SAS Premium Passengers Will No Longer Get Access To Third Party Lounges

Filed Under: SAS

SAS has just announced that in early 2017 they’ll be eliminating access to third party lounges and fast track in many cities for premium passengers. As many of you may be aware, sometimes airlines operate their own lounges at an airport, while other times they use a contract lounge for their passengers. SAS will be cutting lounge access altogether for cities in which the Star Alliance doesn’t operate a lounge.

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Your regional SAS flight may soon come with less lounge access

Eligible passengers will continue to have access to both SAS and Star Alliance lounges as before, though independent airport lounge access is being cut.

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Access policies for SAS lounges isn’t changing

As is unfortunately the norm in the airline industry nowadays, SAS spins this as something that’s good for passengers — they’re doing this to strengthen their offering in the air and on the ground:

SAS is ongoing strengthening our offer in the air as well as on ground, where we are investing in SAS Lounges and SAS Fast track at our main airports and our destinations with the largest number of travelers. SAS is investing in digital solutions, new upgraded cabins, new aircraft, high-speed WiFi on all aircraft and have recently launched news in food & beverage onboard. On ground, to be able to continue and invest, expand and improve SAS Lounges and Fast Track offer, SAS will end our collaboration with some of our contracted lounges operated by third-parties. The result will be a continued improvement of SAS own offer where it benefits most of our Plus/Business travelers, members and 29 million yearly passengers. To mention a few examples SAS will invest in new and bigger domestic lounges at Arlanda and Oslo Gardemoen as well as upgrading our international SAS Lounges in New York, Paris and Chicago.

thank-you

So going forward, SAS Plus passengers (SAS’ premium cabin on shorthaul flight and premium economy cabin on longhaul flights) as well as Star Alliance Gold passengers will no longer lounge access or fast track at the following airports:

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Meanwhile the following airports will continue to offer access to SAS lounges, Star Alliance lounges, and fast track facilities:

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In theory I can see both sides here. On one hand, I think it’s ridiculous that passengers are being penalized because an airline chooses not to invest in a lounge at an airport. Contract lounges typically already aren’t as nice as the lounges you’d otherwise have access to, but getting access to no lounge at all sucks.

At the same time, a lot of intra-Europe flights are super cheap nowadays, and I imagine the (probably) ~$15-25 that the airline is paying for each premium passenger to access a contract lounge adds up.

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SAS Plus and Star Alliance Gold members will no longer get lounge access in Iceland

SAS isn’t the first airline to make such a cut. In May 2014, Delta eliminated access to third party lounges for SkyTeam Elite Plus customers (Delta Gold Medallion members and above), which included a large number of their longhaul destinations. However, business class passengers continued to get lounge access at those destinations.

SkyTeam-Lounge-Policy-1

Bottom line

While this change is disappointing, the good news for many of us is that a lot of these lounges are still accessible through Priority Pass. So I suspect many of us wouldn’t be impacted if flying SAS. Still, the fact that you won’t get lounge access or fast track with your ticket at many cities is yet another reason not to be loyal to an airline or to choose them over a competitor.

I suspect we’ll see similar changes from other airlines over the coming years.

(Tip of the hat to Rasmus)

Comments

  1. Glad you reminded us that Priority Pass will cover most of those lost lounges. Today a true frequent traveler must equip him or her self with such backups as fewer benefits accrue with an airline ticket. And most premium credit cards — also a necessity — include Priority Pass or similar programs. From reviewing the list of lounges now being cut, it might also be considered that given the nature of a unified Europe, airlines like SAS see a parallel with the United States, where airlines don’t give lounge access on premium domestic-only flights. Fast Track is like our PreCheck, though it would be incumbent on the EU to introduce a similar program across its member states, rather than the current program whereby airlines pay a fee to accommodate their premium customers (the reason SAS is cutting this benefit). All this is just another way of shifting the cost of elements of air travel to the user from the airline (or government).

  2. It’s a decision that matches their lousy Business service, I’m not really surprised. Definitely one of Star Alliance’s airlines that I try to avoid.

  3. Peter n – Yes SAS is better in all US airlines in Y class and the worth airlines for Y/C in Europe / Asia for sure. Not even water is free only lousy coffee and The.
    Lounge in CPH and ARN is good but always to crowded in EWR and almost nothing to eat.

    Next looking forward to talk about CPH airport … with one of the WORTH arrival hall ever seen after been flying around the world more than 40 years.

  4. One expects less and less from SAS these days. It is not the premium airline you would seek out to fly with if looking for a premium experience. It’s decidedly second-rate.
    Oh, and here’s a heads-up for SAS’ PR spokesthingy grappling with the English language: in 2016/7, “going forward”, “moving forward” is OUT, and “ongoing” should be used sparingly, if at all.
    Just sayin’ …………

  5. SAS Plus intra-European these days is what monkey class was 10 years ago, apart from the lounge access and fast track. Take that away at one end of your journey and you are left with monkey class service in what’s supposed to be business. At least they don’t call it that, as that would be a false statement. I call it monkey class as opposed to monkey monkey at the back of the plane.
    But one or two more steps in that direction and I may as well fly Ryan Air or Norwegian, perish the thought!

  6. As a regular SAS Plus passenger from BHX to destinations in Scandinavia, I booked a number of flights for dates through to the Summer and at no time in the booking process was there any indication that Fast Track and Lounge access were being removed on Feb 1st. My question is, is this legal. Surely they entered a contract and the Plus tickets booked and premium fare paid was in expectation of premium service.
    When taking the matter up with SAS their response was the pathetic corporate response detailed earlier in this blog.
    I am now cancelling my bookings with SAS and moving them to another carrier.
    If enough people do this, maybe SAS will wake up to the fact that they are losing loyal customers.

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