Founded in 1946, SAS was born from the merger of three airlines: Swedish Intercontinental Airlines, Danish Air Lines, and Norwegian Air Lines, making it the flag carrier of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. With its three hubs in Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Oslo, the airline has an overt Nordic vibe with muted grey and blue tones, cool design aspects, and an air of simplicity in a similar vein to Icelandair’s Saga Premium class. SAS’ premium economy and business class are privy to upgraded meals, a high level of service, and comfortable yet minimalist airport lounges. So is their mid-priced premium economy—now called SAS Plus—worth it?
For SAS, their revamped premium economy class, SAS Plus, is available on all flights between North America, Europe, and Asia. These seats are on SAS’ Airbus A330 and A350 aircraft; travelers can bid or use EuroBonus points to upgrade to SAS Plus. With wider, well-padded seats with a footrest, meal upgrades, a good amenity kit, comfortable lounges, and exceptional service, SAS Plus is a winner.
What to know about SAS premium economy
SAS operates a fleet of 132 aircraft, including larger planes like the A330 and A350 and smaller planes like the Boeing 737, CRJ-900, and Airbus A320. Each plane offers a mix of Economy (SAS Go), Premium Economy (SAS Plus), and Business Class (SAS Business).
The carrier flies heavily within Scandinavia (35 destinations in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway) and Europe (72 destinations, including England, France, Croatia, Germany, Iceland, Greece, and Italy). SAS flies to eight cities in North America: Newark (EWR), Los Angeles (LAX), Chicago (ORD), Boston (BOS), San Francisco (SFO), Washington, DC (IAD), Miami (MIA), and Toronto (YYZ). From Europe, it also flies to Shanghai, Tokyo, and Beirut in Asia.
SAS Plus offers travelers more legroom, a larger seat with more recline, free seat assignments; one checked bag, free WiFi, and SAS airport lounge access, which is rare for a premium economy ticket.
How SAS premium economy compares to regular economy
SAS’ Premium seats vary depending on the destination. The seats within Scandinavia and Europe are the same as regular economy flights. However, traveling to and from Asia, Canada, and the US, you get a wider seat and extra legroom with an adjustable headrest and reclining seat. Also, the first row in Premium Economy has leg rests, while the other rows have footrests. It makes a big difference on those longer flights.
For service within Scandinavia and Europe, passengers receive priority boarding, access to the lounge, a meal and snacks, coffee and tea, and free WiFi. But passengers on long-haul flights to/from North America and Asia get a three-course menu and beverages during the flight. SAS Plus passengers get an upgraded meal compared to regular economy, a better quality blanket and pillow, an amenity kit, and priority boarding and luggage services.
How SAS premium economy compares to business class
While more impressive than Economy, there’s no comparison of SAS’ Premium Economy seats to Business Class. Seats in Business Class, which are available on flights to North America and Asia, are fully lie-flat and have a massage feature; this is a high level of comfort.
Business Class also features top-notch food and drinks with an a la carte menu and three-course meals with four choices for the main course. The entertainment system is also upgraded with a 15.4” HD screen instead of Premium Economy’s 12” screen.
Previous deals Going has found in SAS premium economy
- Chicago to Dublin for $509 roundtrip
- Newark to Stockholm for $668 roundtrip
- LA to Oslo for $840 roundtrip
- Miami to London for $748 roundtrip
The SAS premium economy experience at the airport
SAS premium economy lounge access
The Scandinavian Airlines lounge—SAS Lounges—is only for Premium Economy (SAS Plus) passengers and Business Class travelers. Lounges open one hour before the first scheduled SAS flight and close 30 minutes before the last scheduled SAS flight.
SAS Lounges are available at Copenhagen-Kastrup, Stockholm-Arlanda, Gothenburg-Landvetter, Oslo-Gardermoen, Trondheim, Bergen, New York-Newark Liberty, and Chicago-O’Hare.
Furthermore, SAS Plus passengers also have access to more than 1,000 Star Alliance lounges at airports around the world.
All SAS Plus and SAS Business tickets include access to SAS Lounges. Passengers can expect to find food (self-service), a beverage bar with alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, free WiFi, and digital newspapers and magazines. Lounges also offer meeting rooms for rent, shower facilities, and a kids’ room to entertain the little ones.
SAS Gold Lounges are available to EuroBonus Diamond and Gold members or Star Alliance Gold travelers that present a boarding pass for an SAS flight or a Star Alliance partner flight. Gold Lounges are only available in Copenhagen, Oslo, and Stockholm. Here, passengers have access to everything found in SAS Lounges, in addition to phone rooms, daylight boosters, and rest cabins.
SAS Plus passengers may use a priority check-in desk, available at all airports, dedicated to Premium and Business Class passengers, and typically has shorter lines than the rest of Economy. SAS Plus priority services offer a separate fast-track line through security screening areas. Passengers must present a same-day SAS Plus boarding pass on an SAS-operated flight from the local airport. Check-in is seamless, quick, and saves a lot of time.
