Airline review: SAS Plus premium economy

THE ROUTE

Oslo to Newark.

THE PLANE

Airbus A330-300.

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

Eurobonus (Star Alliance).

CLASS

SAS Plus (premium economy) seat 13A.

DURATION

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Thanks to a very early start to boarding, we take off a few minutes early, and arrive as scheduled eight hours and five minutes later.

FREQUENCY

Daily from Oslo to Newark.

THE SEAT STUFF

The premium economy cabin has a 2-4-2 configuration. Seats have a 38-inch (96.5 centimetre) pitch and are 18.5 inches (47cm) wide.

BAGGAGE

Passengers are allowed up to two pieces of checked baggage weighing up to 23 kilograms each, and two pieces of hand luggage up to eight kilograms each.

COMFORT

Each passenger gets a blanket and a pillow but there are no amenity packs available. If you are planning to take a nap, better bring your own eye mask. The key difference between economy and premium economy - apart from the fact the meals in SAS Plus are included in the fare - appears to be the seats. They're significantly more roomy than a standard economy seat, a huge benefit on a long flight like this.

ENTERTAINMENT

Luckily I brought my own entertainment. Although there are seat-back TV screens, the viewing choice could kindly be described as limited. There are only five movies to choose from on our flight, all mainstream blockbuster fare such as Robocop, Labor Day and Three Days to Kill. There is also a range of TV series. As for music, SAS has just four music channels to choose from, including soul and classical light. You are better off to power up your laptop (there is an in-seat power point) and listen to your own.

SERVICE

The staff are friendly enough when we climb aboard, and efficient at distributing drinks and meals, but seem to be missing in action for much of the flight. Even when I'm dozing, I'm usually aware of crew members occasionally strolling down the aisle, but ages go by without a single hostie appearing. Having said that, when I press my call bell, they respond promptly.

FOOD

I have a rule about airline food: don't expect a lot, and you won't be disappointed. Today's meal choices are fish with asparagus risotto and that Scandinavian standby, meatballs with mashed potato. I opt for the latter which, to my surprise, is one of the best airline meals I have eaten. The meatballs are juicy and tasty; the mash creamy. The cheese and crackers also display a Scandi twist: the tangy cheese is 80 per cent goat cheese, served with crispbread. I love it, but not everyone will. Two hours before landing, they serve a snack of prosciutto with ratatouille. It's just as good as the main course was.

ONE MORE THING ...

Our captain is clearly a fan of giving information to the guests: when was the last time you were told how many passengers and crew were on board? (260 and nine, in case you were wondering.)

THE VERDICT

While SAS is a low-frills option, its SAS Plus service is reasonably priced, with comfortable seats and excellent food. Just remember to pack your own entertainment and eye mask.

Tested by Ute Junker, who travelled with the assistance of the Canadian Tourism Commission.

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