SAS has quietly made quite a change to its lounge access policy for those traveling in its Plus cabin and Star Alliance Gold members.
SAS is ending its partnership with (probably most) third party lounges in early 2017 and access to fast track is also ending at 7 airports. Those flying on SAS still have access to SAS and other Star Alliance lounges at airports in which they are available.
You can access SAS’s web page for this announcement here.
Here’s the announcement:
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.
Lounge access and fast track closures:
How low can an airline go? SAS rebranded its business class as Plus few years back and it is basically the typical euro business class offering. SAS deeply gutted its Y service and it is a rather terrifying concept, however, but having lounge access has eased the pain (basically zero services in flight).
Not sure how taking away access to these 42 lounges will strengthen the SAS product as it is worded on their release?
Norwegian has a strong network in Scandinavia and must be eating SAS’s lunch, and thus the airline is trying to cut corners where ever it can. Not sure if it is best strategy to keep frequent fliers, however.
If one doesn’t get lounge access and/or fast track at any of these outstations, what is the benefit of flying the SAS over some LCC such as Norwegian?