I’ve always wanted to try SAS, which is a Swedish airline operating hubs out of Stockholm, Oslo, and Copenhagen. They have a solid business class hard product (with a seat similar to Swiss’ business class product), and they offer free WiFi to their business class and premium economy passengers. While free WiFi for all passengers may cause bandwidth issues (leading to extremely slow WiFi), it’s always a nice gesture when an airline offers free WiFi to their premium passengers, especially when some of these passengers have paid 4-5 times the price of an economy seat just to experience a better product.
SAS launched a route from Stockholm to Hong Kong on their A330 in 2015, but from October 28, 2018, SAS will move their Hong Kong flight from Stockholm to Copenhagen. Passengers booked on flights beyond then will be rebooked to connect through Copenhagen instead of Stockholm.
According to Airlineroute, the new schedule for the flight will run five times per week (it won’t fly on Wednesday and Thursday from Hong Kong, and Monday and Tuesday from Stockholm), as follows:
SAS 966 Hong Kong to Copenhagen dep. 01:20 arr. 06:20
SAS 966 Hong Kong to Copenhagen dep. 01:35 arr 06:35 (Monday)
SAS 965 Copenhagen to Hong Kong dep. 20:55 arr. 14:45
SAS will also be switching their aircraft from an A330 to an A340. The A340 features 40 business class seats, 28 premium economy seats, and 179 economy class seats, which represents an 8-seat increase for business class, a 28-seat decrease for premium economy, and a 5-seat increase for economy. The A340 features a much smaller premium economy cabin, but also features more business class seats, so overall there will be a capacity decrease on the route. However, the A340 also has two extra engines that make the aircraft much more of a gas guzzler.
As seen from the schedule above, SAS’ A340 will also be sitting in Hong Kong for 13 hours before making its way back to Copenhagen. This is a change from SAS’ current flight, which sits on the ground for two hours. I’m not sure why that is – both schedules allow for pretty good connecting opportunities on the Scandinavian end, and I doubt there’s that much of a slot restriction cause (since SAS operates hubs from both airports anyway). While the new Copenhagen schedule is great for travelers (since passengers will get some rest on both flights), I doubt it’s going to be very profitable for the airline.
This complements Cathay Pacific’s seasonal service to Copenhagen, which launched this May on an A350. Now there’ll be competition on the route, but I assume the reason behind the change was a lack of demand for the Stockholm-Hong Kong flight anyway.
If you’re flying direct between Stockholm and Hong Kong after October 28th, this might be a change to be cautious about, as you’ll now have to connect through Copenhagen. Otherwise the changes are minimal; the hard product is the same in all classes, and if you’re seated in premium economy on an A330 you might even get upgraded, due to the number of premium economy seats being reduced by half.
There are only two distinct “losers” here. The first is the airline, since their A340 will be sitting in Hong Kong for quite a number of hours, though I’m guessing this was a cautious decision (since their current schedule allows the aircraft to sit in Hong Kong for a couple of hours, so clearly there was a reason why they decided to move away from that). The second is the number of premium economy passengers that have potentially been downgraded to economy due to the huge reduction of premium economy seats, though hopefully those passengers will be reimbursed.
Are you affected by this new schedule change?