05 April 2010

SAS, the segregated airlines

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.


  1. Jeg kan godt lide din blog!

  2. Fantastisk! Og det link der med uniformerne...mums. Der er nu noget ved SAS, f.eks. virker Uffe Ellemann-reklamen helt vildt godt på mig.

    Apropos: Jeg købte engang et par ting af Gunnar Nu Hansens barnebarn på et loppemarked; bla. den her: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fie_o/425480352/sizes/o/

  3. Hej P-E Fronning,
    Det er jeg rigtig glad for at høre, jeg kan nemlig også godt lide din blog. :-) Sandra

    Hej Fie,
    Det er jo netop det, man har følelser i klemme hos SAS, Ellemann-reklamen rammer også mig. Og når jeg ser det fantastiske isbjørne diplom er jeg også solgt. Det tager jo generationer at opbygge det forhold, så jeg undrer mig over at de i den grad har klattet det væk.

  4. Sounds like Qantas!!!


  5. Hi Ian,
    I had to look that up, Quantas. Australian Airline? I wonder if all countries has an airline that makes them feel all warm and fuzzy? Or at least used to... :-)

  6. yes air france has changed too. but it's not the worst. still we have food, and the small flights are kind of pleasant compared to the transatlantic. new york/paris in economy (my only option so far) has never been really a nice experience with whichever company. here we traveled once with virgin america, and although you have to pay for food, they really try to make you comfortable and welcomed.

  7. I use KLM and Air France a lot more now, and I like them too. You don't expect a Concorde ride, just a welcoming feeling, you know? I hope someone from the rude airlines reads feedback like this, and shape up. All this talk about planes have given me the travel-itch. :-)

  8. @Sandra - Qantas might just be the most misspelled airline name...there is no letter "u" in it because it is an acronym...stands for Queensland And Northern Territories Aerial Services (or something akin to that).

  9. sure and the photodiarist is in japan! lucky her...

  10. Hi Patrick,
    I know, first I looked it up, then I misspelled it in my comment, and only realised it after it was posted. I was hoping no one would notice, haha. But it is good to know somebody is watching. :-) Sandra

    Hi Carole,
    All of two bloggers I am following is in Japan right now, I even think they arrived on the same day. I have not been to Japan yet, or Australia, and I really want to go. :-)

  11. I don't think I ever flew with SAS, but do you remember Pan Am or TWA?... all gone. These days Qantas and Singapore Airlines still offer great service, but you pay for it, naturally.

  12. Hi Sabine,
    When we are on the subject of (vintage) airlines, it pains me that I can not make an entire post about Braniff Airlines. It just is not a classic Copenhagen topic, no matter how I twist it. But for the love of fashion, you must check out this link, if you don't know it already:


    The planes were easter egg colored, Emilio Pucci designed the uniforms, and even some very impractical bubble helmets to protect those 60's hairdo's from the weather. Master chefs prepared the food, the interior was colorful and ultra stylish, and even the colors and the furniture of the waiting area was immaculate. And the commercials, with the motto: When you got it, flaunt it! Priceless. See Andy Warhol here:


    Oh. I really need to create a blog for all the extra non-Copenhagen stuff on my mind.

  13. Hej - er flyplakaten "everywhere by air" til salg?
    mvh kjeldgaard vrikorm@gmail.com

  14. hej Lauge, jeg har lige klikket, og der ser ud til at den stadig er til salg (original plakat, til $850), hvis du klikker på det blå "here" ud for den anden linie, lige under alle plakaterne, kommer du til butikken. Jeg håber at du finder den. Hej fra Sandra


I love comments! Go ahead, make my day. :-)