ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Flying to Stockholm on the Plus side - SAS flight review

Updated on December 8, 2015

Let's get booking

This year has not been very prolific as far as travelling is concerned for me, but true to my wandering spirit, I am visiting [yet another] new city this year. My third to be more specific.

On this occasion, it’s Stockholm. And to get there, what better way than flying the national flag carrier. Well, flag carrier in a way, SAS (Scandinavian Airline System) is a tri-nation conglomerate representing the flying interests of Sweden, Denmark and Norway. It should not strike as unusual; they each have similarly strange and somehow unpronounceable languages, are horrendously expensive, carry a Viking heritage, amongst other things in common so it only makes sense that they share the same airline.

For this trip, I booked myself in their SAS Plus cabin. At first sight, it seems like a cross between a watered down short-haul business class and a wannabe Premium Economy product. The price wasn’t bad though, if you could book the first tier in their fare structure and it is fully flexible, gives you lounge access, 2 bags x 23 kg (50 lb) allowance, meals on board the flights and 25% bonus points in your frequent flyer membership (SAS Eurobonus or any Star Alliance partner). For a two-hour flight and under £180.00 ($270.00) I couldn’t go wrong.

The booking process was quite simple, allowing you to combine any type of fare on each leg. I later downloaded the app which in turn came in handy when I had to check-in; again, a ridiculously easy process. So far, so good.

SAS's B737-600 at  LHR's Treminal 2
SAS's B737-600 at LHR's Treminal 2 | Source

The technical stuff - or geeks' corner

Route: London (LHR) - Stockholm Arlanda (ARN)

Flight time: 2h 05m

Equipment: B737-600

Cabin flown: SAS Plus

Cometh the day, flyeth the traveller

Having checked in 24 hours earlier, I had enough time the morning of my departure to do some shopping for home – alas, family were staying home this time, shame we all cried! – visit my mom before leaving home at around 2.30 and snaking my way out of Southeast London to Heathrow on the on train and tube (subway).

Just over two hours and £5.20 ($7.90) later I arrived at the still relatively new, modern Terminal 2, home of the Star Alliance carriers that visit Heathrow. T2 is a different affair compared to the old, scruffy and overcrowded terminals 1 & 2. The airy, glass panelled and futuristic lines offer a more pleasant experience.

The drop-bag counters for SAS Plus and Star Alliance Gold passengers were almost deserted despite the busy ambience in the terminal. I dropped my wheelie, collected a printed boarding pass, ‘So you don’t damage your passport with the baggage sticker, sir,’ I was told, and was given my invitation to visit the lounge. Immediately, I headed towards the fast track (another entitlement of SAS Plus) where I breezed through and within minutes found the Plaza Premium Lounge.

LHR's Terminal 2 - The Queen's Terminal

LHR's newest Terminal - The hub for Star Alliance carriers
LHR's newest Terminal - The hub for Star Alliance carriers | Source

Lounge lizard

The Premium Plaza Lounge is a shared facility used by other Star Alliance members, who like SAS do not have their own at London Heathrow.

The lounge in itself is medium sized yet didn’t feel crowded. Brown and cream hues give it a classy and relaxed ambience. There is a relatively well stocked buffet area. The offering as far as I can remember were three different salads; chickpeas; tomato, olive, feta and lettuce; couscous and carrots. The hot station comprised of white rice, spaghetti drowned in olive oil, pork meatballs, and mushroom stroganoff.

Beside the buffet station there was a fridge with cans of soft drinks, soda water, and strangest of all Chang Beer!

For bottled beers, spirits or wines, you have to cross the room and make your order at the bar area, serviced by very polite and accommodating staff.

Throughout the lounge, waiting staff promptly cleared tables and offered drink top-ups, which I found very welcoming. Free wi-fi worked good, TV screen and private cubicles make this a relaxing and quite adequate environment. Probably the only negative I found was the washroom area, which I found quite small – at least the male ones.

A couple of racks stocked with magazines and newspapers were available throughout the lounge.

Just after six pm, I checked the board and noticed we had a gate so, well stuffed and watered, I rolled out of the lounge to board my aircraft.

The Plaza Premium lounge

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The entrance to the loungeA reasonable buffet on offerTime to drown the pastaChill out boothsSeatingMore seating
The entrance to the lounge
The entrance to the lounge | Source
A reasonable buffet on offer
A reasonable buffet on offer | Source
Time to drown the pasta
Time to drown the pasta | Source
Chill out booths
Chill out booths | Source
Seating
Seating | Source
More seating
More seating | Source

Cabin ambience

Unfortunately, a scrum of premium passengers beat me to the aircraft so photo opportunities were lost, but I did manage to snap a few shots of the seats if only to show the legroom.

