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My first SAS International Business Class flight - comparison to LH

My first SAS International Business Class flight - comparison to LH

Old Aug 4, 09, 1:06 pm
  #1  
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My first SAS International Business Class flight - comparison to LH

So I just finished my first international SAS Business Class trip to Europe. I was somewhat concerned about booking SAS since I have gotten very used to flying LH Business Class internationally over the last couple of years. This time around the price out of IAD to FRA was so much cheaper on SAS that I had to give it a try. I'm not going to do a full trip report but I am just going to list some of my main observations that I find both positive and negative about the SAS experience when comparing it to LH. I was quite suprised to find that the service and food quality varied greatly between the outbound and return flight.

Positive
- Friendliness of the staff on the plane
- Bathroom - I really liked the double windows which gave the area a less cramped feel. The positioning of the toilet also made for a nice change to other airlines.
- Snack Bar - Nice offering of food and a nice touch with the espresso machine.
- Food - Overall I thought the quality of the food was very good on SAS. I thought booth the appetizer and the main meal were very tasty and well prepared on both flights but I would say that the quality on the return flight to the US was slightly better. On the outbound there were 3 options (Mahi Mahi, Beef and Vegitarian) for the main course and on the return flight there were 4 options (Halibut, Chicken, Beef and Vegitarian). I also like the small pre-dinner snack they provided. LH makes this big deal out of the SkyChefs they have creating the meals but I have found the quality of the food to be declining in recent years. SASs food was very good but you might have some issues if you are not a seafood eater. (on both flights the appetizer was seafood with shrimp on the outbound and smoked trout on the return) I personally am a big seafood eater so I liked the food alot.
- Blankets - Liked the quality of the blanket provided.
- Nice ammenity kit.
- Ease of connection in CPH.

Negatives
- Check-in at IAD is evidently done by staff that works other Star Alliance flights like S. African, ANA, etc. (no individual IAD based staff like LH) The staff was not very well trained and not particularly friendly. They did not have any luggage tags available which I found very odd.
- Preflight beverages (champagne, OJ and water) on the outbound were okay but on the return there was no water offered. I asked the attendant for water and she told me I could open the water bottle provided if I wanted water.
- No headphones or ammenity kits provided on both flights until cruising altitude was reached. This is a big negative for me since I like to listen to music during takeoff and landing. I know it might sound stupid but this really bothered me. Those that like to take their shoes off before and put the ammentiy socks on before departure will also not like SAS.
- Meal service on the outbound was all done at one time. What I mean is that the salad, appetizer, main course and after dinner cheese are all give to you at the same time. Everything is either covered with plastic or some aluminum lid. Dessert is served sepeartely and so is coffee but everything else arrives together. This makes the whole food experience seem rushed and I didn't particularly care for that. On the return flight out of CPH the main course was served seperately after the salad and appetizer had been eaten.
- Limited wine options. They only had two reds (one being a nice Chilean red) and two white wines to chose from. (LH usually has more options)
- I did not care for the seat. I found it very strange that the seatback could not be adjusted independently and that the only way to recline the back was to press the button to move the seat into the sleeping position. On the outbound I had a very small footrest on the bottom the the leg extension but on the return there was no footrest. People complain about the LH seats but these things were even worse.
- I hated the inflight swedish sauna!!! Boy was it hot on the outbound flight! I thought I had experienced warm flights with LH but this really was almost unbearable. Return flight was okay.

Overall I quite like my first SAS experience! I would say that the inflight entertainment is a wash between the two. I would chose SAS for the food but LH would win out if the seat was my major deciding factor. (It's important....that's why I won't consider most US carriers at this time) Considering the price difference, I would go with SAS in the future if the pricing is so drastically different.....this time around SAS was approx. 1/3 the price of LH!!

Last edited by christianj; Aug 4, 09 at 1:18 pm
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Old Aug 4, 09, 3:45 pm
  #2  
 
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Originally Posted by christianj View Post
- Meal service on the outbound was all done at one time. What I mean is that the salad, appetizer, main course and after dinner cheese are all give to you at the same time. Everything is either covered with plastic or some aluminum lid. Dessert is served sepeartely and so is coffee but everything else arrives together. This makes the whole food experience seem rushed and I didn't particularly care for that. On the return flight out of CPH the main course was served seperately after the salad and appetizer had been eaten.
My understanding is that this is deliberately done on the night flights (to increase the potential sleeping time)... Good to hear that your overall impression was nice enough.
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Old Aug 5, 09, 6:36 am
  #3  
 
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My opinion

SK pros:
- SK C-cabin feels more exclusive (compared to LH 747 C)
- Slightly better food than LH
- Staff feels more friendly (maybe better actors? )
- Toilets are nicer