Baggage allowance on SAS premium economy
SAS premium economy passengers get one free checked bag, up to 23 kg (50 lbs) included in their fare, and one carry-on of up to 8 kg (17 lbs). For flights to/from North America and Asia, premium passengers can fly with two 8 kg (17 lbs) carry-ons. Checked bags are tagged with “priority handling,” making them the first bags off the plane on arrival, saving quite a bit of time.
The SAS premium economy experience in the air
SAS premium economy seats
The SAS Plus premium economy cabin is directly behind the business class cabin; eight rows of premium economy seats are in a 2-3-2 configuration. SAS Plus seats are comfortably padded and offer about six extra inches of pitch (38-inch pitch) compared to economy seats; they are also slightly wider (18.3 inches) than economy seats (17.3 inches). One of the best features is a footrest that adds extra comfort.
For more comfort, try to score the first row of Premium Economy, which has a leg rest. That extra legroom is everything on a long flight. Bathrooms are shared with regular economy passengers.
Benefits of flying SAS premium economy
Premium amenity kits are available on SAS night flights, though don’t expect much. There’s a mini tube of toothpaste, a toothbrush, and earplugs. The contents come in a cloth shoe bag, which is great to keep and reuse. Also, there’s a plush pillow, a thick blanket, and a bottle of water on the seat.
SAS’ in-flight entertainment features an array of current movies, television shows, and video games operated by a touch-screen. The free WiFi has always worked well on my flights, and there is a USB charging port on the seatback screen and a standard headphone jack. If you need headphones, a flight attendant will provide a basic pair free of charge.
Meals in SAS premium economy
Meals in SAS Plus class are better than economy, served on a single tray with a glass and silverware. The meals come wrapped in foil, and the side dishes are covered in plastic. This seems typical, but the silverware feels a step above regular economy.
The choice of meals is pretty standard, a choice of chicken or fish, with sides like potatoes or rice and vegetables. Meals typically come with a dinner roll and salad and a dessert like a slice of cake. I usually go for the fish, typically salmon, and it’s always decent for airline food. In short, it won’t blow you away, but it’s a fine airline meal.
In between meals, SAS Plus passengers are offered snacks, like cashews, and complimentary drinks. Coffee and tea service immediately follows dinner.
For overnight flights, SAS Plus passengers are served a light breakfast, typically 1.5 hours before landing consisting of yogurt, granola, a muffin, cold cuts, and cheese, with orange juice and a choice of coffee or tea.
Alcoholic beverages are complimentary for all SAS Plus passengers. Those flying in Premium Economy get a welcome aboard drink of sparkling wine served with cashews. During meal service, Danish beer (Carlsberg or Mikkeller, including some beers brewed exclusively for SAS) and red or white wine (two standard options for each) are on offer. A selection of spirits is also available. It’s good to know that flight attendants only bring alcoholic beverages around once during the dinner service.
How to book SAS premium economy
How much does it cost for a premium economy ticket on SAS?
Premium seats on SAS are generally around 50% more than standard economy (called SAS Go) but may be a difference of a couple of hundred dollars, depending on the flight. Premium fares are less than half or more than Business Class. Typically, flights from the US to Europe cost around $1,500 to $2,000 roundtrip, but Going finds our members cheap flights in premium economy often under $600 roundtrip.
How to upgrade to premium economy of SAS for free
Free upgrades to premium economy are not offered; however, you can place a bid online to upgrade. Bidding is open from the time of booking up until six hours before a passenger’s flight departure on North American and Asian flights and up until 25 hours before departure on Scandinavian and European flights.
Bidding can be done through the “My Booking” section of the SAS website and can start as low as $200. When you big, the page will show your "Offer Strength" to show the likelihood that your bid will be accepted.
How much does it cost to upgrade to premium economy on SAS?
Passengers may bid to upgrade to Premium Economy or Business Class after they’ve booked their SAS tickets. A fair bid would be at least $900 per leg, per person, depending on the demand and route.
If you didn't get the upgrade through your bid or decide on an upgrade at the last minute, buying an upgrade at the airport is possible. To check if an upgrade is available on your flight, speak with the staff at the gate or check-in counter; they can advise on the availability and price.
It’s also possible to use points, called EuroBonus Points, for an upgrade. One-way from Europe to North America is typically around 40,000 points.
If you’re flying internationally and looking for a more comfortable seat, access to comfortable lounges, and better meal service, SAS Plus is a great option. It’s not the most luxe of all premium economy options (for example, British Airways premium economy offers noise-canceling headphones while SAS just gives out the standard disposable ones), and it can’t compare to business since the seat doesn’t lie flat, but when the price is right, SAS Plus' lounges, speedy check-in and boarding, and food/beverages make the extra cost over economy worth it.
The booking process with SAS is straightforward, clearly differentiating between regular economy (SAS Go), premium economy (SAS Plus), and Business Class. The SAS Plus experience at the airport is seamless, with separate check-in lines for premium economy, and its priority luggage service is ideal after a long flight.