My flight to Stockholm marked two firsts for me: my first flight on an Airbus A330, and my first flight on Scandinavian Airlines (SAS). And I was eager to write a Scandinavian Airlines review.
I boarded the SAS flight at Chicago Oâ€™Hare International Airport. I found a very friendly cabin crew â€¦ and a sweltering-hot cabin. Thatâ€™s coming from a longtime Phoenix resident, so take that seriously. We were airborne for a good 30 minutes before the cabin cooled down. I didn’t see any of the air nozzles that are common in most aircraft. This may be a quirk of the A330: I found other flyers who said the same thing about the Airbus A330 (this one, for example).
The economy class seating seemed more cramped than I recall on other airlinesâ€™ long-haul flights – Asiana, IcelandAir and Qantas all seemed to have more room. Most of the cabin was arranged in a two-four-two configuration. But our economy-class seats were where the fuselage narrows, so there were just three seats in the middle row.
Iâ€™d hoped that Scandinavian Airlines would have something really cool on its A330 that Qantas and Asiana have on their 747s and 777s: a water fountain. Several times during those even-longer flights, I refilled my water bottle and kept dehydration at bay. The Scandinavian AirlinesÂ flight attendants looked puzzled when I asked, but they did have a â€œdo-it-yourselfâ€ water station aft. Once I figured out that it was there, I drank my fill (it would be nice to know about amenities like that â€¦ maybe mention it in the in-flight magazines?).
The A330 did have something cool of its own, though – cameras facing forward and downward. You could select them from the on-demand entertainment system. The resolution was a little low, but it was nice for a look outside.
Now, about Scandinavian AirlinesÂ itself – its social media team is very responsive, and the cabin crew seemed to take a great deal of pride in the airline. I overheard one flight attendant answering a passengerâ€™s question about the chicken-and-rice meal they were serving: â€œItâ€™s excellent â€¦ itâ€™s SAS!â€ There was a certain charm in that answer. And it was a fairly tasty meal.
This was only my third flight on an airline with a Scandinavian flavor. IcelandAir did a better job at showcasing its roots – the most visible manifestations were the Icelandic language program in the on-demand entertainment system, the Icelandic phrases with translations on the headrests and the Icelandic-branded bottled water waiting on each seat. It would’ve been fun to learn a bit of a Scandinavian language en-route; maybe I just didn’t find it.
Speaking of water, SAS had a bottle at each seat along with a pillow and blanket. They skipped the amenity kit youâ€™ll find on Asiana and Qantas flights.
Boarding was quick and efficient – typical of twin-aisle jets.
SkyTrax rates SAS as a three-star airline. Thatâ€™s a fair assessment, and one I can echo in my Â Scandinavian Airlines review.Â Other than a hot (at first) cabin, I have no complaints. SAS just lacks a certain flair and sense of place that I see in other national flag carriers.
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