As cultural norms change and flying falls increasingly out of vogue in Scandinavia, SAS is trying to recast the narrative and declare itself as a trendsetter on environmental stewardship. Hot towels have become a casualty of this most valiant effort…
Skift sat down with Linnea Malmberg, the head of Onboard Concept and Service at SAS. As SAS seeks to recast itself as an environmentally-conscious airline rather rather than a carbon-emitting behemoth, a number of initiatives have been introduced. Those include:
- More plant-based dishes
- Locally-sourced ingredients
- Frequent changes to onboard meals (4x week), since they are fresh and based upon seasonal ingredients [on shorthaul flights]
- Drink stirrers made of wood rather than plastic
And that’s all well and good. But then she added this:
We are stopping with the hot towel service on short-haul flights because it’s a waste.
Whoa! Not so fast there.
We all value different things in business class, but I don’t think hot towels are ever “a waste”. In fact, few things in life are more refreshing than a hot towel on a cold day or a cool towel on a hot day. It’s just part of the business class experience. It’s also hygienic; by using it to clean our faces, then hands, then tray tables we cut down on the of illness. When we do that, we cut the consumption of waste since we go through so many tissues when sick.
Ok, maybe that’s a stretch…sort of like a stretch that the elimination of hot towels is “for the environment”.
Or maybe I’m just too cynical…
> Read More: SAS Worried As “Flying Shame” Grips Sweden
I’m sad to see SAS ditch towels on its shortest flights in its “SAS Plus” short-haul “business class” product. These hot towels were one of the last vestiges of premium cabin service in which SAS doesn’t even block middle seats any longer.
Oh, and my son fully agrees with me…
featured image: Christopher Doyle / Wikimedia Commons