AIRLINEAVIATIONCABIN INTERIORTRAVELUSER EXPERIENCE

SAS Cabin Refresh – The Modern Approach

SAS Airbus A340

SAS

Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS)(Star Alliance member) is embarking on a cabin refresh over the next 2 years to modernize its international long haul product. In this entry, Experience The Skies will take a look at what is planned for this much celebrated airline.

Current Route Map / Configuration

Currently, SAS uses a mix of Airbus A330-300 and A340-300 aircrafts to service its international long haul routes to the following destinations:

SAS Long Haul Routes
Image taken from SAS website on January 28, 2015 (All Rights Reserved)

The airline has configured its four A330-300s and seven A340-300s with a mixed configuration comprised of SAS BUSINESS, SAS PLUS (Economy Plus) and SAS GO (Economy). All classes have not been upgraded in more than 5 years and is showing its age. In particular, SAS BUSINESS is not competitive with other StarAlliance European partners including Lufthansa German Airlines (LH) and Swiss International Air Lines (LX) which features a longer lie flat bed in Business Class and better inflight entertainment systems in all classes.

SAS Transformation Current Long Haul Configuration
Information taken from SAS website on January 28, 2015 (All Rights Reserved)

This is about to change as SAS has redesigned its in-flight product to bring it in line with its competitors and peers.

2015 Refresh

The refresh will start in January 2015 with the first Airbus A330 to be completed in February. There will be an additional plane refreshed every month except between June to August. Starting in Q3 2015 to Q2 2016, an additional four Airbus A330 Enhanced aircrafts will join the fleet with the new cabins. The main color scheme of the refresh comprises of shades of grey, light blue and light brown.

SAS Business

SAS Business will feature a design from the Thompson Aero’s Vantage XL collection with direct access to aisles and recline fully into flat beds (an improvement from an angled flat bed design). The airline will feature beddings including pillows and duvets in warm grey and white check fabric created by Hästens,  a well known Swedish premium bed manufacturer.

SAS Business 2015 version
Image taken from SAS website on January 28, 2015 (All Rights Reserved).

For entertainment, a new audio video on demand (AVOD) In-Flight Entertainment system will be introduced with a 15.4″ screen (up from 10.4″). A set of AV power port, USB ports and noise reduced headset standard in current business class products would be included. As always, free Wifi would be available for all SAS Business passengers.

Starting from January 28, 2015, new in flight meal service would be introduced on all long-haul SAS long haul flights featuring an additional starter and main course (this is an increase of 50% and 33%). To provide a more restaurant experience, food would be served from a trolley and less pre-plating would be used (as shown in promotional pictures below).

SAS Business new meal service 2015
Image taken from SAS website on January 28, 2015 (All Rights Reserved)
SAS Business new meal service 2015
Image taken from SAS website on January 28, 2015 (All Rights Reserved)
SAS Business new meal service 2015
Image taken from SAS website on January 28, 2015 (All Rights Reserved)
SAS Business new meal service 2015
Image taken from SAS’ website  (All Rights Reserved)

Promotional picture of appetizer with bread.  Note that tray service is not used. This is an improvement over other airlines including American Airlines (AA), United Airlines (UA), Delta Air Lines (DL), and Lufthansa German Airlines (LH) on comparable flights to Europe and Asia.

SAS Business new meal service 2015
Image taken from SAS’ website  (All Rights Reserved)

SAS Plus

SAS version of the Premium Economy class will be called SAS Plus. It will be enclosed in a separate cabin in a 2-3-2 on A330 and 2-4-2 on A340 configuration. The seats will feature pitch of 38″ (no change) with a 7 degree recline (increase of 2 degrees) and have a 12″ HD AVOD IFE  (increased from 6.4″). It will also have access to free WiFi with individual AV power and USB ports.  Selection of SAS Plus seats are free for SAS EuroBonus Gold and Diamond members.

SAS long haul cabin refresh 2015 SAS Plus
Image taken from SAS website on January 28, 2015 (All Rights Reserved)

SAS Go

The SAS Go (economy class) will also feature new seats (resembling the newer slimline design offered by other airlines) in a cabin that will have a 2-4-2 configuration. Seat pitch will be between 31-32″ (no change) with a 6 degree recline (increase by up to 2 degrees) and will feature a 9″ HD AVOD screen (increase from 6.4″). Each seat will have a USB port and each pair will share a AV power port.]

