I like trying new airlines.  I also like it when airlines reflect the culture of their home country.

Last month I went over to Norway to chase the Northern Lights and it made a ton of sense to fly on Star Alliance, since Oneworld could only get me as far as Oslo and I needed to go to Evenes.  Enter Scandinavian Airlines, otherwise known as SAS (or, in Swedish: Aaertghdfhasdfuiahsdofuiahsoihsdfgboqiuwaef, probably).

SAS doesn’t have the reputation that, say, Singapore Airlines or Emirates have for blingy planes or great service but I’ve heard from a few people who called it a surprisingly enjoyable flight.  Others called it pretty ho-hum…but hey let’s go for it anyway, right?

70,000 Chase Ultimate Reward points (instantly transferred to United) later and my booking was secured: Los Angeles to Stockholm to Oslo to Evenes.  Being that I live in Dallas I booked a cheap American one-way over to LAX.

I had some time to kill at Tom Bradley International Terminal so I went over to the Star Alliance Lounge, review coming soon.  It was nice and spacious and was an extremely typical international business class lounge.  I made my way over to the gate, where our lovely A340 was waiting.

a plane at an airport

I have an odd fascination with A340s, since they’re a single deck aircraft with quad engines.  They are definitely on their way out, replaced by the new A350 and the Boeing 787, but it’s always cool flying on a quad-engine jet in my opinion #avgeek.

There was a small delay before we could board and unfortunately there was an issue with a door at the gate, which caused the security alarm to go off.  It certainly wasn’t SAS’s fault but holy crap the alarm was awful.  It was a loud screeching and constant beep noise at about 100dB, it still hurt my ears days later.  Mercifully, an airport policeman came by and disabled the alarm, but not before 10-15 minutes had passed.  Shortly after the noise was stopped an incredibly un-Scandinavian and disorganized boarding process started.  There weren’t really any lines so everyone just swarmed the gate door.  Being a big dude and not really giving a crap I still ended up boarding pretty early to try and get some cabin pics.

The seats are an older version of the Qantas seats that I loved so much December of last year.  I was in a two-row mini cabin behind the boarding door so my cabin pics were interrupted by the rest of the passengers.  Eventually the crowd thinned out and I got to snapping some pics.

The Business Class Cabin and Seat

people sitting in an airplane

a seat in an airplane

a seat in an airplane with a screen and windows

I love this seat so much because it uses space well.  The shelf is the absolute perfect place to throw a phone during your flight and the little pocket on the seatback in front of you was also a nice holding place for boarding passes and whatnot.

a pair of headphones on a shelf

a screen on a device

Below the shelf were all the requisite plugs you’d expect in a business class seat and the seat controls were located closer to the end of the wall thing.

a pair of headphones on a shelf

a close up of a device

My flight attendant then handed me the lamest amenity kit I’ve ever seen.

a hand holding a black bag

It didn’t really have much in it worth taking a picture of.  Anyhoo, the cabin seemed very Scandinavian, minimal and understated without seeming cheap.

a sign on a wall

The A340 began its slow takeoff roll (if you’ve ever ridden in one you know, the common joke is that the earth curves away from an A340 rather than the jet going fast enough to take off) and eventually we made our way out over the Pacific Ocean.  The captain informed us we would have a great view as we turned around to head east, and he was right!

The Flight

an airplane wing and wing of an airplane with a body of water and land below

Menus were quickly distributed and the cover was one of the coolest menu covers I’d ever seen aboard an airplane.

a paper with a picture of a snowy landscape

I loved it because it featured pretty much everything people would want to see on a winter visit to Scandinavia.  I had some champagne and warm nuts shortly after takeoff while trying to decide what to have for my main course.

a bowl of nuts and a glass of beer on a table

The meal service is a bit unique, both the appetizers and the entrees were brought by on a cart and you simply picked what you wanted.  For the appetizer I chose some white fish with a really nice and light sauce and enough greens to probably call it a salad.

a plate of food on a table

The entree cart came by and I chose the venison with cauliflower puree, fava beans, and bread budding.

a table with food on it

a plate of food on a table

The meat was a bit overcooked but wasn’t try and still had quite a bit of flavor.  All in all it was a very good business class meal, better than what I’m used to flying American that’s for sure.

After the dinner service I had some ice cream and then set my seat to bed mode.  The seat went completely flat but I couldn’t ever get completely comfortable, unlike the same seat on Qantas late last year.  I still managed to get some good sleep though.

One of the great features of the flight was the in-flight wi-fi, which was complimentary for business class passengers!  It was reasonably quick and I had a stable connection for the entire flight!

Around the middle of the flight I sat up to watch a movie for a bit and decided to check out the snack bar, which was incredibly impressive!

a small refrigerator with food and drinks

Everything was top notch and it came across as super classy having proper espresso cups so neatly stored away.

After my movie I laid back again and didn’t wake up until shortly before breakfast.

a tray with food and drinks on it

The breakfast was excellent, it really hit the spot, and we began our descent towards Stockholm (technically Arlanda but you know what I meant).  Out the window were some incredible views of mountains and fjords which got me really excited for my journey ahead!

aerial view of a snowy mountain range

aerial view of a snowy landscape

We had a smooth landing at Arlanda, customs took barely any time at all, and before I knew it I was safely ensconced in the SAS lounge waiting for my next flight to Oslo!

The Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed my flight!  It certainly wasn’t the best flight ever like my buddy Mike thought but it was one of the better business class flights I’ve taken for sure.  The flight attendants were polite, cheerful, and very efficient with their service.  Put together a great seat, unique food, classy and distinctive cabin, and cheerful flight attendants and you’ll get two thumbs up from me every time!

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