I'm just back from another summer Eurotrip and it was a great one. My girlfriend and I visited Stockholm, Sweden, Copenhagen, Denmark, and Lisbon, Portugal. I recommend all three, but perhaps not all in one trip. Let's get into the flights! First up, our flight to Sweden, where we started our trip.
Los Angeles (LAX) - Stockholm (ARN)
Monday, May 22nd
Arrive: 10:44am +1 day
Duration: 10hr 45min & 5,505 miles
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Seat: 4D Business Class
Points Redeemed: 55,000 Amex Membership Rewards transferred to Aeroplan
Points Accrued primarily from spending and signup bonuses on the following credit cards:
- American Express Platinum Card
- American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
- American Express Business Gold Card
- American Express Everyday Card
A direct flight to Europe in long-haul business class from a west coast hub airport is difficult to come by in the summer, but after a few weeks of searching I scored two tickets with SAS. I had heard mixed reviews, but it was generally agreed upon that their hard product was solid. I can agree upon exactly that: their product was very hard and very "solid."
We started with a visit to the Star Alliance lounge in the LAX Intl terminal. I had been before, though never during the day oddly enough, so we didn't spend much time there, just enough for a quick bite, a smoothie, a breath of fresh, jet-exhaust air on the sky deck, and a drink.
We then headed to our gate, which was a remote stand, so rather we headed to a bus stop and then joined the madness that was boarding the buses we would then take to our plane on the far west side of LAX. Once we got there, we queued up to enter the plane but the door to the jet bridge was closed so we stood in a strange indoor/outdoor concrete room for about 10 minutes until someone opened it.
After we got on board, all order was restored. I found the cabin to be very well designed in the typical, sleek Scandinavian style.
Comfort: The seat is comfortable for sitting and lounging, but when it came time to sleep, it felt like what it most likely is: a metal frame wrapped in high density foam with a firmness adjustable airbag on top of it. The issue with my seat was that when I tried to sleep, because I am 6'5", I couldn't lay on my back so I had to curl up on my side and in doing so, my hip bone pushed all the air in the seat to the side such that I could feel the hard foam underneath which was fairly uncomfortable. Still, better than economy.
Storage: There was a good amount of storage for personal items like phone, wallet, headphones (though the ones they provided stayed on the hook the whole flight), a small camera, and a cord or two, but things like a laptop or backpack had no place, so I had to put them in the overhead bin, which is a bit annoying for me as I often use a number of different things, including my laptop, on long flights.
Space: The space was nice. It didn't feel crammed or claustrophobic, but did feel private. My girlfriend and I sat together in the middle section and were able to talk with relative ease throughout the flight. This can sometimes be difficult in certain configurations, like a reverse herringbone on Cathay Pacific or American. Lastly, the footwell was large and I could fit the pillow and blanket in it before I used them to try and sleep.
The Meal Service
I found the food to be quite good in taste. Presentation of the main course could have used a bit of work, but overall it was a very enjoyable meal. On airlines where the service isn't the highlight as it is on Turkish Airlines or Austrian, many Asian Carriers, or United (joke), I prefer it to be completed as quickly as possible and that did seem to happen on this flight.
SAS offers a stylish, comfortable business class product to cross the Atlantic. With decent food, efficient service and simple amenities, it doesn't compete with airlines like Turkish, TAP's new business class, or Austrian, but it was still an excellent use of 55,000 amex points that I would redeem again.
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