PSA: Avoid SAS (Scandinavian Airlines) with Children

If you are planning a trip to Europe this summer, you might want to avoid SAS (Scandinavian Airlines) if you are travelling with kids in tow. While we fortunately did not use SAS to cross the Atlantic, we did have the unfortunate experience of flying on SAS for four flights within Europe.

The SAS experience was overall quite negative, but the lack of family-friendliness was truly shocking. Here are all the issues we had with this airline:

First, families with children were not able to board early so by the time we boarded with our boarding pass priority the flight attendants were getting antsy that it was taking us so long to get settled. Other airlines help themselves avoid the stress by just letting families on with the elite fliers.

 

Once we were on the plane, we served our children a snack. The flight attendants came by and were very upset that children were eating a snack that could potentially make crumbs. They remarked multiple times about the “mess” and before landing they came by with a garbage bag and instructions to clean the “mess”. Have a look at this picture and see if you can spot an extraordinary mess outside of some napkins.

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Once we landed we discovered that SAS had conveniently decided not to bring our stroller along for the journey. Upon expressing to the baggage service how problematic it might be to be on vacation without a stroller, he just shrugged and said too bad. We did finally receive the stroller two days later, it was quite worse for the wear as a result of its trip without us.

When we arrived at the airport to check in for our next flight, we discovered how much SAS hates strollers. They consider a stroller to be a checked bag not be taken past security and they charge 70 EUR to check it in. Yes, that’s correct. Unlike every other airline in the world which allows you to gate check a stroller and have it returned at the arrival gate, SAS charges for it as if it’s a full bag! When we complained at the check-in counter and said we were going to tweet our disapproval, the ticket agent threatened to rip up our boarding passes unless we deleted the tweet.

As you can see, for a family with children this is not an airline you want to choose. Even for those traveling without kids there are some things you want to be aware of.

Drinks are not free even on inter-continental flights. You get one free soft drink with your meal, but after that it’s 3 EUR a drink.

If you need customer service, good luck. Hold times are ridiculously long and  customer support is incredibly unhelpful.

If you do call customer service, prepare to pay a $40 fee.

On paper, SAS is a Star Alliance airline, but they seem to want to pretend to be like their budget airline competitors. With service such as we received we should have opted for a budget airline, and spared ourselves the disappointment.

Klaus K Hotel Helsinki

If you find yourself in Helsinki, Finland with kids in tow, you will absolutely want to consider a stay at the Klaus K Hotel. The room we stayed in was the Envy Room with a King Bed and it was absolutely huge. The room had a view of the street and was in a corner away from all the noise. The hotel itself was very centrally located right near the Esplanade park and only a few blocks from the Market Square ferry terminal. Down the block was a Circle K supermarket (kind of like a 7-11). The only downside was that it was 2.5 km from the ferry terminal where the Tallin ferry gets in which can be kind of pricey in a taxi.

The hotel staff was amazing and very helpful with every request. We didn’t have a chance to eat breakfast at the hotel, but it looked like quite a spread.

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