San Francisco International Airport, Concourse G
We arrived from our domestic flight in another terminal but made our way quite easily to Concourse G where our international flight was due to take off. There are many signs and helpful staff to get you pointed in the right direction, never be afraid to check with gate staff and/or airport employees to ensure you’re going in the right direction. San Francisco is a hub for United Airlines and since Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is part of star alliance with United their staff can be quite helpful too with any inquires you might have. Also, don’t forget to add your flight to your Star Alliance account in order to earn those points! It’s a long flight and worth taking the time to ensure they are added. You can do this when you book, online, when you check in or a gate agent should be able to help you as well.
The concourse its self was not very exciting with only a few duty free shops, half were closed, and a limited choice of eateries. A few people I was traveling with, with young children, opted to share a snack at the “Deli-Up Café” while the rest of us just refilled our water bottles and waited until we were flying. They have a few bottle refill stations, I always recommend bringing your own for long haul flights as it can be easy to get neglect hydration, especially at a time when it is all too important to keep drinking water.
All gates are on the bottom floor with NO RESTROOMS AVAILABLE OR WATER! Make sure you take care of those needs before going to the bottom floor to wait for your gate.
Boarding the plane
The gate agents were welcoming and helpful especially with those in need of additional assistance and young children. Once on the plane the crew was helpful in getting everyone seated in a timely matter and children were even given a toy. The toddler next to me got a teddy bear key chain and another child got a stuffed lion both with SAS logos printed on them.
The seats had enough room for me, I am 5 ft. 8 in. (173 cm), but I did notice that anyone much taller than me struggled to find enough space for their legs, especially if they wanted to use the front pouch to store anything. My knees only touched due to my over stuffing of the basket with my coloring book and pencils! There is a convenient cup holder that folds down without the whole tray, can be useful. A wrapped blanket and pillow were placed on each seat in addition to a bottle of water.
The seats were comfortable, appeared well taken care of and had the useful head rest where the sides turn up to support your head while catching some invaluable sleep on the long flight. There’s a coat hanger that is useful as a head phones holder during flight.
On board meal service
You are only allowed ONE can of a non alcoholic drink per flight. Don’t forget to order it with your first meal, it will only be offered then. Alcohol is for a separate fee, around $8-10 per drink. Coffee, tea and water is complimentary. Served here is a multi leaf salad with edamame on top and a balsamic dressing on the side. Chicken, white rice and bok choy. A spicy sauce that caused some mixed reviews as some found it too spicy and were unable to finish it. I thought it was tasty but I have a mid/high tolerance for spicy food. Bread roll with butter, crackers and cheese. Finally, a chocolate cheesecake (sort of) dessert that really was worth indulging.
Our meals were promptly served however the trays were not collected for a significant amount of time. Many customers opted to take their trays back to the service stations to show their frustration. This happened after every meal and/or beverage service which led to some discomfort for our in-flight experience.
The lights gently wake you up, if you are on of the lucky ones to be able to sleep on planes, and then the final meal service begins approximately 1.5 hrs before landing. Roll with butter again, with additional rolls offered after everyone is served. Fresh cheese, meat and fruit is paired with a greek yogurt and granola. Complimentary water, coffee and tea is served. The cutlery pack also contains a cleansing towelette.
Copenhagen (Kastrup) International Airport
We got to the airport approximately three hours before our flight by local train service from the city. The airport had advised arriving early since it was peak travel season (late July) and they were expecting long queues. I am glad we did get there early because the process to check in, drop our bags, security and immigration took a long time with long queues at every step. It is a big airport and spread out so I would advise getting there early, especially if needing any additional assistance. One of the people traveling with me can’t walk very far and the services that SAS did provide from check in to gate were outstanding and professional. The only trouble was they took him away and didn’t bring him to the gate until right before boarding which was a bit nerve racking when we didn’t exactly know where he was since he had no smart devices nor knows how to work one, yet. However, the SAS gate agents were able to radio around and locate him and ensure us that he was fine and would be at the gate at the appropriate time.
The holding area for our flight was quite small with only one toilet for ladies and one toilet for men. I would advise to do all that before showing your passport at the gate and enter the holding area. The SAS gate agents were not happy with letting people leave the holding area once you had entered.
On board meal service
An iceberg salad with extra virgin olive oil as dressing. Two wheat crackers, served with butter and brie cheese. The main course was curry chicken and rice which I found it to be quite tasty and filling. The dessert was a rhubarb crumble cake. Again, the one drink will be offered with this first meal so if you want one during the flight ask for it with this meal.
There was a snack provided around mid flight, if you are awake to take part. It was a pita type bread filled with either processed ham or processed cheese. Even if you were hungry you won’t be able to finish it, I was not impressed. It lacked flavor and inspiration.
This was a simple meal of pear juice, a small chocolate and pastry. The pastry was a red pepper and tomato glorified hot pocket. It was edible but not very filling and left me wanting more. Complimentary water, tea and coffee was served with the meal.
3 of my favorite parts of flying with SAS 936:
- The meals: Overall I enjoyed the presentation and care given to providing quality meals with good flavors and balance.
- Personal in-flight entertainment systems: self-directed and easy to navigate.
- Clean, well maintained plane: The seats were clean, the blanket at least felt washed and I felt comfortable in my seat.
3 of my least favorite parts of flying with SAS 936:
- Poor snacks: The snack option of dry bread with one filling was hardly edible and no other snack options were available.
- Lack of alcoholic drink service: I usually enjoy a glass of wine or whiskey on my long haul flights with dinner but did not want to pay an additional fee for what is complimentary on many airlines during international flights.
- Unfriendly flight attendants: They were not overly attentive nor had a very friendly demeanor when fielding customer requests.