Are SAS days numbered? How much worse can things get? Buyout on the way?

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Long time readers will know I have a bit of an affinity for all things Scandinavian, Swedish especially. I have such grand memories of flying SAS when I was young. It was like being instantly transported to Sweden as soon as I got on the plane as all the FA’s started speaking Swedish to me.  🙂  I smiled and could not wait for them to come back and say ANYTHING to me again. Maybe this is also one of the many reasons I have such love for all things aviation.

Pinnacle Airlines was horribly mismanaged, and then management gave themselves huge bonus payments, and now we are seeing a smaller airline in the end (under Delta ownership we hope a viable one).

SAS, Star Alliance member, was 10 days away from running out of money. Would bankruptcy have been next? It seemed so but could have been much worse. And even now, there is much talk about wanting to sell the airline but who wants to buy them?

Following the well established pattern of making sure the key personal, who have been running SAS into the ground for years, must be rewarded with HUGE bonus deals to keep them in place. That is just brilliant. Keep the key people who got you where you are now.

The news is out that more jobs will be eliminated and further cuts to salaries to try to reduce the continuing loss for the airline. Considering the shape of the European economy, and the fact that SAS has not focused on lucrative routes but is competing in the Ryan Air markets, I doubt SAS will be able to ever make money and will only stay in the air as long as the Scandinavian governments continue to pour money in (that they seem happy to do for now). And now-a-days they even have to put up with drunks running late, so they fake a bomb scare to make the flight!

Have you ever flown SAS in the past or recently? Do you like the service, the product, the airline? I would love to know. – René

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  1. I’ve always wanted to fly them but their network is quite useless to me, especially now that it is quite easy to get from the LAX to Iceland (the one SAS destination I was interested in) in just one stop, instead of three with the rapid expansion of Icelandair.

    Maybe it’s time for SAS to steal some staff from Norwegian or FI,

  2. I love Sweden as you do.
    Shocked if SAS goes under.
    I have booked flights in the fall. Time will tell.
    For *A we have no other Scandi based airline 🙁

  3. I flew SAS on a return flight from Geneva to Copenhagen and back about 3 or 4 years ago. I was really disappointed as I expected great service, like I get with Swiss, but meals were for purchase and there wasn’t anything especially good about it.

    It is however one of those airlines everybody knows about and if they disappear, it will be a shock like it has been for Swissair in the past…

  4. I flew 4 segments with them in December 2012 (MAN-ARN, ARN-BRU, BRU-OSL, and OSL-FRA). While each was fine and close to on time, it was just another airline (in economy at least). I had a cup of tea on each. I was disappointed that beverages other than coffee and tea had a cost, though I knew the info before I booked. I’d hope that a once quality airline like SAS would have non-alcoholic beverages included in the ticket price.

    The cabin crew were pleasant and efficient. Ground staff were the same. Since my flights were all short I am unsure of any differences in their approach to long-haul.

  5. Looting of companies, especially those in dire financial straights, by senior management voting themselves huge salaries and bonuses and overfunding their separate pension plans never ceases to amaze me.

  6. I’ve been flying them to and from CPH lately (as recent as yesterday) and service is alright. Planes are date, IFE is horrible but prices are cheap. The cheap flights are the only thing that has me flying SAS (as this is for work) instead of Delta. Not to mention I couldn’t even book a flight on Delta.dumb for my last trip, but that’s a story for a different day.

  7. No never flown SAS. I think you should go to the Virgin Isles for some nice time on the beach. Soak up some sun and warmth.

  8. Remembers what happened to Sabena……..?
    Reborn as Brussels Airlines and doing well.
    Perhaps we can see a reborn SAS …..?
    Scandinavian Airlines?

  9. I like the newspapers, but sas is so expensive and my miles almost never post correctly. I never fly them domestically in No anyway.

  10. I’ve flown SAS a few times in 2009 and 2012 from USA to Copenhagen and also within Norway and Sweden. Overall nothing really stood out (used them because they were the cheapest flight at the time and I’m also in Star Alliance.) I’m a star alliance gold member and always had to remind the ground crew that I don’t have to pay for luggage check-in (had to show them on their website a few times.) At an overbooked flight once from LYR to OSL, I had to talk to the supervisor for my seat since there was a realistic chance of me getting bumped off of the flight despite the star alliance gold status (100k with united).
    In addition, it sucks SAS domestic routes in Norway do not count for UA Mileageplus points.
    As for the flights up in the air, it’s fine and no-frills in terms of service… reminds me of domestic flights in the USA.

  11. René, like you I also have sweet SAS memories….

    As a kid (10) travelling with my mother, we were supposed to fly back to AMS from Bergen (on KLM). However, our flight was cancelled. To get us home, they diverted a SAS-747, brand new at the time, early seventies, that was coming from the US on it’s way to Kopenhagen (think about that happening today). We boarded the plane for the 30-40 minutes flight with lots of people having been on the plane, sleeping for many hours, you know how it looks…. But there I was, aboard this huge ‘jumbo-jet’ something I could only dream of at the time! Because I was a young boy they even let me into the cockpit for a few minutes, no problem and hysteria at the time…. later we were picked up by a KL-DC-8 coming from Moscow, that was also diverted…talking about service!).
    Anyway, that short SAS flight made a very strong and lasting impression on me and I will always remember the shiny SAS-747 taxiing in on the small Bergen airport to pick us up… and then we boarded!

    Wow, my friends didn’t believe me when I told them of course…. SAS certainly sparked my love for flying, it would be a shame to see them go…

  12. The Norwegian and Swedish economies appear by way of several factors for now to still be stronger than the US economy. That could change, more so in Sweden than in Norway, but if Norway’s economy takes a plunge it can easily afford fiscal stimulus and tax cuts and the rest of the Nordic economies would recover and the Eurozone would probably see a drop in energy prices, helping with economic recovery.

    For years now, SAS’s underperformed in getting its financial house in order even before the Eurozone showed as many signs of illness as it currently does. Can’t imagine that SAS’s handing out more toys per infant and young child pax than any North American carrier or most every European carrier (except perhaps Aeroflot) is making or breaking SAS.

    SAS has come down from being a legendary international carrier with a major global footprint to being a shadow of its former self on the global stage. Increased globalization works for some firms better than it does for others, and SAS is one of those struggling still.

  13. “will only stay in the air as long as the Scandinavian governments continue to pour money in (that they seem happy to do for now).”

    That has been illegal for over 15 years now…

  14. One of the few uses of Aeroplan points that doesn’t incur fuel scamcharges, so I’d be sorry to see it go. Flew OSL-EWR in J last summer and it was fine, angled lie-flats but good service.

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