Sure, it is a few months later than expected, but SAS took delivery of its first A321LR aircraft today. It is the first of three LRs the company expects to join the fleet, offering service in transatlantic markets that are too small to support twin-aisle aircraft.
The first destination for the type was announced a year ago as Boston and that decision appears to be holding thus far. The carrier has filed for Copenhagen-Boston service on the type starting 14 December 2020. Of course, like most flight schedules these days, that date and route is subject to change. And as an indication of just how soft that plan might be, SAS is not currently selling seats on the nonstop Copenhagen-Boston route for any dates where it is filed through the end of the Winter IATA season on 27 March 2021.
The SAS A321LR features 157 seats across three cabins on board. The business class cabin arrangement offers 22 lie-flat the Thompson Aero Vantage seats in a staggered arrangement. A dozen SAS Plus premium economy seats follow, with 123 economy class seats filling out the rest of the cabin. That relatively low passenger count affords the aircraft the ability to reach into North America from the carrier’s Scandinavian hubs.
When the business class cabin was announced there was an indication that the seating would stagger, with three seats in each row rather than alternating two and four to accommodate the Vantage seat. Looking at the carrier’s seat map today, however, that theory proved inaccurate.
Instead, SAS chose a default arrangement of the Vantage seats on its A321LR. This is substantially similar to what US carrier JetBlue uses for its Mint premium cabin offering (with hints of a newer iteration to come when it launches flights to Europe in 2021). TAP Portugal and Aer Lingus also selected the Vantage seat for their new A321LRs. The type entered service for both carriers in 2019. While the seat will not be unique to the SAS offering the carrier’s new, smaller long-haul planes will still carry the other Scandinavian touches that differentiate its product.
In economy class passengers will pay for an advance seat assignments on nearly 70% of the available seats in the cabin. Only the last 7 rows are available without a charge. Right now most window and aisle seats are $29 while middles are $12. The reclining exit row prices at $59 all the way across.
SAS announced in September 2019 that its new A321LR fleet will fly with the Viasat high-speed inflight wifi solution on board, matching the kit on its short/mid-haul fleet.
The delivery flight from Hamburg was fueled with a 10% blend of sustainable aviation fuel.
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