Review: SAS Plus, Oslo – Miami (Airbus A330-300)

Review: SAS Plus, Oslo – Miami (Airbus A330-300)

I had been planning a holiday to Miami for a long time, and since the tickets were booked many months in advance, I was able to get SAS’ lowest rates for their premium economy offering from Oslo.

Check-in at the Plus/Business desk was a breeze, but as I discussed in an earlier post, my travel partner’s Diamond status scored him a complimentary upgrade to business class, something they would not do for me.

In Plus you also have access to the fast lane at OSL security, which we passed through in just a few minutes. After breakfast in the SAS Gold Lounge (which is only available to Gold members or higher, not even business class passengers are allowed here without status), we were ready for boarding.

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SAS Gold Lounge at Oslo Airport.

We had timed our arrival from the lounge perfectly, and were amongst the last few passengers to board. The SAS Plus cabin consists of eight rows in a 2-3-2 configuration, making the window seat pairs great for couples travelling together.

The seat pitch is 38 inches, six to seven inches more than in the economy cabin, and the seats are also an inch wider.

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SAS Plus A330-300 seat.

I had chosen seat 21G, on the second row of the Plus cabin. If you want to spend most of the flight asleep, the bulkhead row might be a better option, as these seats have full leg rests, not just foot rests.

The bulkhead seats have an IFE screen that folds from a pocket in the seat, and that slightly reduces seat width, however.

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SAS Plus A330-300 seat and legroom.

On this particular flight, the Plus cabin was around 80 per cent full, and after my friend’s cabin bump, my hopes of a free seat next to me came true.

The leg room was good and the seats recline a decent amount, but not having a proper leg rest can make finding a good sleeping position difficult.

I did however enjoy the firm «wings» on the head rest, making it possible to sleep without having an actual pillow.

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SAS Plus A330-300 bulkhead seat with leg rest. Also notice the IFE screen that folds out of the console between the seats.

In the seat I found a pillow, a fairly thick blanket, in-ear headphones, a bottle of water and a canvas-style shoe bag with a few amenities in it.

The seats all have proper power outlets, in addition to a USB port in the IFE screen for easy charging.

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SAS Plus «Comfort kit»/shoe bag.
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Comfort kit contents.

The IFE screens are of a decent size, and I felt that the picture quality was very good. The screens are bright and the selection of content adequate, if not exactly brimming.

Especially in the TV shows section there’s only a few episodes of each show, so there’s not exactly material for binge watching here.

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SAS A330-300 IFE screen. 

I liked that the IFE screen has a normal minijack socket, so that you can use your own headphones without needing an adapter. The screen has a slight tilt option, but if the person in the seat in front of you utilizes the full recline of his seat, it can be a bit hard to find a good viewing position.

We took off about 15 minutes after the scheduled departure time, and around 10-15 minutes later we were offered a warm cloth, a drink and a bag of nuts. I chose sparkling wine and sparkling water, which were served in plastic glasses.

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SAS Plus pre-dinner snack.

Slightly more than an our into the flight, the first meal service started. A chicken and a cod meal were offered, along with a small feta salad appetizer, bread, some cheese and a rhubarb tart dessert.

In Plus, you have unlimited drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, but no champagne is served. I started with some decent white wine and a Coke Zero, and this time you actually get a proper glass to drink from, as well as metal cutlery.

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SAS Plus dinner OSL-MIA.

My meal choice was the chicken, which was served with a cream sauce with spinach, pasta and some roasted vegetables. It was perfectly ok, but could definitely have done with some more seasoning.

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SAS Plus dinner main course. 

The cheese was good, and the rhubarb tart fairly average, but all together it was a perfectly alright airline meal. After the meal I also had a Bailey’s, but if you prefer cognac you can also have that.

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SAS Plus dessert.

After the meal I spent an hour or two working on my laptop. Working is trouble-free thanks to the placement of the tray table, which almost resembles a normal work desk.

I also tried to get some sleep, but as this was a day flight and I had a very hard time finding a position to sleep in, I wasn’t able to. That’s nothing new for me, however, I always struggle with sleeping on airplanes, especially on the outgoing flight.

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The tray table folds in half. 

I ended up watching the movie Passengers on the IFE screen. The movie was mediocre, but at least I was able to pass a few hours. The supplied in-ear headphones did their job, but I would have loved for them to block out more of the outside noise.

After that I resorted to a few episodes of Designated Survivor that I had downloaded on Netflix on my iPad, for which I could use my bluetooth Bose noise cancelling headphones.

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The IFE screen is a few inches bigger than a regular 9,7 inch iPad.

A little quirk of flying SAS Plus is that you have lavatories right in front of the cabin, but these are separated with a curtain and reserved for Business class passengers. You are therefore forced to use the regular economy (Go) lavatories in the aft, which you will be promptly told if you (like me) try to use the Business lavatories.

There was wifi onboard, but the service was spotty, to say the least. In the beginning it was decent, but as more and more people connected, the quality deteriorated quickly – even though economy passengers have to pay for access. I was able to send a few chat messages, but more often than not, they didn’t go through.

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SAS Plus snack.

Between meal services the crew comes around with water a few times, and they also do a cart snack service with chocolates, chips and the like. If you want anything at other times, you can just call the flight attendants.

On the minute 90 minutes prior to arrival the second meal service started. Due to the FA breaking a glass right next to my seat, I ended up getting no meal at all and having to request it after they had completed service. Not a big issue, but still something that shouldn’t happen. Service apart from this incident was nothing out of the ordinary.

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SAS Plus light meal. Pretty bland. 

The meal itself was nothing special. A few slices of prosciutto with mixed greens and vegetables, served with bread and butter. A little olive oil, balsamic vinegar or vinaigrette would definitely have added to the experience. I had another Coke Zero, but again passed on the coffee.

After that it was time for landing, which was a breeze, and we touched down about 15 minutes ahead of the scheduled arrival time. Business class passengers are allowed to disembark first, and then Plus passengers.

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SAS Plus is in its own cabin, although only separated from the economy cabin by a curtain.

In total I would say that if you can get a decent fare, the price hike between Go and Plus on longhaul flights is mostly worth it. I paid around 6500 NOK for a return flight (a little more than $750), and for that you get a bigger seat with a lot better legroom, unlimited beverages, fast track and lounge access (but not on airports where SAS don’t have their own lounge) and quite a lot better points accrual.

My return Plus flight to Miami brought me over 1/4 of the way to Eurobonus Gold status, and over half way to Silver. The latter I will qualify for after a planned trip to Washington DC in September.

All kinds of travel rates SAS A330 Plus: 3,5 out of 5

I liked: Decently priced premium cabin option, comfortable seat, good IFE screen, good points earnings, lounge access at SAS hub airports, wifi onboard

I disliked: Meal service is the same as in Go/Economy, a bit limited IFE selection, wifi service is very slow, no lounge at other airports, very basic amenity kit, aircraft shows its age.
Notes on the return flight: My flight home from Miami seemed to be relatively crowded in SAS Go, while the Plus cabin was almost empty. It was a very comfortable flight, and through the help of some sleep remedies, I was actually able to sleep for 4-5 hours.

Breakfast was a little more interesting than the pre-arrival meal served on the first flight, and the flight attendant who tended to my seat was a pure joy – always with a big smile on her face.

 

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