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Finnair vs SAS : Which Is Better?

When it comes to choosing between Nordic air carriers, the decision often narrows down to Finnair and SAS. Both airlines have their own set of merits, but which one truly offers a superior flying experience?

Finnair vs SAS : Which Is Better?

Hubs & Destinations

Finnair and SAS, two leading airlines in Northern Europe, offer distinct experiences based on their hub locations and route networks. Finnair, headquartered at Helsinki Airport in Vantaa, Finland, strategically leverages its position to offer shorter flight durations between Asia and Europe. This is evident in their extensive connections to major Asian cities like Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, and Singapore. While they efficiently link various European destinations and selected North American cities, their domestic network within Finland is also noteworthy.

On the other hand, SAS operates from three primary hubs: Copenhagen Airport in Denmark, Stockholm Arlanda Airport in Sweden, and Oslo Gardermoen Airport in Norway. These pivotal locations allow SAS to dominate travel within and from the Scandinavian region. They serve key Asian destinations, including Shanghai and Beijing, while also maintaining a strong presence in Europe and North America. Their domestic routes in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway are particularly extensive, reflecting their commitment to Scandinavia.

While both airlines provide robust European connections, Finnair's unique geographical advantage positions it as an ideal bridge between Europe and Asia. Meanwhile, SAS stands out as the go-to choice for traveling within Scandinavia and beyond. For the most current route information, it's recommended to consult the airlines' official websites: Finnair & SAS.

Baggage & Fees

Finnair Wins

Baggage allowances can greatly impact your travel experience. We all can agree on that. That's why it's so important to know all the details on baggage allowances.  Here's a brief comparison between Finnair and SAS:

Finnair Economy: One checked bag (23 kg) and one carry-on (8 kg).
Finnair Business: Two checked bags (23 kg each) and two carry-ons (total 10 kg).
Additional Fees For Extra Baggage (prepaid Online): within Europe: €29 (or €36 if within 6 days of departure); Finland & nearby countries: €24 (or €29 if within 6 days); U.S./Canada/Mexico: €65/$70; Asia & Middle East: €75 (or €85 if within 6 days); Japan: €70.

SAS Go (Economy): One checked bag (23 kg) and one carry-on (8 kg).
SAS Plus & Business: Two checked bags (23 kg for Plus, 32 kg for Business) and one carry-on (8 kg).
Addition Fees for extra baggage: The price for additional luggage varies based on your flight route and booking class. For SAS Go flights categorized under K, L, T, and O classes traveling to and from the U.S., an extra bag is priced at $60 if secured more than 22 hours before takeoff and $110 if acquired at the airport within 22 hours of departure.
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Service Overview

Based on passenger reviews, SAS brings certain offerings to the table that Finnair doesn't. SAS's standout crews are evidently more customer-centric. A notable instance is the Danish purser from SAS, who personally interacts with passengers in the J cabin, giving a lively rundown of the upcoming meal service and what the flight entails.

Finnair, on the other hand, lacks this personal touch. Instead, they air a generic film about their service concepts in economy on the in-flight entertainment system. This is played in the J cabin as well. (Personally, I don’t find it a problem).  That said, Finnair does recognize elite passengers, so there's a chance you'll be introduced to the purser on their flights.

Both airlines present extensive, multilingual menus (SAS in English/Japanese and Finnair in English/Finnish/Japanese). The menus are thoughtfully crafted, complete with thematic designs and a section detailing their unique story.

Another differentiator is SAS's adoption of a "flying-chef" style service, as depicted in the photo on the right. They offer certain meals that are custom-plated right at your seat. While some dishes are preset either before the flight or onboard, passengers get a preview of all options before deciding. Conversely, Finnair employs a more streamlined approach. Post take-off, the crew promptly takes dinner orders and later serves the meal on a tray. Their food is consistently pre-arranged on the ground and brought to passengers on a pre-set tray.

Finnair vs SAS : Which Is Better? - sas wins- ratepunk

In-Flight Entertainment

SAS wins

Both SAS and Finnair provide in-flight entertainment (IFE), but the similarities pretty much end there. SAS features a significantly larger screen; however, its lack of anti-glare treatment means that it often reflects like a mirror during the day, handy for a hair check. In contrast, Finnair's screen is smaller, but it does include an anti-reflex layer. Even with this coating, visibility during daylight remains a challenge due to limited screen brightness.

Internet connectivity is available on both airlines. However, Finnair restricts complimentary access to elite members only. When it comes to logging in, neither airline shines. SAS's system has a tendency to crash, but once you're through the initial hurdles, the internet connection is relatively dependable. Finnair, on the other hand, boasts a more stable login page, but it didn't grant me actual internet access, offering only a shopping portal.

Finally, it's up to passanger to decided which airlines he should choose. It depends on preferences, on the route he needs to take, on price, etc. Nevertheless, I hope this article gave you more insights on the topic. :)

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