The Scandinavian Airlines is bleeding. There are talks about selling to the competition, and giving it up entirely. For years I was a loyal customer, as once I have developed a good relationship with a brand, I tend to stick with it. In the case of SAS I had fond childhood memories of angelic stewardesses in sky blue uniforms (oh, check out the summer uniform 1963-83), mothering me as I crossed the country unaccompanied every summer, to stay with my grandparents.
It was only natural I would stay with SAS, even in the case when I had to pay a little more. But then the concept changed, from the airline of the people to the airline of the business world. In an effort to pamper the business traveller, a new hierarchy was set in motion, allowing for the watering out of services, only offering the best to the most desirable customer. This is reflected all the way from the booking of the ticket, where your options as an economy traveller are... shall we say limited, to the journey itself. The Desirables go the short route to the air plane, while The Undesirables are asked to take a ridiculous detour. And once onboard, the in-flight entertainment consists of name calling, when at least a couple of times your status is pointed out to you (and everybody else). If you are so inclined, you may purchase a beverage or a sandwich, an offer followed by what closely resembles a reprimand: credit card payments preferred, only notes accepted, and only certain currencies.
After a couple of trips like that, I lost that loving feeling. But as it turns out other airlines still treat you like a valued customer. No one is announcing your seat status, everybody is guided through the fastest way to the plane, and no matter the price of the seat, you are always greeted with a minimum of a muffin and a beverage. But it still makes me sad that SAS may be gone in a few years. And I have to wonder how things would have looked for my childhood airline, if only they had kept some of the worlds coolest uniforms, and continued to treat everybody like family.
I still get weak when I see an old SAS poster:
... by SAS (original), Otto Nielsen 1946 here.
SAS everywhere by air (original), Tor Hinnerud 1950 here.
No giraffes please, but almost everything else (reproduction), Aage Rasmussen here.
Chile (reproduction), De Ambrogio 1951 here.