Every once in a while, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) runs a promo for their staff and their friends, with some very decent prices in both their Go (economy) and Plus (premium economy) cabins. I got access through a Facebook friend, and decided on Washington DC as the destination for a fall getaway.
The trip in Go from Oslo via Copenhagen to Washington DC ran us around 3000 NOK per person, which is around 370 US dollars at the current exchange rate. Not a bad deal at all, considering all SAS longhaul tickets include both checked luggage and meals onboard, plus a decent amount of Eurobonus points (or your choice of another Star Alliance currency.
A bonus was that after the SAS Plus trip to Miami earlier this year, the 8000 basic points from this trip would qualify me for my first Silver status with SAS. Although the real fun doesn’t really start until you reach Gold, Silver at least gives you an extra piece of luggage on all SAS flights, plus fast track security and lounge access in summer and around Christmas.
The flight from Oslo to Copenhagen wasn’t really much to write about – a completely standard shorthaul coach flight where they serve coffee, tea or water free of charge.
For the longhaul leg of the journey, SAS uses an Airbus A330-300 with a total of 32 business class seats, 56 premium economy seats and 174 economy seats. The latter consists of two separate cabins with lavatories in between. The cabin in front of the lavatories is smaller, with only seven rows, while the rear cabin is a lot bigger.
The economy cabin is configured in a 2-4-2 setup, although a few of the rearmost rows have only three seats in the middle section, making it 2-3-2. The seat pitch is a fairly standard 31-32 inches, and the seats are 17,3 inches wide.
If you are travelling two together, I would highly recommend the two seats next to the window, as I feel the comfort of having your own pair of seats helps a lot on a long flight, even though it might feel a little cramped in economy.
In the seat, located on the left side in the middle part of the rear economy cabin, we found a small pillow, a blanket, some very basic earplugs and a bottle of water. The pitch between seats is no more than you would find on most low cost airlines, but the seat design adds an inch or two of legroom compared to the older style of seats, and that makes quite the difference when you are flying for seven-eight hours or more.
Our flight was fairly full, but I noticed some free middle seats in the middle section.
After boarding was completed, it didn’t take long until we were airborne, and from there it took around an hour before the drinks service reached our row. In SAS Go, you are offered one complimentary non-alcoholic drink with the first meal, in addition to coffee, tea and water. Everything else is charged, and because of the size of the cabin, SAS asks you to order everything you want to drink with the meal at once.
I had a Coke Zero and a bottle of SAS’ half decent Bush Vines white wine, which they charge you 70 NOK (around USD 8,5) for. Not surprisingly, only plastic cups are offered.
After the drinks service, it took quite some time before they reached our row with the meals. Normally they don’t offer a meal choice on SAS Go, but as they clearly had catered more than necessary for SAS Plus travellers, we were offered a choice between chicken and cod.
I chose the chicken, which was served with rice, steamed broccoli and some sort of barbeque sauce. Other than that, the dinner consisted of a mixed salad with dressing, bread, butter, camembert cheese and crackers and a chocolate ganache dessert with salty caramel.
The salad was nothing out of the ordinary, but I found the main course to be quite tasty, mostly because of the sweet barbecue sauce. The chocolate ganache dessert was extremely sweet, but if you have a sweet tooth like me, I’d imagine it would be just right for you too.
A side note: The bread is a lot better than what Finnair serves.
Since this was a daytime flight, I hadn’t planned on sleeping, but rather try to enjoy the in-flight entertainment system. I don’t really enjoy movies on airplanes that much, so I tend to resort to the TV options.
Unfortunately I had been through most of the interesting choices already on the trip to Miami, but I really liked the little bits of content SAS has created from the cities where they fly. However, if you fly with SAS longhaul a lot, I imagine you would be better off with bringing your own device and content.
The screen itself is fine. It’s around 10 inches, and while that’s a bit smaller than in SAS Plus, at the viewing distance we’re talking about here, it’s more than enough. It’s also a plus that you can easily use your own headphones, as they only use a single-prong plug. The ones that SAS supply should only be used as a last resort, as they just aren’t very good.
The rest of the flight was rather uneventful. The staff was attentive when they needed to be, but other than that they mostly left the passengers alone.
About an hour and a half before landing, they brought out the second meal service, which was fairly simple: A cold-pressed and really refreshing apple, strawberry and blackcurrant juice along with a warm vegetable-filled pastry. You could also have coffee or tea if you wanted.
The pastry was tasty enough, but the highlight was really the juice, which I found to be an original touch.
My only complaint, if you can call it that, is that the staff take their sweet time picking up the litter after meals, which can be annoying if you’re trying to work or watch something on your laptop.
Also I have to say that the A330 is starting to feel a little dated compared to newer airplanes like the A350 or the Dreamliner, even though the SAS decor looks modern. It feels noisier, and the lower cabin pressure of the other planes is less tiring on a long flight.
I found this SAS Go flight to be a pleasureable way to travel across the Atlantic, even though it’s flown on an A330.
The 2-4-2 configuration is extra comfortable if you are travelling two people together and able to secure a window-aisle seat pair. The food is about standard for economy flights nowadays, I would say. It’s a slight nuisance that you have to pay for drinks (well, except that one complimentary non-alcoholic drink…), but other than that I feel that SAS delivers once again.
I would even say that the economy experience is good enough that I see no need to pay the premium for Plus if you aren’t flying for more than 10 hours or are very tall. At least for daytime flights: That extra recline in Plus is very welcome when you are trying to sleep.
All kinds of travel rates SAS Go Copenhagen-Washington DC: 4 out of 5
I liked: 2-4-2 config is comfortable when you are flying with another person, nice IFE screen, you can use your own headphones, fairly generous points accrual
I disliked: Only one complimentary drink, A330 feels a little dated, limited IFE content