From the cabin refresh, SAS Airbus A330-300 will have a net increase of 2 seats (-2 in SAS Business + 21 in SAS Plus and -17 from SAS Go). Refer to the CAD drawing of the seat map below. The seatmap for the A340-300 has not been published but may have a similar distribution of seats based on forecasted yields.

SAS long haul cabin refresh 2015
Image taken from SAS’ website (All Rights Reserved)

Tracking of First Refreshed Aircraft

The first aircraft featuring the new cabin rolled off the assembly line in Zurich (ZRH) and flew back to Copenhagen (CPH) today for additional preparation (refer to the flight path below).

Flight Path SAS Airbus Retrofit A330
Flight Path SAS Airbus Retrofit A330 – Image taken from Flight Radar’s website on February 13, 2015 (All Rights Reserved)

SAS also published a sample of the February 2015 menu for its long haul flights. There is also a video following the image on how the food is prepared.

SAS Long Haul Sample Menu for Feb 2015
SAS Long Haul Sample Menu – Image taken from SAS’ website on February 13, 2015 (All Rights Reserved)

The first commercial flight using this aircraft is scheduled for Copenhagen (CPH) to New York (EWR) on February 17, 2015. Experience The Skies will follow the roll out and post additional pictures.

First flight with SAS Retrofit Plane
First flight with SAS Retrofit Plane – Information taken from Google Flight on February 13, 2015 (All Rights Reserved)

Unveil of Refreshed Aircraft

The new cabin was unveiled to media outlets and guest today in a ceremony in Copenhagen.

Pictures fresh from the unveiling:

SAS Plus

SAS New Cabin Refresh 2015
SAS New Cabin Refresh 2015 – Image taken from SAS’s media material on February 16, 2015 (All Rights Reserved)

SAS Business

SAS New Cabin Refresh 2015
SAS New Cabin Refresh 2015 – Image taken from SAS’s media material on February 16, 2015 (All Rights Reserved)

SAS Go

SAS New Cabin Refresh 2015
SAS New Cabin Refresh 2015 – Image taken from SAS’s media material on February 16, 2015 (All Rights Reserved)

Update – February 17, 2015

The new cabin was operated on the SK909 from Copenhagen (CPH) to Newark (EWR) on February 17, 2015.

SK 909 Copenhagen to Newark with the new cabin
SK 909 Copenhagen to Newark with the new cabin – Image taken from SAS’ twitter account on February 17, 2015 (All Rights Reserved)
SK 909 Copenhagen to Newark with the new cabin
SK 909 Copenhagen to Newark with the new cabin – Image taken from SAS’ twitter account on February 17, 2015 (All Rights Reserved)

This begins a new chapter for SAS. The new cabin and this Airbus A330 will be rotated on different routes until more aircrafts are refreshed.

Google Street View

SAS in partnership with Google has created street views of the new cabins on board the A330.  Passengers can go to this link to interact with the cabin.  The second A330 refurbishment has been completed and will be on the CPH-EWR route.

Screen Shot from the SAS A330 street view
Screen Shot from the SAS A330 street view – Image taken from SAS’ website on April 9, 2015. (All Rights Reserved)

Other relevant posts:

27 thoughts on “SAS Cabin Refresh – The Modern Approach

  1. Finnair operate more haul routes that you mentioned above, in 2015 they fly to 19 long haul destinations:

    North-America: JFK, seasonal MIA, ORD, YYZ
    Asia: NRT, KIX, PVG, PEK, PVG, HKG, CKG, ICN, DEL, BKK, SIN, seasonal XIY, HKT, KBV, SGN

  2. I will fly SAS Plus from Tokyo to London and London to Shanghai in August. Will I get the new cabin? Any ideas how I can check? Seems the US routes are going first, but there seems to be no mention of the Asian routes.

