Trip Report: SAS New York to Oslo (EWR - OSL) in Business Class
- Newly-remodeled interiors with great lie-flat seats
- Friendly service
- Great lounge in Oslo, decent one at Newark
- Espresso machine onboard (and staff who were willing to use it)
- Nicely timed for a good night's sleep
- SAS still earns United partner miles based on distance, not dollars (net gain: 7000 miles!)
- Free Wi-Fi in Business Class
- IFE has live plane tail- and belly-camera channels
- Layover airport within Schengen zone, so no customs when flying onward to continental Europe.
- Newark instead of JFK
- Chaotic boarding procedures
How I did itIn early May, I was pricing out flights to Germany for this particular week in June and spotted this flight for $2100 USD. SAS flights still earn United miles based on the distance of the flight, not the cost of the ticket, so I earned 13,000 United miles for this flight (versus 6,000 if this ticket had been for a United-operated flight). In addition, I'll earn another 6,000 Chase points for using my Reserve card with the 3x airfare bonus. All told, I earned about $380 worth of points for this flight.
LoungeThe SAS lounge at Newark was decent. There were signs talking about it being expanded in the near future. I'm not a huge lounge person, but here's my lounge wish list (in order of importance):
- Not crowded ✅
- Free alcohol, spirits, and coffee ✅
- Clean, private bathroom ❌
(You had to exit the lounge and use the one in the terminal)
- Free, fast Wi-Fi ✅
- Food I'd actually eat ✅
- Power outlets ✅
- Windows ✅
- Hot food ❌
- Plane-spotting views ❌
BoardingBoth in Newark and on my flight home from Copenhagen, the gate agents boarded all of the Business Class and Elite status holders in one big stampede. It was a bit chaotic but it was generally fine. Sometimes having 15 boarding groups can be as unmanageable as having 2, I think.
Their new Business Class uses Vantage XL seats and are laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration. An amenity kit, headphones, bedding and water were waiting for me when I arrived. Pre-departure champagne and juice was served.
|Fancy new seat|
|Headphones and controls|
ServiceAs this was an overnight flight to Europe, my first priority was to get to sleep as soon as possible. Since I'm a big fan of strategic fasting to prevent jetlag, I ate my "dinner" back in the lounge, at the approximate dinner time in the Central European timezone and then nothing until breakfast time in Europe.
As soon as we hit cruising altitude I switched into my pajamas and went straight to sleep and skipped the dinner service. The quilted seat cover/mattress pad was nice, as were the blanket and pillow. I put on my eye shades and fell right asleep until they started the pre-landing breakfast service.
I went to the lav to change back into my street clothes and noticed the galley had an espresso machine. While still in the galley, I asked the FA if I could get an espresso with my breakfast and hooray! the most important thing about morning arrived a few minutes later.
I bring this up mostly because I've been on several flights where the airline advertises an espresso machine but it's "out of service" once we're onboard. To be fair, I can't imagine being an FA and needing to do a full breakfast service while also making 40 people "double half-caf 180 and rising soy mocha valencias with 3 Splendas*" so I generally do two things: ask for the espresso drink out of earshot of other customers, and ask for a straight-up espresso with no milk products. Whenever I do that, the machine never seems to be broken 😉
While finishing my breakfast I looked through their seat-back entertainment system and found a cool documentary about local craftspeople who made all of the fabrics used onboard the newly-remodeled plane.
|Sweet nectar of the gods!|
|Onboard espresso machine|
LandingCustoms at Oslo was quick and easy. Norway is inside the Schengen zone, so my onward flight to Berlin didn't require another trip through customs. Oslo airport doesn't have showers, you have to go off-airport and do a 4-hour hotel room rental if you're feeling stinky.
My Oslo lounge review is here.
|Large lav in Business is nice for changing clothes|
|Wi-Fi is free for Business Class and Premium Economy customers|
|Good morning Oslo|
|nice touchscreen IFE system|
|No personal air vents on this A330|
|tail and belly cams on the IFE!|
|tail and belly cams on the IFE!|
|Dinner menu (click to enlarge)|
|Tea and coffee|