Mar302019

Flight Review SAS Scandinavian SFO to Copenhagen – my Star Alliance Gold qualifying flight

After two long haul economy GoLight flights on SAS Scandinavian Airlines in the past three weeks I have some comments about the airline flight experience. Flying on an A340-300 aircraft seated in one of the 179 Economy seats in a 2-4-2 configuration has a big advantage for a couple in a two-seat section. But I was flying solo on this ticket.

There are 28 SAS Plus seats with a foot rest and better recline with IFE headphones and 40 flat bed Business Class seats. Seatguru.com SAS A343 seat map link.

SAS Long-Haul SFO Flight Observations
  1. Warm planes
  2. Hard economy seats
  3. Limited complimentary drinks
  4. Scandinavian films are intensely emotional
  5. IFE music generally sucks – generic genre categories – rock, classical, jazz, dance and not mainstream artists’ songs

SAS A343 SFO-CPH nonstop route

Warm Plane

Most of my transatlantic flights require long pants, two shirts and a sweater to stay warm. Sometimes I even wear a hat or cap on my head. Sometimes I use the aircraft blanket.

Both SAS flights I took this month of March were so warm that I only wore a t-shirt through most of the flight. There was no individual air vent at the seat. Even the flight attendant was fanning herself before take-off from SFO. The outside temperature in San Francisco was in the upper 50s, the same as Copenhagen upon arrival.

SAS A343 2-4-2 economy configuration

Hard Seats

Something I had noticed in the past when flying SAS long-haul between San Francisco and Copenhagen is my butt feels more sore than when I fly United, Norwegian and British Airways between California and Europe. Not really sure what the difference is since the seat does not seem substantially different from other aircraft. It is simply a pattern in my personal comfort I have noticed. I get more sore flying SAS. At least the blanket and pillow provided can be used for extra cushioning on the seat.

SAS seat amenities – water, pillow, blanket, earbuds

Decent food, but Limited Complimentary Drinks

The meal on the SFO-CPH flight was chunks of roast beef in gravy with potatoes, carrots, broccoli, iceberg lettuce salad, bread, some kind of cake, cheese and crackers. Breakfast was fruit slices, yogurt, orange juice and a roll accompanied with sliced meat and cheese. Pretty good quality comparatively speaking. The meal out of San Francisco impressed me far more than the meal service out of Copenhagen earlier in the month.

Coffee, tea and water are complimentary beverages in SAS economy. One complimentary non-alcoholic beverage is provided with the main meal service after take-off. However, the drink cart comes before the meal cart, so if you finish your soda or juice before your meal arrives, then you are done with free beverage service. And coffee or tea comes after the meal cart and generally by the time you are near the end of the meal or already done.

One bottle of water is on each seat when you board.

I brought a liter bottle of water on the plane to keep me hydrated without waiting for water to come around or needing to seek fluids during the flight.

In Flight Entertainment

These SAS long haul flights had 60 film selections including several of the Academy Award nominees like Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book.

I take advantage of SAS and Norwegian flights to watch Scandinavian films I would unlikely see otherwise. They are usually so emotionally intense that I end up following up online after the flight to learn more about the films, actors, locations and actual history behind the stories.

Blindsone (Blind Spot) Norwegian 2018

Blindsone, a 2018 Norwegian film,  blew me away due to its production as one camera shot for 90 minutes with no cutaways as the action starts in a high school gym with teen girls playing sports and follows the characters in the film nonstop through all the events in real time. Emotionally wrenching too.

Becoming Astrid is a 2018 Swedish movie of the early years of Astrid Lindgren, Swedish author and creator of Pippi Longstocking. A powerful movie and not a kid flick.

Marie Krøyer is a 2012 Swedish film story of the marriage between the painters Marie and P.S. Krøyer in the late 19th century who were popular in the Danish Skagen Artists period 1870 to 1910. Interesting connection is Director Bille August’s daughter is Alba August, the actress who plays Astrid Lindgren in Becoming Astrid.

Anyway, the SAS flights provide Scandinavian cultural and historical context through film that I would probably not learn otherwise.

SAS In Flight Music

In contrast to films, the music was a waste of time to me. I checked out the rock tracks and it appeared to be 60 minutes of random rock genre sound, but no recognizable artists. Kind of like elevator rock music. I assume the other music genres are similar.

SAS A-343 In Flight Entertainment Menu

My Star Alliance Gold elite qualifying flight as an Aegean Miles+Bonus member

The main reason I have flown several SAS Scandinavian long haul flights between Copenhagen and San Francisco over the past three years is my quest to inexpensively obtain Star Alliance Gold elite status.

I have finally qualified for Aegean Miles+Bonus Gold elite membership with my SFO-CPH flight after two years as Aegean Silver elite.

