Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is adding seat assignment fees in business class and SAS Plus in its latest attempt to generate revenue.
SAS Adds Seat Fees In Business Class (both Shorthaul And Longhaul)
As noted by One Mile At A Time, SAS announced that it will begin asking premium cabin passengers for seat assignment fees:
- This applies for bookings made as of October 18, 2023 and for travel on or after October 23, 2023
- Cost will vary based upon seat chosen and distance of flight
- EuroBonus Gold, Diamond, and (invite-only) Pandion members are exempt
- Star Alliance Gold or Silver members from other Star Alliance carriers are not exempt
- Passengers traveling on a wholly domestic flight(s) within a single Nordic country in SAS Plus will not be subjected to seat assignment fee
- Complimentary seat assignments become available 30 hours before departure when online check-in opens.
SAS offers a business class product on longhaul flights and calls its forward cabin service within Europe “SAS Plus” which is a hybrid of business class and economy class, with no blocked middle seats but business class service.
From what I can tell, a “standard” transatlantic business class seat will cost $90 to reserve while a “preferred” seat (window seat in a 1-2-1 configuration) will cost $120.
On routes within Europe, a “preferred” seat will cost $10 and a “more space” seat will cost $18.
Is This A Reasonable Policy?
There is little to celebrate about paying $6,000+ for a business class ticket and then having to pay another $120 in each direction for a seat assignment.
But we cannot separate from our discussion the fact that SAS has lost money for years and is operating in bankruptcy protection. The carrier is running to Air France – KLM and ditching Star Alliance despite being one the alliance’s founding members because it has not found a way to make money for years. With the governments of Norway and Sweden pulling the plug on funding, the financial position of SAS is precarious and the Danish government will not continue to prop it up alone.
It is true that”desperate times call for desperate measures” and we must not overlook that SAS is in a fight for its survival. At the same time, we also must note that SAS is also in a fight for its identity and if this new seat assignment fee only turns 1/50 customers away, I am not sure SAS is going to come out ahead…
> Read More: Why Did Scandinavian Airlines Fail? (Analysis)
One group that should love this change is EuroBonus elite members, who will now have an easier time selecting seats.
SAS recently added wi-fi fees in SAS Plus and is now adding premium cabin seat assignment fees. All of these moves strike me as penny-wise, pound-foolish, but with other carriers in Europe doing the same thing I do not expect any sort of rollback.
In the meantime, if you book a transatlantic ticket on SAS you can expect to pay $120 for a window seat.