Seating is nothing to write home about on these B737-600. They are well maintained, however there is a dated feel to it.

My seat 2A, was actually the first in the cabin so I had the partition in front of me. Legroom therefore was slightly impaired by the wall, but then I am not what you would call a towering figure at five foot seven, so for a 2h5m flight, it was not much of an issue.

Talking of partition, there is no separation between the SAS Plus from the SAS Go, only a small plastic sign on the headrest of the last row of applicable seats differentiate the different products. As you can see, even on planes, the Scandinavian democratic and almost equal system of class prevails.

Cabin seating

The first 4-5 rows are reserved for SAS Plus passengers
The first 4-5 rows are reserved for SAS Plus passengers | Source

Boarding

Fortunately, I didn’t have to roll too far, a mere five-minute walk got me to our gate. Shortly after, boarding commenced, with SAS Plus passengers, Eurobonus Gold/Platinum members as well as other Star Alliance Gold and Elite members were invited to board first, followed by the rest of passengers.

In case you had any doubt
In case you had any doubt | Source

We got liftoff!

We had a slight delay for pushback, despite this not being a full load. However, it was minimal and the queue of aircrafts readt to take off moved within their assigned slots and we took to the skies in good time.

Catering in SAS Plus

It's all in the presentation - or maybe not?
It's all in the presentation - or maybe not? | Source

Food glorious food

Practical, cheap, environmental, utilitarian? Therein lies the debate. Ok, this is supposed to be the premium service for European segments. Yes, it is not technically business class – however, just so you know, if you are travelling business class on a connecting intercontinental service, this is where you’ll sit on the European leg of your journey – but argh...how do I put it?

Ok, let’s leave it at premium economy.

For starters, no hot towels, before takeoff or after. Having said that, there were no pre-takeoff or welcome drinks either.

Once we reached cruising altitude, meal service commenced and a boxed meal was graciously thrust at us by one of the two very mature but friendly cabin crew that looked after the SAS Plus seats. The menu consisted of a shellfish salad, roasted beef slices, and roasted root vegetables and included a blueberry cake. This was followed by a basket of warm breads and the drink trolleys.

One of the ladies suggested I try the Danish Mikkeller craft beers. First, a wheat type which didn’t appeal to me, and mind you, I likes me wheat beer! The second was a red lager, which I found much more appealing. I skipped the offer for coffee or tea.

The two female cabin crew that looked after the SAS Plus passengers were polite, efficient and quite friendly but did not really exude that premium feel.

Let me entertain you

Entertainment consisted on the inflight magazine Scandinavian Traveller - again ok if you’ve absolutely nothing to amuse you – or whatever you bring with you. I browsed through the magazine, as did not want to exhaust my smartphone’s battery listening to my playlist, seeing there is nowhere to charge devices onboard.

Open bar selection
Open bar selection | Source

Arrival

By the time we were an hour into the flight, it was already dark so I was not able to enjoy the scenery.

We arrived about 15 minutes ahead of schedule. A short three to four minute taxiing hooked us into the air bridge at Terminal 5.

Once we deplaned, it was a five minute-walk or so to immigration, and at that time of night and holding an EU passport, we were at the baggage collection hall within under ten minutes. No sooner had I found out what carrousel number had been assigned to our flight than my bag was already waiting to be collected. Not even 20 minutes from plane to shuttle bus!

Conclusion - overall impressions

Although I had a positive experience on this first leg of my SAS trip, I cannot say I will be in a hurry to book SAS Plus even at the reasonable fare I paid for.

The whole experience was just ok, I have to admit, but other than access to the lounges where available, free grub, which was definitely nothing to rave about and the baggage allowance, I cannot see a reason at least for a leisure passenger, to fork out that money for a two/two and a half hour flight. Fortunately, everything worked perfect, but I do think it’s a slightly diluted premium service. To get an idea, think mixing cheap white wine with 7up. Get the picture?

I will be giving my impressions on my return trip in a few days. But first I need to try out two hotels, drink probably the most expensive beer in the world, sightsee in Stockholm and see U2 in a few days.

Stockholm

Visiting the Nordic countries

What is your favorite Nordic city?

See results

It don't get more Swedish than ABBA

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • tony.abacab profile imageAUTHOR

      Ant Richards 

      2 years ago from UK

      You're very welcome Aesta1. As a travel and flight enthusiast, I just had to try it out. As it is, there are far worse out there!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks for a good review. For a short flight like yours, I think it is okay to get a seat like that.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)