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SAS Simplifies Bookings By Adding Complications

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The new ticket types may help SAS customers find the product they need quickly. 

On the heels of IATA’s Airline Retailing Symposium (AIRS) in Rome, SAS has announced new names for ticket types to complement existing cabin classes which will go into effect on the 13 November.

The airline hopes the re-labeling of ticket types might make the booking decision easier for travelers. There will be no changes to fares or to the content offered by the ticket types.

SAS. Scandinavian Airlines. SAS New Cabin.

SAS has three travel classes on flights outside of Europe: SAS Business, SAS Plus, and SAS Go. These will remain the same, but within these three, there are seven ticket types offering different services. The new ticket classes will be re-named to SAS Business Smart, SAS Business Pro, SAS Plus Smart, SAS Plus Pro, SAS Go Light, SAS Go Smart, and SAS Go Pro. The new names—“Light,” “Smart,” and “Pro”—are intended to help customers find the right services within each travel class.

“Travelers expect ease, clarity and efficiency. We want to make it easier for our customers to understand what type of ticket they buy and what is included. It is only the ticket name that changes – there is no difference in content or in the price,” says Annelie Nässén, EVP Global Sales and Marketing, SAS.

But will these complications make flight shopping easier?

Complications aren’t always bad. In fine watches—and smartwatches—they enhance utility by giving the user easy access to frequently needed information. If ticket classes help SAS customers better perceive the value of each ticket, then they will be welcome. 

Whether these newly branded ticket types “read well” depends on the ease of the booking flow—which has been pretty good since SAS re-designed its website in 2017.

SAS flight search with low price calendar

Right now, customers go on the SAS website and enter their destination details and dates. If they have selected the low price calculator calendar, then the best fares available appear for each day. Price-sensitive passengers with flexible schedules can immediately change their departure and/or return date for the best fares combination.

Unlike other carriers, SAS does not require that customers select a travel class up-front. Rather, the airline presents the results as a side-by-side comparison of the three travel classes. This flow eases shopping and can also make customers aware of times where booking a class up is a better value. Any extras—baggage or lounge access, etc.—are added after the customer picks the flight schedules that they want in the class that they want.

As flight options are presented now, they are easy to read because there are only three columns (Go, Plus and Business) to compare.

SAS flight display shows schedule and a frame unfolds with options for each class selected. 

It is likely, though unconfirmed that SAS will add the new ticket types—”Light,” “Smart,” “Pro”— so that they appear in a frame below the flight when each class is selected. That’s how it works with Go tickets now, with the ticket types Go and Go flex.

If SAS can manage to fit the three class alternatives as options for each class, listing what comes with each selection, as they have done with Go, then comparing options with these new ticket types will still be relatively easy. 

We’ll find out soon enough. The name change will take place on 13 November 2018 and tickets that are bought before the name change will automatically get the new names.

SAS customers are pretty vocal when they don’t like what they find, and SAS listens. 

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