SAS Airbus A330 parked at the gate at Newark International. The nose of the aircraft is in full vie.

SAS premium economy offers solid transatlantic option on A330

Cartoon of passengers, flight attendant and pilots onboard an aircraftJoining the Flightradar24 team for a holiday celebration in Stockholm, Sweden has become an annual tradition that I look forward to every year. With Norwegian longhaul no longer a thing, and Delta charging very high fares from New York, I now inevitably end up booking SAS to Stockholm due to the carrier’s low fares.

I have flown SAS on the Newark-Stockholm route a number of times so I have a very good idea of what to expect. Even so, SAS pulled a few tricks out of its hat this year, which kept things interesting.

Just days before my departure, SAS released a totally new app for iOS. Historically, the SAS app has been one of the least useful, least featured apps of the major carriers I’ve flown. SAS’ new iOS app, however, offers a totally new and visually appealing design, and handles many of the common functions that are expected of the majors, including check-in, seat assignment and flight information.

Thankfully I didn’t experience any flight disruptions this year, but if I had, I reckon I would have been in better hands with this more capable app.

Screenshot of an update from the SAS app. This page is displaying the boarding pass from ARN to EWR.

The SAS app provided me with a mobile boarding pass for departure, but my SAS Plus premium economy ticket apparently did not come with priority security at Newark or even PreCheck for some reason. Terminal B is an unpleasant terminal. The security screening area was hot and stuffy, but the lines moved along well enough.

A line of passengers, waiting to be processed at the TSA checkpointThe SAS lounge was its typical level of overcrowded, with not so much as a spare seat available before both of the airline’s flights boarded. A single pan of lasagna — which seems to be a staple of the SAS lounge at Newark — was quickly consumed as it was the only hot food option available.

The lasagna in the SAS Newark lounge. Two pans of the pasta are flanked by rolls and dishes.

Although SAS went through a rough pilot strike and bankruptcy proceedings in the year since my last flight, the onboard product and service was mostly unchanged but with a key exception.

The same fairly comfy SAS Plus seat was available on the Airbus A330, though of course I am always disappointed when an aircraft doesn’t have overhead air gaspers.

SAS’ major weak point in my eyes has always been its abysmal inflight entertainment offerings. Despite being equipped with a fairly modern Safran RAVE system, SAS has traditionally loaded so little content that I struggle to find anything to watch. Last year, for example, the airline loaded just 38 movies, and even fewer in English, plus a random selection of single episodes of TV shows.

This year, however, SAS had 77 movies loaded, and 64 offered in the English language. That beats SAS’ pre-pandemic, 2019 content selection of 61 movies. SAS even had some entire seasons of TV shows, including all ten episodes of HBO Max’s Peacemaker.

For the first time on SAS, I didn’t have to dip into my emergency iPad reserve of content.

Seatback IFE screen is showing the content selection for SAS passengers.

While SAS has finally upped its content game, some of the content was difficult to watch due to a fairly absurd level of editing for content and even time.

Much like watching a movie on basic cable in the 1990s, some of the movies had laughably bad dubbing over naughty words and even some entire scenes removed due to content.


And why on earth would an airline edit content for time? I simply cannot fathom. Meanwhile, Peacemaker was presented without any editing at all, leaving in all verbal content and even nudity. Go figure.

SAS offers free inflight Internet to passengers traveling in its premium classes — SAS Plus premium economy or business. The Panasonic eXConnect system offered a reasonable download speed of 5.91 Mbps. Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi conked out after the first two hours and never came back on. But I didn’t terribly mind, given that this was a red-eye. The Wi-Fi worked fine for the return.

My flight from Newark to Stockholm featured a rather pokey dinner service, though it was not the slowest I’ve encountered. While the meal was tasty enough, I found the choice of chicken or pasta with an appetizer of more pasta to be very odd indeed.

The return flight featured a lasagna bolognese dish served with a more appropriate fish and veggie appetizer, while the pre-arrival snack dish of some rather dry meat and a very sad salad left something to be desired.

Inflight lasagna meal displayed on the aircraft tray table with some other snacks and a desert.

In fact, I asked the cabin crew for the snack distributed in economy and found the cheese thinbread roll to be a higher quality option.

With a totally refreshed mobile app, free Wi-Fi in premium cabins, and a consistent inflight product, SAS brings a solid transatlantic option to the table. There is, of course, room for some improvement such as adding more entertainment content, but the bones of a very good experience are there.

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All images credited to the author, Jason Rabinowitz