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It's a world's first! Just wait to hear what exactly "it" is...
(Same-sex) Love is in the air this winter aboard SAS. The Scandinavian airline is hoping to host the world’s first same-sex wedding in the air aboard one of their A340s between Stockholm and New York on December 6. To find the lucky couple for the mid-air nuptials, the longtime gay-friendly airline is launching a major social media contest campaign titled “Love is in the air.” Cute. Not fierce. But cute.
The airline has partnered with VisitSweden and Stockholm Gay & Lesbian Network to offer one European couple and one American couple the chance to get married aboard SAS flights and honeymoon packages—the European couple be married aboard the outbound flight to the U.S. and will get to vacation there, and the American couple will be feted on the way back to Sweden.
Airport Lounges / Photo Gallery / EWR / Lufthansa / Business Class / SAS Airlines / Airports / → All Tags
It feels like just yesterday that we were lifting off of the runway onboard the First Flight of Lufthansa's New A380, even if it was a couple weeks ago. Still, before we flew from Hamburg down to Frankfurt on the A380, we had to get to Germany in the first place, and we managed to peek in at the SAS Business Lounge at Newark-Liberty International Airport, which Lufthansa shares, before a direct to Deutschland.
Although the SAS Lounge is of a nice size, you will find every seat filled (and some people standing) before the first evening flights leave, due to the fact that this lounge can be accessed by Business and elite members flying on SAS, Lufthansa, Air India, Continental, United, and all other Star Alliance airlines. For example, passengers of LOT Polish Airlines will mingle with those setting out on Swiss, and it does get noisy.
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Who wants to go to Stockholm, Sweden or Oslo, Norway for under $300 roundtrip? We'll be the first to raise our hand, and the start-up Scandinavian low-cost carrier Feel Air is hoping you will too, since they plan to launch direct flight between New York and Stockholm and Oslo, and also Bangkok to Stockholm and Oslo, in spring 2010.
Right now, the Feel Air website is skint on information, but there is this promising statement: "All the initial routes are set and approved, we will disclose the launch date and fares when ticket sales open later." A quick search through some Scandinavian press however reveals that the airline plans to fly two Airbus A330-200s on the routes, focusing heavily on the New York-JFK end of it (yippee!) and offering roundtrip, taxes-included fares starting from $260.
What the $260 will get you, after the jump.
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SAS Airlines has joined the growing list of airlines allowing customers to check in with paperless 2D bar codes stored on their mobile. Passengers can have the boarding passes delivered either by SMS or via the SAS mobile site. The service will be available on domestic flights within Scandinavia and Finland, Intra Scandinavian flights, flights to Europe and Asia, and even some flights back from Europe:
SAS Scandinavian Airlines is now offering its passengers the convenience of mobile boarding passes. This means SAS customers can now travel using only their mobile phone and with an ID card/passport... The mobile boarding pass contains a 2D bar code that can be read electronically at the airport. The 2D bar code can be used to get baggage tags from the SAS Self Service kiosks, at security screening, duty-free shopping, entering SAS lounges and when boarding.
Those innovative Scandinavians have struck again. SAS Airlines had a great idea for saving fuel, dollars and the environment by flying a little slower and now they have a new plan: the gliding landing method.
SAS has figured out a way for pilots to let the plane do most of the landing by itself, gliding via an optimum route mapped out by satellite. They figure it will save about 100kg of fuel if a twin-engined jet lands this way, which is cheaper for the airline and better for the environment.
Now, we're certainly not qualified pilots ourselves, but we do like to fly around in planes, and we're not 100% sure that we want to know our plane is simply being left to glide down to landing. The SAS peeps are about to try it out for real but have only done it on a simulator so far; they do admit that the technique would probably be best for "quieter airports" so we won't be gliding into London-Heathrow any time soon.
· New Gliding Landing Method for Planes to Slash Fuel Consumption [The Age]
· Scandinavian Alternative to Nasty Baggage Fees [Jaunted]
Up in Scandinavia, SAS Airlines have been known to pull some quirky marketing maneuvers in the past, and their latest idea for educating travelers all about using the SAS "mobile travel solutions" is to create a romantic comic strip.
Enter Love At First Flight, the SAS creation which follows the blossoming romance between James and Sophie, who meet, of course, on an SAS flight between London and Stockholm. The magazine-style comic looks nice, but includes spectacularly unromantic lines like, "It's OK, take your time, SAS have just alerted me that the departure time's changed".
