SAS Houston To Stavanger Business Class 737 Flight Bookable

Last month SAS announced an innovative new route, which finally became bookable yesterday.

SAS will be launching 6x weekly service (every day except Saturday) between Houston and Stavanger, Norway, as of August 20, 2014. The route will be operated by a wet leased PrivatAir Boeing 737-700, featuring an all business class configuration. The aircraft will feature just 44 seats spread across 11 rows.

PrivatAir-737

The schedule for the new route will be as follows:

SK951 Stavanger to Houston departing 4:00PM arriving 7:40PM
SK952 Houston to Stavanger departing 9:35PM arriving 2:30PM (+1 day)

SAS-Stavanger-Service

The flight is blocked at 9hr55min eastbound and 10hr40min westbound, so as far as I know is the longest 737 route in the world.

Obviously SAS is going after the oil & gas market with this route, and is probably creating the single “longest” and “thinnest” route in the world:

“The route we have established is a tailored product for a defined market with particular travel needs,” says Rickard Gustafson, President and CEO of SAS.

I love innovation so certainly hope it works out for them. I’m sure they’ll do well with the yields on the route, though is there enough demand to fill 250+ seats in each direction every week? I guess time will tell.

The last time I flew PrivatAir was back when they operated an A319 between Newark and Dusseldorf on behalf of Lufthansa. The seats were angled and not especially comfortable. Then again, all business class service is pretty neat.

PrivatAir-1
PrivatAir all business class A319

PrivatAir-2
PrivatAir all business class A319

I’d be curious to try out the route, though unfortunately it doesn’t look like any award availability has been loaded yet. This would actually be an interesting route to fly using Air Canada Aeroplan miles. That’s because SAS is one of the few carriers on which Aeroplan doesn’t impose fuel surcharges, so you’d pay just 45,000 Aeroplan miles one-way for a business class ticket. That being said, since this is a wet leased service, maybe they just won’t release any award space. Here’s to hoping they do!

Comments

  1. This looks like it could be a very interesting trip. Lucky, if award space becomes available what is the quickest way to get Aeroplan miles? Convert from United? I wish there was a way that I could move some USAir miles…

  2. @ Nick — You can’t transfer United miles to Aeroplan. Your best bet would be to transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards, if you have them.

  3. @ John — It’s basically a BBJ (Boeing Business Jet), so given how light it is and the additional fuel it carries, it can fly quite a distance.

  4. Hmmm, I am in Houston and work for big oil and frequently fly to Stavanger…it doesn’t look like this is full flat beds. Given that all oil majors REQUIRE us to fly business and given that cost is generally not a factor, I would never fly this. If anything it will make my life worse because now I have to justify to travel accounting why I am not taking the cheapest fare (assuming this is the cheapest). So a big thumbs down. I’m not flying 10 hours on a shit plane (for work).

  5. That is a pretty dreadful seat. Certainly not what SAS would place in a brand new aircraft they operate.

    I do wonder the extent to which Statoil may have guaranteed seat purchases at some fixed price to mitigate the risk SAS runs engaging Privatair to operate the service. To whatever extent there may end up being award seats, I predict it will be midweek, holidays, and August, when business needs are lower.

  6. A few years ago I was on Swiss JFK-ZUR and they were oversold. They gave about a dozen of us the option of getting on a chartered bus to EWR and going on a PrivatAir plane. It was just the twelve of us. We all got friendly on the ride to EWR. We basically turned the plane into a traveling party. The seats weren’t great but no one cared.

  7. Stavanger is a nice jump off point for a hike to Preikestolen – one of the world’s most vertigo-inducing views!

  8. @ Markus – I am also in Houston although don’t travel for work. Thankfully, you probably won’t have to take this flight since it’s not the cheapest.

    Per ITA, roundtrip fare is $5,449 on SAS (doesn’t seem to vary). Looking at September-October, that’s roughly $1,000 more than UA/LH (via FRA) and 1,500-2,000 more than BA/AA (via LHR).

  9. This is the same equipment & seat KLM wet leased from Privatair when they still had their IAH-AMS 737 service (they used to fly a 744 combi & the 737 – now they fly a 744 combi once or twice daily, depending on the day). I took the IAH-AMS flight a few times, and the seat wasn’t *horrible*. It was certainly better than the wedgie seats on AA, and I also liked it better than the ones on mainline KL/NW. Also, the crews were very chipper and friendly on these flights – more so than KL crews I’ve encountered on mainline.

  10. 739 for a 4800 mile over-water flight? Can you say “fuel stop”?

    SK doesn’t have lie-flats on any of it’s aircraft so this is not really a downgrade compared to its usual offerings.

    Not sure they’re going to get much traction vs. UA, LH, and BA though.

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