Review : SAS Business – Chicago-Stockholm, Airbus A330-300

After a short passage to the lounge described previoulsy, I reach the boarding gate of my flight of the day to Stockholm, located right next to the lounge.

Boarding

The boarding is done with a strict respect of the priorities. In Chicago, the airline uses group boarding, starting with SAS Diamond, then Business and Star Gold, Star Silver, then Economy passengers. Families and people needing more time board in priority.

The priorities are well specified

I board among the last passengers of the second group.

Cabin and welcome

The cabin is similar to that of the outbound flight from Copenhagen, so very elegant and soberly decorated. The welcome is a bit colder, but it must be said that the boarding starts with more than one hour delay and the crew is rather stressed.

Always so comfortable, this Business class configuration

As on the outbound flight, welcome drinks are distributed, and I choose the Champagne, which is still a Piper Heidseick Brut.

A glass of champagne served without further fuss.

On the seats, a mattress cover, a comforter and a pillow are waiting for the passengers, as well as an amenity kit, the same as on the outbound flight (but in a different color).

Everything is already arranged on the seat

Once all the passengers are seated, we still have to wait about 40 minutes before departure, due to weather, technical and operational problems.

We wait a long, long time

So we push back with more than 1h40 of delay on the initial schedule.

Cabin Crew? Take-off in 1 minute!
We fly over Northern Illinois

Service and catering

As for the outward journey, the menu is very extensive and spreads over 12 pages.

Simple, tasty and copious menu with excellent digestives to close the deal!
The wine list, very qualitative
An extensive beverage menu
Once again, a wide choice of strong spirits

The protocol starts with an aperitif and hot nuts and again choose the excellent champagne Rosé Charles Heidseick, vintage 2005.

The hot nuts are succulent
The table is set up with its numerous items of cutlery

As an appetizer, I opt for the half-cooked tuna with potato salad. Very fresh.

The half-cooked tuna was a very fresh starter

For the main course, I chose the half-cooked salmon, which was really half-cooked, an exception in a plane.

The salmon was excellently cooked

To conclude, cheese and dessert!

Uninspired cheeses, but a succulent hot apple pie

The service is very, very long for a flight back from the US, especially when you want, like me this time, to maximize your sleep.

Morpheus takes me for a (too) short night
Bye bye Chicago, tu vas beaucoup me manquer, comme toujours !

I asked to be waken up for breakfast, as I know it is often the poor relation of airline catering. At the scheduled time, 1h20 before the arrival, the breakfast is served and it is the surprise.

A surprisingly excellent breakfast
Still a little time before we get the full light of day.

Not only is it (very) hearty, but it’s also very good, even if it’s simple in conception. A real success that should inspire other European legacy airlines.

Arrival and disembarkation

With my 1h40 delay, my connection to Oslo is well, well missed. But thanks to the free Wifi, I realize shortly before my arrival that I am rebooked on the next flight to Oslo, and that I should still have my original flight to Paris… Ideal because no points are missed!

Good morning Stockholm, I haven’t missed you!

So we park in contact… But immigration within the Schengen Area will not be an easy task since it would take me more than 15 minutes to be checked, even though I was only in row 4 of the plane and we were the only flight to arrive.

This will result in a quick walk through the airport even to catch the rebooked flight.

Bottom line

Another excellent experience on SAS in Business Class, which confirms that the Scandinavian airline, in spite of the cuts made on the medium-haul service, continues to propose a real long-haul Business class, with a much better service and catering than its European competitors… The surprise is confirmed!

Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier has been into airline blogging since 2010. First a major contributor to the FlyerTalk forum, he created the FlyerPlan website in July 2012, and writes articles with a major echo among airline specialists. He now co-runs the TravelGuys blog with Bertrand, focusing on travel experience and loyalty programs.
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