There is much to like about SAS longhaul economy class on the A350…but also much not to like. This review recounts my A350-900 flight in economy class, what SAS calls “SAS Go,” from Copenhagen to Los Angeles.
SAS A350-900 Economy Class Review (CPH-LAX)
This flight was part of a larger itinerary from Malta – Los Angeles via Frankfurt and Copenhagen I booked using 44K United miles. If you book SAS flights in advance, they can often be very cheap in economy class (the same is true in premium economy), but last-minute ticket tend to be quite pricey.
However, SAS often does release award space at the last-minute, which was greatly appreciated here when trying to get a family of four home from Europe during the peak of the summer travel season.
We began our morning in Frankfurt with a quick flight to Copenhagen. There, we had a marathon walk from our gate (A14) to the connecting gate (C33). With only a 45-minute connection at Kastrup Airport, boarding was nearly complete by the time we reached the gate.
Copenhagen (CPH) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Depart: 9:35 AM
Arrive: 11:45 AM
Duration: 11hr, 10min
Aircraft: Airbus A350-900
Distance: 5,624 miles
Seats: 48F, G, H, J (Economy Class)
Onboard, it took us several minutes to reach our seat as people were standing in the aisle storing their bags.
The A350 economy class cabin features 228 seats and is configured 3-3-3 in economy class (business class review here). These seats, except for bulkhead seats, have a bi-fold table and water bottle holder. Pitch is 31 inches, the seats are 17.3 inches wide, and the recline is six inches.
The pictures below I took when we landed in Los Angeles.
Are the seats comfortable? Not particularly – more padding would have been nice. But I also did not find the seats any worse (or better) than most economy class seats on a European or US carrier. In that sense, I would not make a determination for or against SAS based on the seat. But legroom was just fine for the kids.
Each seat had a coat hook:
Sadly, there were no individual air vents, though it never got hot onboard.
But what really turned me off was the lack of power ports beyond the USB-A power port on the IFE screen. This is a new aircraft and it boggles my mind that SAS would not add a universal A/C outlet. The upside was that I fully unplugged and took a break during the flight, but the downside was that if I wanted to work I would have been unable to. Bring one or more backup power sources if you intend to work in SAS economy class. This is really an omission that would cause me to book away in the future.
A small pillow and blanket were present at each seat.
The flight went out almost full, though my wife ended up with an open seat next to her (which my daughter used to take a mid-flight nap in).
IFE + Wi-Fi
SAS has a respectable IFE system with a large library of movies, TV shows, games, music, and a moving flight map. I quite like the interface.
Complimentary earbuds were offered…bring your own! These were horrible.
My favorite feature on the A350 is the HD tailcam, which is almost as fun as looking out the window:
I watched a Swedish movie called Hilma about the life of artist and mystic Hilma af Klint. While it was the shared surname that caught my attention, I thought the movie was very well-done and was not previously aware that Klint was one of the pioneers of abstract art.
The kids kept busy watching movies and TV shows:
The internet did not work for the first half of the flight, but after multiple resets functioned for the second half of the flight…though I did not use it. Pricing was very straightforward at 16USD for a flight pass without data caps.
As always, it was nice to look out the window too, especially over Greenland and while on final approach to Los Angeles International Airport.
Food + Drink
SAS straddles the line between a full-service and budget carrier when it comes to in-flight dining.
Just after takeoff, large bottles of water were offered to each passenger…this was greatly appreciated.
After we leveled out, lunch was served. There was no choice, just a beef hamburger patty in gravy with peas and mashed potatoes with a green salad and cake on the side. Vegetarian meals can be pre-ordered, but at a cost (special meals cost extra in economy class).
My wife and I ordered business class meals (must be done 24 hours in advance…details here) and very much enjoyed our dishes. While 27EUR is pricey for a rather small airline meal, it really brings a bit of dignity to the economy class experience, and also includes two drinks, either alcoholic or non-alcoholic.
Meanwhile, economy class passengers who did not pre-order off the premium menu are offered a single non-alcoholic drink with each meal service (one after takeoff, one prior to landing).
Water, coffee, and tea are free between meals (and flight attendants did make a mid-flight coffee run and two water runs), but all other soft drinks or snacks must be purchased. A cart came down the aisle with snacks for sale and ordering was also available via screen.
90 minutes before arrival into Los Angeles, a light snack was served: a pastrami sandwich with apple juice. My kids did not like it, but I thought it was quite high-quality (a tad ironic) and ate all three sandwiches…
Service was very matter-of-fact. While by no means hostile, the flight attendants appeared simply to be going through the motions and did not show smiles (which has not been my experience when flying in business class on SAS). I was not looking for fake smiles (what some call American smiles…) but I just got the sense that flight attendants wanted to land in LAX and be done with their day.
Four lavatories are located in the rear of the first economy class cabin behind row 39 and two more are located in the rear. The four lavatories in the center of the plane are shared with premium economy class passengers.
Pros + Cons Of SAS Economy Class
I liked the efficiency of CPH Airport, the modern A350, and thought the quality of the food (even the complimentary food) was above-average. I appreciated the extensive IFE library and the wi-fi without data caps.
But I would rank SAS as a below-average economy class product because it charges for advanced seat assignments, offers no power outlets or individual air vents, provides a limited quantity of food, and nickels and dimes with snacks and beverages.
As a point of comparison, SWISS and KLM serve something heartier than that as a mid-flight snack, with a more substantial snack before arrival. I also found the flight attendants far more charming and engaging, though again the SAS flight attendants did nothing wrong.
We arrived in Los Angeles on time, quickly made our way through passport control (no Global Entry when I am with the family), and found our bags already on the baggage belt.
I would not hesitate to use SAS again in a pinch, but I do find it offers a below-average product overall.