Excellent on-time performance: few delays at SAS
History and recent development
SAS, short for Scandinavian Airlines (formerly Scandinavian Airlines System), is the most important and largest air carrier in the Scandinavian region, which includes Denmark, Sweden and Norway. It is also Europe's ninth-largest air carrier. SAS was founded as a consortium of Det Danske Luftfartselskab, Svensk Interkontinental Lufttrafik and Det Norske Luftfartselskap in 1946; a number of other European and national cooperations were introduced to the consortium two years later. All of these airlines eventually merged to form SAS in 1951. SAS was a pioneer in initiating scheduled flights over a polar route from Copenhagen to Los Angeles in 1954; a travel route that became extraordinarily popular during the 1950s, especially among Hollywood celebrities. With the first Caravelle jet in service from 1959 on, SAS had entered the jet era. The first Boeing 747 was introduced to the SAS fleet in 1971. After SAS continued to grow over the years, it encountered financial difficulties with the beginning of low-cost air carriers on the market. The airline sold its shares in British Midland, AirBaltic and Spanair and undertook a reorganization of its operations. In 2012, it was announced that SAS planned to cut the wages of their personnel by 25%. SAS revenues amounted to 25.9 billion Swedish Krona in that year.
SAS has three main hubs, one in each Scandinavian country: Kopenhagen-Kastrup (CPH), Oslo-Gardermoen (OSL) and Stockholm-Arlanda (ARN), where the airline’s headquarter is located. From these hubs, it serves numerous airports in Europe, such as Frankfurt (FRA), Rome (FCO), London-Heathrow (LHR) and Paris (CDG). SAS also serves international destinations in Asia and North America, among them Tokyo (NRT), Bangkok (BKK), Chicago (ORD) and New York (JFK). The airline covers a total of 90 destinations worldwide and offers its own bonus program for frequent travellers, SAS EuroBonus. It is also one of the main founding members of the Star Alliance. Comprised of 159 aircrafts, SAS operates a fleet of predominantly Boeing manufactured planes, but there are 35 and counting Airbus aircrafts as well. Recently, SAS has ordered 44 new Airbus planes, among which include 30 of the new A320neo to be delivered starting as early as 2016. The average fleet age is 12.5 years.
Services and quality of service
SAS is rated a three-star airline on SKYTRAX, performing slightly better on long-haul connections in business class with 3.5 stars. Critical voices state that SAS has a lot of hidden charges for minor services, which ultimately heightens the price of the flight substantially. The food is viewed as average, but not outstanding. Many passengers note that the cabin condition was rather poor and, like the in-flight entertainment, seemed worn and dated with the latter not working properly. Opinions differ somewhat concerning the friendliness of staff and general service offered by SAS. While some saw the airline's charm as its main asset given the poor condition of the aircrafts and the only fair quality of food, others described the treatment by the cabin crew as impolite.
No hassle with SAS concerning delays
With a solid on-time performance of 90%, SAS was awarded the 2011 flightstats-Service Award for few delays and cancellations. In the case of a delay, most of the flights were delayed by less than 30 minutes, with very few being 45 minutes or more (5%). Also, cancellations are the exception to the rule, the rate of cancelled or diverted flights being under 1% in the period from August to October 2013. Quite in line with this rating on FlightStats, passenger reviews hardly mention delays or cancellations in their ratings of the airline, and there are no specific shortcomings mentioned concerning the service and handling in case of a delayed or cancelled flight.
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