10k for a biz ticket to Germany. But adding less then 1k to go to Plus is no problem for my employer and give me more pleasure then before.

    Does this apply to others too? Maybe it is not so bad afterall when you are paying for the tickets?
     

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