LH pros:
- Better seats (huge advantage)
- More frequent with drink refills
- Inflight cabin temperature is bearable (SK overnight is a nightmare)


SK really needs to do something about their seats and the inflight temperature. Those two combined on an overnight flight, makes it - for me anyway - impossible to get any sleep. I'm not saying that the LH seats are fantastic, but I usually have no problems falling asleep. I also find it weird that it takes SK almost an hour from the pre-departure drinks to the second round of drinks are served just before the meal (on overnight flights). It seems, though, that SK finally has quit the ridiculous practice of half full glasses of Champagne.
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Old Aug 6, 09, 4:26 am
  #4  
 
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I agree with ILS2

LH has better seats and good temperature. But on SK I feel more exlusive since the cabin is smaller and the crew is alot nicer than on LH.

I really like the buffet on SK where you can pick stuff during the night, alot more nice and well cared for than LH:s..empty bottles lying around and almost nothing left when I went there during the night.
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Old Aug 6, 09, 4:32 am
  #5  
TPJ
 
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Originally Posted by christianj View Post

Negatives

- Meal service on the outbound was all done at one time. What I mean is that the salad, appetizer, main course and after dinner cheese are all give to you at the same time.
I recently flew with LH in C-cl from MEX to FRA, and I recall that they also serve starter, salad and main course on one try on these flights (9 PM departure from MEX).
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Old Aug 6, 09, 5:10 am
  #6  
 
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My comments:

LH C pros
*Better presentation (food service) than SK which does not even remove plastic covers
*Much better drinks selection than SK, SK is not even close to LH
*Boarding from the Senator lounge at FRA to some destinations, very nice!
*Slightly better and more professional service than SK
*Status recognition onboard, even as SK*G
*Use of names from time to time

SK C pros
*Food slightly better than LH, more choices
*Fantastic self-service buffet
*Better amenity kit than LH
*More modern cabin design than LH (although I love flying the B747 in the very front, not possible on SK)
*Better lavatories

Mixed feelings about the seat, although I think that award at the end will go to LH.
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Old Aug 9, 09, 4:39 am
  #7  
 
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I have to say I prefer the SAS C-seats since I donät find myself waking up on my shoes as on LH.
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Old Aug 9, 09, 10:03 am
  #8  
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[QUOTE=christianj
- No headphones or ammenity kits provided on both flights until cruising altitude was reached. This is a big negative for me since I like to listen to music during takeoff and landing.[/QUOTE]

I'm quite sure, that no electronic devices are to be used during landing and take off as long as the fasten seatbelt lights are on, as this could interfere with avionics and/or that instructions given by the crew during an emergency can't be heard.

This could be a VERY good reason why headphones were not handed out before after cruising altitude is reached.
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Old Aug 10, 09, 3:25 am
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I think the poster talked about the music available through the armrests - not through an iPod.
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Old Aug 10, 09, 4:11 am
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Originally Posted by sebinoslo View Post
I think the poster talked about the music available through the armrests - not through an iPod.
Makes no difference.
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Old Aug 10, 09, 4:29 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Cupart View Post
Makes no difference.
Except that such music is interrupted whenever the PA system is used. But I see your point.
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Old Aug 10, 09, 12:37 pm
  #12  
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Originally Posted by sebinoslo View Post
I think the poster talked about the music available through the armrests - not through an iPod.
I was indeed talking about the music via the onboard entertainment system....so I really do not see why they don't give you headphones earlier. LH has them in the seat at all times and even domestic airlines like UA has them in the seatback if it is offered on a flight. Don't quite understand Cupart logic or am I missing something specific to SAS.

Overall it looks like my opinion is pretty universal considering all the comments to my post. Since writting the post I had a Business Class LH flight to FRA (yes...my second flight to FRA within 10 days) and noticed a couple of differences in their service since the last time I had flown them in March. You now have a choice of 3 appetizers and one of them was a salad. Before you used to always get a small salad and then had a choice of apps. Main course on LH was also better than my last couple of flights and presented in a nice bowl on a plate. Much better than the ugly oval warming bowls they had used in the past.
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Old Aug 11, 09, 2:00 am
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by christianj View Post
am I missing something specific to SAS.
The rules with different airlines don't always follow the same logic... but one thing that comes into mind is that SAS might consider their noise canceling headphones to be active electronic devices, that are supposed to be off during takeoff and landing.
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Old Nov 2, 11, 6:37 pm
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good comments that were helpful enjoyed reading them........ I would have predicted that more people Like LH than SAS on longhaul... but i guess not

^
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Old Nov 4, 11, 7:31 am
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Originally Posted by TWAB747nomore View Post
good comments that were helpful enjoyed reading them........ I would have predicted that more people Like LH than SAS on longhaul... but i guess not

^

Like?
both of them suck big time, neither of them has fully flat horizontal seats not even on the A380
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