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SAS manages to out-do BA with a new service cut …. which hopefully BA won’t follow

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Whilst British Airways has become a little paranoid about Norwegian’s low cost long haul operation from Gatwick – which has led to BA launching ‘spoiler’ routes to Oakland and Fort Lauderdale – it is Scandinavian airline SAS which has taken the brunt of the pain from Norwegian’s growth.

Like BA, SAS has been attempting to take layers of cost out of their operations.  Like BA, they will probably find that all this does is drive away the sticky corporate traffic which is happy to pay higher fares until it seems pointless due to service dilution.

If you were unhappy with some of the recent BA changes, take note of what SAS has just announced.

Third party lounge access and fast track security will no longer be provided on Plus short-haul fares or to Gold card holders.

SAS, technically, does not have short haul Business Class.  Plus is as near as it gets – added ticket flexibility, free food, extra luggage allowance, lounge access and fast track security.

SAS will still allow Plus ticket holders and Gold card card holders to use SAS or other Star Alliance lounges if they exist.  However, at airports without a lounge run by a Star Alliance member, you will no longer be getting in, irrespective of how much your ticket cost or how shiny your status card.

This clearly saves SAS some money.   Third party lounges will be charging €10 – €15 for access, and airports charge a small sum for letting passengers use Fast Track security lanes.  In the context of a £700 Plus ticket from Heathrow to Stockholm, however, it is hardly a lot.

(I found Plus fares from Heathrow as “low” as £436, to be fair, but they did go as high as £700.)

sas

The interesting point is that this is NOT being done to allow the airline to offer lower fares at the bottom end.  Plus is the most expensive ticket type sold by SAS on short haul.  On the face of it this seems to be a slightly crazy move which will save a very small amount of money but risks losing the high paying corporate customers that the airline relies on.

For customers flying SAS from London, the impact is minor but there will be changes.  SAS customers will no longer be able to use the Plaza Premium lounge in Terminal 2A.  They will be able to use the Lufthansa lounge in 2A – which is not as nice in my view – or the various Star lounges in 2B.  2B is a long trot if your flight departs from 2A, however.

Full details can be found on this page of the SAS website – scroll to the bottom.

Comments (25)

  • John G says:

    “I found Plus fares from Heathrow as “low” as £436”

    SAS Plus can be had for a lot less than that, and often for only a small supplement over SAS Go which I think is part of the problem!

  • Michael_S says:

    Rob, I think the title sounds worse than the actual news. In LHR as well as in all major nordic destinations SAS flies, there should be a SAS / SA lounge? Flying mainly with SA (i have gold), haven’t come across a single airport where SA has a service and doesn’t have a SA lounge

  • Joe says:

    SAS will block the middle seats if it can in plus (I.e until the plane is full), and I’ve only once had someone in the middle (of aboutm20 flights over the last two years). Policy wise it stinks but on london to Scandinavia, I never understood why they added plaza premium (iirc nor did rob as posted an article at the time). You used to be able to bid/request upgrade and they came through at least 59% of time for me with the added benefit that you could then change online for free (within 24 hours) once online check in opened, it was really easy to change and used a couple of times to extend/curtail business trips, not sure if that still works? DY only fly to Gatwick which is a pain for me so unless it was super cheap had to stick to ba or sas.

  • Michael says:

    Only thing keeping me flying SAS are their insanely cheap youth tickets… but yes, the product is crap.

  • dicksbits says:

    I flew BA CE from ALC back to LGW in November and used the third party lounge. I noticed a lot of people flying SAS to two destinations in Norway I had never heard of. One woman was sat opposite me with her SAS flight tag.