There is a sweet spot with SAS Scandinavian Airlines and Aegean Miles+Bonus elite qualification. Scandinavian SAS and Ethiopian Airlines deep discount economy fares earn 100% flight miles as Aegean elite Tier Points and redeemable miles. Air Canada and United deep discount economy K class flights only earn 50% Tier Points and redeemable miles with Aegean Miles+Bonus. Miles&More airlines, Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian Economy K flights do not earn any Aegean Tier Points.

Aegean Miles + Bonus Silver elite membership requires 12,000 Tier Points + 2 Aegean or Olympic flight segments in a 12-month period of your membership year (not a calendar year). Or you can qualify with 24,000 Tier Points flying only Star Alliance member airlines without any Aegean flight segments.

One SAS round trip flight from San Francisco to Copenhagen to Stockholm earns over 12,174 Tier Points. You need to fly 24,000 flight miles on discount economy fares with United or Air Canada to earn 12,000 Tier Points.

Aegean Miles + Bonus Gold elite membership qualification year begins after you earn Aegean Silver elite and requires 24,000 Tier Points + 4 Aegean/Olympic flight segments or 48,000 Tier Points without Aegean flight segments.

Earlier in March I flew Warsaw-Athens-Chania, Crete CHQ-Athens-Warsaw on a $136 round trip ticket to complete 4 Aegean flight segments.

Requalifying for Aegean Gold elite only takes 12,000 Tier Points and 4 Aegean flight segments. I have ticketed Oslo-Copenhagen-San Francisco round trip for $477 to fly home and then back to Norway this summer to earn the 12,000 Tier Points. I only need to buy and fly another 4-segment Aegean Airlines round trip ticket some time in the next year to extend Aegean Miles+Bonus Gold elite into 2021.

Copenhagen Airport Welcome Sign

 

Loyalty Traveler – My Aegean Miles+Bonus Elite Journey

2019

Going for Gold Flight Review Aegean Airlines Warsaw-Athens (March 2, 2019).

Aegean, Asiana and Turkish Airlines Star Alliance Gold qualification requirements compared (Jan 28, 2019).

2018

Missed 2018 Aegean Gold elite by 4,848 Tier Miles. Try Again 2019. (July 11, 2018).

Aegean and Turkish Star Alliance elite miles for USA-Asia flights (March 22, 2018).

Avianca and Copa flights for Aegean and Turkish Star Alliance Gold elite (March 20, 2018).

2017

Trip Report Aegean Airlines Sofia to Warsaw Gold elite status progress (March 1, 2017).

My Aegean Miles+Bonus Blue Card arrived (March 15, 2017).

Aegean Silver elite and 17,000 miles to Star Alliance Gold (Aug 5, 2017).

Several WOW Air $69 one way tickets from San Francisco to Copenhagen and Norwegian $115 one way tickets from Stockholm to Oakland in 2017 ended up delaying my Star Alliance Gold elite plans, as well as still holding American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum status through February 2018.

Summer 2016 is when my initial planning for Aegean Miles+Bonus Gold elite qualification started. I was American Airlines AAdvantage Executive Platinum when AA announced their switch to a revenue model for earning elite qualifying miles.

Going for SAS EuroBonus elite for 2017, unless I find a better program (Aug 25, 2016).

SAS vs. Aegean frequent flyer programs for USA flyers (Aug 30, 2016).

SAS + Aegean $625 LAX to Denmark + Greece, Star Gold elite with three round trips (Aug 26, 2016).

 

 

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

Comments

  1. Thanks for the info.
    Based on your post, I will bring the stadium butt pad I have been putting in my travel backpack (holds my “some comfort in coach” supplies) as I have been doing on AA Max 737’s and retrofitted “Oasis”…ahem…ahem planes.
    My derrière thanks you in advance.

  2. @Willy – better seats to be determined.

    I have not been assigned a middle seat on a Star Alliance flight since being A3 Silver.

    Main benefit I want is Star Alliance lounge access with United domestic lounge access.
    Advance boarding as Star Alliance Gold and Business Class check-in counter.

    Unfortunately, no extra bag allowance on SAS GoLight fare. Limited to 8kg carry-on and under seat bag.

  3. @Ric Garido SAS provides free exit row seat selection to any *Golds, the only Star Alliance airline I know to provide seat selection benefits to all *Golds, as this is not a published benefit. Awesome benefit if you ask me.

  4. @Onyxi – Thanks. Good to know.

    The SAS gate agent offered me an exit row seat on my Copenhagen-San Francisco flight in early March. I declined.

    I may be one of the few flyers who actually does not care about exit row seating. I like to keep my shoes under the seat for an elevated foot rest substitute.

Comments are closed.