    1. So far, there are 3 planes with the new interior – LN-RKN, LN-RKM and LN-RKH. There are all currently flying between Newark/Chicago and Oslo/Stockholm/Copenhagen. The next 4 planes will likely service San Francisco, Houston and possibly Hong Kong. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to track if you have the new cabin unless you check the seatmap or monitor the tail through websites like flightaware.com

  3. Already did the trip and yes, it was old cabin both ways. We did get upgrades to Business through Option Town though.

    1. Glad you got the upgrades. Did you like the new catering service SAS introduced?

  4. Yes, the whole trolley service idea is quite appealing, and the food was generally very good.

    The seats were surprisingly uncomfortable for Business, especially when fully reclined, but that will not be an issue for much longer. The new seats look a lot more comfortable. Anyway, it was still a much better way to fly, having the upgrade.

    I was impressed with the Option Town experience. We flew in Business for considerably less than it would have cost had we bought it from the start (which we would/could not have done).

    1. It was unfortunate that you did not get the new seats. The older seats SAS is using are at least three generations behind. The good news is that all long-haul aircrafts will have the new cabin by mid 2016 at the latest.

      Feedback has been solid for the trolley service that was the normal about 30 years ago.

    1. Stockholm to Hong Kong (starting in the Fall) will likely to be the first Asian route to see the new cabin on board a new A330. Next in line are the Copenhagen to Shanghai and Beijing flights which require A340s. Those are the next plans to be retrofitted.

      1. I am flying SAS from CPH-PVG on Dec 20
        Do anyone know if the 340 will have the new cabin ?

        1. Currently, there is just one Airbus A340-300 that completed the refresh and is in use for CPH to US flights. For the time being, until more A340-300s are refreshed, it is not likely that the PVG will feature the new cabin.

    1. That’s great news to start. However, aircrafts may be changed without notice. Given that only one A340-300 is refreshed currently (2 by end of November), it is possible that current information may be changed. Good luck.

  5. SAS flights to/from ORD are currently a mix of A330s (ARN) and A340s (CPH). Does anyone know whether these are both flown with upgraded-cabin aircraft yet, or when they’re likely to be if not?

    Thanks very much.

    1. All existing and new delivery of A330 aircrafts have the new cabin. You would be much better off with flights using this aircraft over the A340 as only the first one of three are just going through the refresh.

  6. Hi, flying from PVG to CPH in late May this year, will new business class be installed?

    1. It will be.
      All long haul aircrafts features the new configurations now.

  7. Do you know if the 340’s from Copenhagen to San Francisco have the business class seats upgraded to fully 180 degree lie flat yet. Neither Seatguru nor Seatexpert indicate this

    1. Which day are you flying? All the A340s should be done with retrofitting soon.

  8. Hi there, I’m flying the 340 in business from CPH to EWR in October — any way to check if my flight will have the new cabin with lie-flat seats?

    1. All Airbus A340s will have the new lie-flat seats installed by now.

  9. Has the A340 Airbus for Copenhagen to Shanghai route been upgraded? My wife and I are considering SAS for this flight in December.

    1. All SAS long haul fleet have been retrofitted with the new cabin. Enjoy the flight.

  10. Please correct. SAS still have LN-RKP in regular operation apparently. Otherwise explain me why i sit in a 2+2+2 configuration in business in LN-RKP SK )44 flight oct. 1, 2016 . It’s yet again the wet lease Chile aircraft with the old seats and entertainment not working every time i try. I have now the last 3 times going US with SAS, got this. I’m getting tired of paying SAS plus seat and get economy with 3 persons next to each other.one so fat i could not work or for business seat not what they advertise. I payed for a product so ad compared to their promises without any kind of compensation. Now they realised that it was bad solution, and put in the seat u pay for. I’m writing this up in the air on my way to ORD. I expect no compensation. I’m now almost highest also in OneWorld. Moving my business.

    1. LN-RKP is supposed to be a replacement aircraft for use in case others are not operational. It is unfortunate that SK will be using it for both medium haul and long haul operations until newer aircrafts enter its fleet (though not on a daily basis). For October 2016, it is on duty between CPH <> EWR and CPH <> ORD for long haul and CPH <> FCO on medium haul flights. We are in contact with the airline to find out how much utilization it expects to operate with this aircraft and will update the post.

  11. I have 2 SAS biz class trips booked in November/December 2016. It concerns me reading the last comment about the “replacement aircraft” that has not been updated. We are flying ORD-CPH on November 22 and ARN-ORD on December 4. Any chance of confirming it will be on updated aircraft please? Thank you.

Leave a Reply