Cheesy it may be, yet this comic is very readable and still tells you all about checking in via cell phone, looking up flight changes online and using frequent flyer points in the digital age. If you want to know whether James and Sophie end up together, you'll have to check out SAS's comic for yourself here.
Passengers who fly into the hip Swedish capital Stockholm during March and April will be given a Stockholm City Card for nix, which will mean transfers from the airport into the city are free, so is travel for at least 24 hours, and there are a bunch of sightseeing discounts attached too.
Usually the card costs around $45, so for a marketing gimmick, we actually like this one. We used to think SAS was a bit pricey, but a quick surf found us London to Stockholm flights for under $70 for March. Of course, with 3,000 staff on their way out, the question is whether or not there'll be any flight attendants left to serve you on your next SAS flight.
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Just as United announced that they would be getting rid of their India complaint call center in favor of keeping the jobs here in the States, other airlines have spoiled the fun by adding to the economic blow with more layoffs of their own.
According to the travel man himself, Peter Greenberg, the impact is widespread and includes US Airways, British Airways, American Airlines, United, Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic and even SAS Scandinavian Airlines. Joining the rest of us in the unemployment line will sadly be 233 from US Airways, 1,000 at United, 600 at Virgin and 800 at RyanAir, and a scarily hefty exodus of 3,000 from SAS.
There go our fantasies of being a flight attendant. In fact, who knows how this will affect the flight crew and reservation agents with seniority, as they often reap the nice paychecks that the airlines are looking to keep. Since deeper flight discounts only mean more trouble for the airlines, even though they put paying flyers into empty seats, the trend will obviously be going nowhere but downward.
· US Airways, Virgin, Other Airlines Laying Off Thousands [Peter Greenberg]
· United Will No Longer Listen to Your Phone Rants [Jaunted]
· Airline News coverage [Jaunted]
Apparently it's not just airline passengers getting slapped with criminal charges these days. Former SAS cargo executive Timothy Pfeil is turning state's in an investigation into a conspiracy by airlines to violate antitrust rules. A plea agreement will have him serve six months in exchange for help in further investigations into how numerous airlines illegally worked together to fix prices on air cargo.
He's not the first executive to face prison time, either. In May, former Qantas cargo VP Bruce McCaffrey pleaded guilty and was sentenced to eight months for price fixing.
Whole airlines, too, have been snagged by the Feds in the conspiracy investigation, among them British Airways, Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Air France-KLM.
Lesson learned: Don't let anyone tell you these companies aren't at least a little bit shady!
From those clever Scandinavians who pioneered slow flying instead of adding extra fees for passengers comes another innovative idea: an airline website specifically for gay customers.
SAS Airlines has just launched its LGBT site which includes tips from its own gay crew members on good places to hang out in (so far) Copenhagen and Stockholm.
SAS is a major player in the World Out Games being held next year in Copenhagen, and it's also promoting the Stockholm tenth anniversary Pride Parade coming up later this month. We are definitely starting to look to SAS as trend-setters.
Those Scandinavians are smart people, and at the moment they've got a much better strategy for dealing with rising fuel costs than the ol' add-a-new-fee system being wholeheartedly embraced by a bunch of airlines.
At SAS they've just published the results of their "slow flying" strategy, where they reduced the cruising speeds on their flights by about 80 kilometers per hour. In the last year and a half, this simple idea has saved them $12 million in fuel costs--and barely a single passenger noticed. A domestic flight up Norway at the slower speed takes just three minutes longer; it's a ten minute difference if you fly from the top of Norway all the way to Paris.
Going a tiny bit slower sounds a whole lot nicer than getting charged $15 for your suitcase, doesn't it? Problem is you have to be flying in or out of Scandinavia to take advantage of this trick.
In the tradition of curious Scandinavian airline marketing--we're thinking of Finnair's creepy panda--SAS Scandinavian Airlines is launching a new, multilingual marketing campaign.
The whole thing centers on using local languages in English-language advertising. The reasoning is, according to one of SAS's general managers, that
the Scandinavian languages, like the region's sleek, stylish designs, reflect the real essence of what makes this vast northern region so unique.
Yeah. Unique--or really difficult to understand. The meant-to-be-eye-catching ads use words like Bättre (it means better) and Störst (which, of course, means largest). We're not sure if these words are sleek and stylish or just unusual. Would you really buy a ticket on SAS just for the umlauts?