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:
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.
This is about to change as SAS has redesigned its in-flight product to bring it in line with its competitors and peers.
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 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.
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).
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 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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:
Update – February 17, 2015
The new cabin was operated on the SK909 from Copenhagen (CPH) to Newark (EWR) on February 17, 2015.
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.
Other relevant posts: