JONAS
Jonas Rask Eilersen
SAS Scandinavian A330-300 Business Class
Chicago O'Hare to Stockholm Arlanda, Airbus A330-300 Business Class
22nd September 2015

The sole operator of daily flights including Chicago-Stockholm, and Chicago-Copenhagen. A convenient departure time of 1625, and an arrival time into Stockholm the following day at 0750 allows for plenty of connections on to locations all over the world. We hopped onto one of SAS’s last “old business class A330s” (now obsolete as the all Airbus 330s in SAS’ fleet have just been fully refurbished) intercontinental business class. Read on!

Check In
I arrived on a United Airlines flight from Atlanta, so was already in transit. Transiting at O’Hare is a complicated affair and I won’t try to explain it all here – but suffice to say, I would not recommend transiting here if you can avoid it. One saving grace: as I’d come off a domestic flight, my bags were sent directly onto my SAS flight to Stockholm. I’d received my boarding passes for all flights at Atlanta. I did not receive a lounge invitation.
The Lounge
Even without the invitation, I of course had access to the lounge. However, a quick glance at the SAS Business Lounge here at O'Hare showed it to be nothing too fancy – the décor of blonde wood, blue-covered chairs and sofas were in line with the typical SAS style, but hardly screamed luxury travel. Free wifi was available, but the choice of snacks and drinks was disappointing. Would the flight be any different?
Boarding
Boarding calls were made in the lounge and most other passengers had already boarded by the time I got to the gate (a mere minute or so from the lounge).
Service from here on was impeccable – starting with a friendly welcome from the Danish-speaking gate supervisor.
At the gate, I was quickly identified as a business class passenger and wished a nice flight. At the aircraft door, I was again greeted courteously and shown to my seat.
The Cabin, Seat and Service
The cabin itself was clean and bright, but the armrests on most seats were torn –no surprise there, as most of SAS’ widebodies are now about ten years old. There was a great selection of high quality magazines and international newspapers offered for passengers to kick back with and have a nose through. Noise-cancelling headphones were provided, as well as a stylish comfort kit containing socks, earplugs, toothbrush and toothpaste, and a lipbalm and moisturiser from the brand Rituals. A duvet was available on demand. The lavatories were squeaky-clean and well-stocked, and had the added bonus (!) of a window.
The seat is absolutely not the flashiest seat in the skies – but it is one of the most comfortable, and comes equipped with an inbuilt massage function.
Food and Drink
I was offered champagne (a delicious 2005 Henriot), juice or water almost immediately after taking my seat.
The meal didn’t go down quite as well though, although the pre-dinner snack of a tuna summer roll was tasty. The first course of proscuitto, mozzarella and grilled vegetables was poorly presented, and still covered in its plastic film (this is something which, thankfully, is being changed with SAS' new business class concept).
For mains, passengers could choose from halibut with pearl couscous, edamame beans, langoustine sauce, beef tenderloin in a red wine sauce with dauphinoise potatoes, roasted vegetables, or parmesan risotto, mushrooms, white asparagus, edamame beans.
I went for the tenderloin but again found it poorly presented and honestly quite tasteless – a disappointment.
The beverage accompaniment was the redeeming feature of the meal. We were recommended a delicious Chilean red, the Falernia Syrah Reserve, followed by “In Plane Sight”, one of the airline’s innovative cocktails, a concoction of Amarula, Cognac and Cointreau. Great for washing down either dessert choice, Ben and Jerry’s vanilla ice cream or a dulce de leche cheesecake.
An hour before arrival into Stockholm, breakfast was served and it was unimaginative; the cold cuts were uninspiring – I stuck to yoghurt.
Inflight Entertainment
Movie selection was poor, although the system is on-demand, with superb sound quality. The inflight magazine and selection of international magazines and newspapers were great.
Arrival
15 minutes early into Stockholm, smooth landing, cabin crew tidied up the aircraft really nicely. I was off the plane mere minutes after arrival.
Verdict
For efficiency this service is hard to beat - we arrived in Stockholm Arlanda Airport fifteen minutes early. And while the food and in-flight entertainment were sub-standard, the surprisingly comfy seats and excellent service tips this flight onto the recommended list. This is an airline with potential – particularly as SAS is just about to launch its new business class product on all intercontinental routes - watch this space.