- SAS Scandinavian Airlines became the latest airline to fly the Airbus A350-900 XWB in January 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Most travelers didn't get to experience the aircraft at the time but Europe is now reopening to tourists and SAS is once more deploying the aircraft on transatlantic routes.
- The aircraft welcomes travelers with a modern interior with passenger-friendly enhancements at every seat.
- See more stories on Insider's business page.
More of Europe is opening to Americans just in time for the summer travel season, and airlines are among the most excited as it means getting more flyers onboard planes.
SAS Scandinavian Airlines, the flag carrier of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, is welcoming back tourists onboard its newest long-haul aircraft, the Airbus A350-900 XWB.
It’s the newest long-haul aircraft in SAS’ fleet intended to help the airline meet strict carbon requirements, including reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 50% by 2050. But fuel efficiency aside, the A350 offers numerous upgrades in the passenger cabin for flyers to enjoy.
SAS first took delivery of this aircraft in February 2020 but most flyers didn’t have the chance to experience the aircraft. This summer, however, will see the US cities of Newark, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago receive the aircraft with service to Oslo, Norway, and Copenhagen, Denmark.
Take a look onboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ new Airbus A350-900 XWB.
The first 10 rows of the aircraft are home to the aircraft’s exclusive business class cabin.
A total of 40 seats are spread across two sections, with seats arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration that’s standard for the A350.
The cabin consists of earthy colors indicative of Scandinavia. One of the goals of any flag carrier is to immerse travelers in the style of the airline’s home country as soon as they step onboard.
There are three distinct types of seats in this cabin, all with direct aisle access. The first type is the true window seat along the cabin wall.
This type of seat is ideal for the solo traveler that’s seeking privacy. While every seat along the cabin wall has direct window access, the seats in odd rows are situated away from the aisle and right up against the cabin wall for increased privacy, especially while sleeping.
Each window seat has two dedicated windows for maximum gazing opportunities.
But for a different kind of entertainment, all seats in the cabin offer an 18.5-inch in-flight entertainment system with movies, television shows, and a moving map.
The system can be controlled via touch or this sleek tethered remote. A unique feature of the remote is that it displays the flight progress at the top.
Other seat amenities include a 110V AC power outlet and USB charging port…
Personal reading lamp…
And foldable tray table.
The tray table extends from the console and can be folded to hold drinks and small snacks in between meal times. The edge is also curved.
The other type of seat along the cabin wall is the aisle seat. True to its name, this seat is closer to the aisle and ideal if traveling with a companion seated across the aisle.
The center aisle is then comprised of paired seats, also known as “honeymoon” seats as they’re ideal for couples traveling together.
Honeymoon seats don’t have partitions to separate the pairs in the event that a seat neighbor is a stranger. But the seat walls are large enough to create the feeling of privacy.
All seats are fully lie-flat and two sets of controls are available, one that’s easily accessible when sitting upright and another for when it’s in lie-flat mode.
A pillow and comforter kit is also left on each seat, accompanied by an amenity kit, for a more enjoyable sleeping experience.
The first thing I noticed about the seats is that they are massive and offer extra room to stretch out, especially when in lie-flat mode.
A common complaint about lie-flat seats is that they are too tight and don’t give any room to maneuver. Complementing the wide seat is a wide footwell, which comes in handy when tossing and turning at night.
While the first eight rows of business class are in a cabin of their own, there is a small two-row section in an exclusive cabin between the second boarding door and the premium economy class cabin.
However, not all flyers prefer this section because of its proximity to the premium economy and economy cabins located directly behind.
One perk of sitting in the first row of either of the business class cabins is a small closet that the other seats do not have. It can be used to store a bag or purse.
The premium economy cabin, known as SAS Plus, is then located directly behind business class, with four rows and 32 seats in total.
This cabin is arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration and features extra-legroom recliner seats with 38 inches of pitch and 18.8 inches of width.
Solo travelers, couples, or window-seat enthusiasts might prefer the two-seat pairs along the cabin wall while larger groups may be better situated in the center-aisle seats.
Each seat has a 13.3-inch in-flight entertainment system that nearly takes up the entire seat-back.
Other seat amenities include a foldable tray table…
In-seat power via 110vAC power outlets…
A footrest and leg rest.
The remaining 228 seats are located in economy class, known as “SAS Go.”
Economy class is spread across two cabins across 26 rows in a 3-3-3 configuration.
Frequent SAS long-haul flyers should immediately spot the difference in this cabin compared to the Airbus A330 and A340 fleet: there are more middle seats on the A350.
Seats in the cabin offer between 31 and 32 inches of pitch along with 17 inches of width. Pillow and blanket kits are also left on each seat.
There are no extra-legroom sections in economy but the first rows of each cabin do provide additional legroom.
Such seats include bulkhead seats or exit row seats.
But the seat with the most legroom is actually a standard economy seat, 41A. There’s no seat in front of it so a flyer in that seat can have the best of both worlds, the views from the window and the access to the aisle.
The rear galley then houses a buy-on-board marketplace where economy flyers can be items like snacks or alcohol. This is unique to SAS and the airline worked with Airbus to have it installed.
All seats feature a 10.1-inch in-flight entertainment system with the same content as in the other two cabins.
In-seat power is offered through charging ports located on the screens. There are no 110v AC power outlets in economy.
These seats also include a folding tray table, except that these fold horizontally.
Large seat-back pockets are also available for small storage.
In the front of the economy class cabin are also screens that show the moving map so flyers can also be aware of where their airplane is flying over.
Finally, the business end of the A350 is its cockpit where large high-definition displays aid pilots in flying the aircraft.
Beyond just the swanky seats, the A350 offers passengers unseen amenities such as lower cabin altitudes and mood lighting to help ease the burden of a long journey.
SAS will be flying the Airbus A350 between North America and Scandinavia all summer long, offering connections to mainland Europe through its hubs in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.