Review: Thai Airways and SAS Airways


Thai Airways:

In Air:

Thai Airways has the best connection from Australia to Oslo via its hub in Bangkok.

Simply put, I choose to fly Thai Airways over many other Asian based airlines. The journey from Melbourne to Oslo via Bangkok was a mix of economy and business class. I chose a day flight departing Melbourne early afternoon arriving Bangkok mid-evening, just in time for a late dinner and a good night’s sleep in my hotel. My flight from Bangkok to Oslo departed late evening. Luckily I was upgraded to business class for this overnight flight. As usual with Thai inflight service, I was impressed in both classes.

Food is well above the standard airline average. Indeed Thai Airways makes a special effort to serve authentic cuisine, producing its own spice mixes, spice pastes and curries from its commercial catering kitchens in Bangkok and other important hub cities.

Meals served ten kilometres above sea level lose flavour. Spicy meals tend to retain flavour at high altitude. Thai cuisine is naturally infused with spice and fresh herbs. Consequently, Thai Airways has taken advantage of its national cuisine’s ability to deliver flavour, even at ten kilometres above sea level. I’ve eaten simple green chicken curries aboard Thai Airways flights that have been superior to many green chicken curries I’ve enjoyed at many suburban Western Thai restaurants at sea level. It’s a question of authenticity. The Thais get it right on their national airline.

Business class beds are fully flat with all the usual widgets and gadgets. IFE is better than many Asian airlines with a wider range of Hollywood, Bollywood and independent Thai films in its on demand library. IFE screens are accessible in all seats in all classes.

Economy class seating is typical. It’s cramped. What makes a difference with Thai economy is the service provided. On all Thai Airways flights I’ve made in economy I’ve never been made to feel like a sheep stuck in the back of the truck. Service is reflective of Thai friendliness overall.

My only quibble is with the wine selection. A tendency to serve French savoury wines with Thai food simply doesn’t work. More thought needs to go into the wine selection to complement Thai food. May I suggest adding a few Rieslings and Gewurtztraminers, Gruner Veltliners and Pinot Blancs to the list of wine options?

See for details and special deals.


SAS Scandinavian Airways:

In Air:

My SAS domestic flights between Oslo and Longyearbyen were essentially akin to an uncomfortably cheap ride on a Greyhound bus.

SAS has paired back its inflight service to the bare minimum. It’s pay as you go if a drink or a snack is desired.

All visitors flying into Longyearbyen are required to pass through a customs check point in Tromso. Disembark the aircraft, queue up in Tromso’s small airport (Scandinavian nationals are granted fast track access), have your passport examined and stamped, move through the terminal to another gate and finally reboard the same aircraft. The whole process takes approximately one hour.

On my return flight from Longyearbyen to Oslo via Tromso I requested a window seat, which I was given. Unfortunately my ‘window’ seat was on one of two rows of seats configured without window access. My ‘window’ seat faced an interior wall instead. No one at check in bothered to tell me. My flight out of Longyearbyen was on a very rare clear day. I missed seeing Longyearbyen’s fjord, the surrounding mountains, the pack ice and Bear Island between Svalbard and the mainland.

See for bookings and special deals. If you request a window seat, obtain a guarantee that there is indeed a real window or face missing out on spectacular scenery on flights between Oslo and Longyearbyen.

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