SAS Bets Big On Los Angeles Flights

SAS is to relocate its transatlantic route to Los Angeles from Stockholm to Copenhagen in 2020. With this move, the carrier will pick up the traffic previously abandoned by Norwegian as part of its winter route shake-up.

SAS A350
SAS Airbus A350. Photo: Airbus

This comes as a result of increased demand from customers in Denmark and Northern Europe in general, both for leisure and business purposes.

Why the change for SAS?

The carrier considers the US gateway to be one of the most in-demand transatlantic routes from Denmark, especially for leisure passengers, and this is cited as the reason for the change. Karl Sandlund EVP Commercial, SAS stated in a press release,

“By opening a year-round route to Los Angeles from Copenhagen we are increasing availability and enabling growth. […] Los Angeles is one of the most in-demand intercontinental routes from Copenhagen, and an important route for our leisure customers in particular, who are keen to visit the American West Coast.”

Currently, SAS employs Airbus A330-300s for Los Angeles flights from Stockholm but is poised to deploy its new Airbus A350-900s on several US routes. These include New York, Chicago and San Francisco from January 2020.

Norwegian entered the long-haul market in 2013 and in 2019 reported its highest ever passenger figures in a single year after the launch of 35 new routes. However, the carrier has been struggling financially and recently cut many routes to the US for the winter, as well as scrapping Irish-US routes entirely.

When will the new timetable start?

The new schedule for the Copenhagen to Los Angeles will begin on January 13th, with flights departing from Copenhagen 09:35 and arriving in Los Angeles the same day at 12:15.

SAS aircraft
SAS aircraft taking off. Photo: Tomás Del Coro via Flickr

The return flight is direct but will see passengers reach their destination the day after, with departures from Los Angeles at 14:00 and arrival in Copenhagen at 10:10. Daily departures from Copenhagen will be available from March 31st.

Passengers who have booked tickets for the Stockholm-Los Angeles route will be rebooked for the updated route.

Flying from Scandinavia to the US with SAS

At the moment, SAS operates direct flights from the Danish capital to multiple hubs in the US, including Boston, Chicago, New York, Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Miami. Direct flights from Stockholm are available for Chicago and New York. If Norway is more your cup of tea, you can fly from Oslo to New York and Miami with SAS.

Norwegian could come back fighting next summer. Photo: Norwegian

Although Norwegian have paused many US routes for the 2019/20 winter season, the carrier has previously told Simple Flying they intend to bring them back. This will put the two airlines in direct competition from next summer, if they both maintain these routes.

The route change at SAS signals the intensification of the competition between the carrier and Norwegian on the same niche. The two Nordic carriers are currently overlapping considerably in their intercontinental markets, and the trend doesn’t look like it’s slowing down.