SAS Announces First A350 Routes

Filed Under: SAS

Over the past few years we’ve seen quite a few airlines add the A350 to their fleet, and it has been popular with both airlines and passengers. The airplane is fuel efficient and can fly long distances, and as a passenger it’s also a joy to fly, thanks to the spacious and quiet cabin.

Today another airline has announced their plans for introducing service with this plane.

Scandinavian Airlines A350 routes

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has eight A350-900s on order, and the first plane will be entering long haul service in January 2020.

The airline will take delivery of the plane in late 2019, and will do some familiarization flights with it, so you can expect they’ll fly it regionally. Then as of January 28, 2020, SAS will fly the A350 daily between Copenhagen and Chicago, marking the plane’s official entrance into long haul service.

The Chicago flight operates daily with the following schedule:

SK943 Copenhagen to Chicago departing 3:40PM arriving 6:10PM
SK944 Chicago to Copenhagen departing 10:05PM arriving 1:20PM (+1 day)

SAS plans to base their A350s in Copenhagen, and says that within the first year the plane will operate seven routes, including to Chicago, Beijing, New York, Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and San Francisco.

The schedules for the remaining destinations haven’t yet been revealed, but rather as of now only details have been announced for Chicago.

I’m a little confused in general by SAS’ aggressive plans. It’s my understanding that they’ll only get a few of these A350s within the first year, so it sounds like they’ll only be operating the A350 on most of those routes a couple of days a week, or otherwise seasonally.

Scandinavian Airlines A350 configuration

SAS’ A350-900s will feature a total of 300 seats, including 40 business class seats, 32 premium economy seats, and 228 economy seats.

SAS hasn’t revealed much about what we should expect onboard, though has said that the A350 will be equipped with “unique SAS features, carefully developed from feedback given from travelers.” The airline will reveal more details of this before the year is up.

It doesn’t sound to me like SAS plans to introduce a new business class product on the plane. The airline currently has Vantage XL seats on their A330s, which are solid business class seats.

SAS’ A330 business class

I guess we’ll find out soon for sure.

Redeeming miles for SAS’ A350 business class

In general SAS is an airline that’s really inconsistent with award availability — sometimes they’re horrible about making award seats available, and sometimes they aren’t. I guess this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but award availability is wide open in business class between Chicago and Copenhagen in winter, so there are plenty of options for redeeming miles.

For example, here’s a calendar view of dates with business class awards from Copenhagen to Chicago:

If you want to redeem miles for these flights between the US and Europe in business class, here are a few options to consider:

  • Air Canada Aeroplan charges 55,000 miles one-way
  • Avianca LifeMiles charges 63,000 miles one-way
  • United MileagePlus charges 70,000 miles one-way

In all three cases there are no carrier imposed surcharges.

Bottom line

It’s exciting to see SAS refresh their fleet with some new A350s, and it’s especially cool to see a US city being the first one to get the new plane. Now we’ll just have to wait and see what kind of an onboard product SAS chooses for the plane.

Do you think SAS will introduce a new business class on their A350s?

Comments
  1. For Scandinavian people: if you have the SEB SAS premium Mastercard you can get unlimited business class award tickets with SAS for 60000 miles roundtrip or 36000 one way to both the US and Asia, which is extremely cheap.

  2. Too bad they’re not starting in Seattle with its Scandinavian immigrant heritage. I’d like another direct flight option to Europe without British Air fees.

  3. Considering they already have the Vantage XL seat, could it possibly be a SAS version of the Delta One suite? They basically just have to add doors…

  4. Ugh, really SAS? Our route is ARN-ORD between our families (we are LHR-based) and sometimes out to LAX so I guess we have a few more years on the 330s.

    Be interesting to see if any 350 changes (soft or hard) flow through to the rest of the LH fleet as SK sometimes comes up with some pretty neat ideas that are at least differentiating from the rest of the airline pack. We do like their PE (Plus) service a lot, and even paid business comes in quite reasonable if you are flying during non-business peak, such as mid-July to August during the Swedish summer.

  5. Yay I’m booked on the first flight, so curious since I was part of the focus group for SAS when they evaluated the 330 to see if anything captured in the meeting actually made it in to the new cabin.

  6. Sounds great. Does anyone agree with me that SAS should put a special livery on their new A350’s when they come. It should be like Icelandair’s special liveries showcasing the beauty of the country. It would look great in my opinion.
    Just a thought.

  7. @Rico – it’s British Airways never British Air

    And several airlines fly from Seattle to non UK destinations in Europe including Aer Lingus, Air France and Lufthansa

  8. @Lucky Meanwhile JAL has just received its first A350, and to be used only for domestic routes!

  9. Any previous knowledge (from similar introductions) of how soon the familiarization flights are detectable in Expertflyer? I guess it would be put into traffic between CPH, ARN and OSL for a month or two – and it would be nice to jump on a small triangle flight between the cities to test out their new product.

  10. SAS is rumoured to be changing their livery with the arrival of the A350. And for sure, if one zooms in on the engines in the photo, they are blue…

  11. The best redemption the USA to CPH routes is actually on Miles and More. Yes, I was shocked too, but I booked and last December flew IAD-CPH for 52,000 miles and $5.60.

  12. @ChrisFlyer

    Airlines get 30 days notice of delivery to them. After which the airline will carry out it’s own checks on the plane re faults etc before putting into any sort of service.

    BA will be doing their A350 familiarisation flights from LHR to MAD to start at some point in August but they havn’t actually loaded the A350 into the booking engine

    I would assume SAS would do something similar.

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