AIRLINE REVIEW: Fly the Scandi way with SAS to Denmark’s second largest city, Aarhus
For more than 70 years, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has been making the Nordics accessible to travellers worldwide and now it has launched an entirely new route from Manchester to Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest city.
A great alternative to Copenhagen and an exciting short break destination, Aarhus offers the best of all worlds – a beautiful city, set on the coast and surrounded by forest.
Located in the East Jutland region of Denmark, Aarhus joins Bergen, Copenhagen, Oslo-Gardermoen and Stockholm-Arlanda as part of the destinations serviced by the Scandic national flag carrier from our very own Manchester Airport.
The airline has been a pioneer in developing and exploring new ways of making life easier for travellers by offering innovative, attractive services and products – and it continues to do so by moving forward with ‘Scandibility’ heart, Scandinavian values and sustainable travel.
With world-class punctuality, Scandi design and award-winning cabins that come with WIFI, VIVA couldn’t wait to check in and check ‘em out.
Arriving just 60 minutes before departure, there was no queue at all at the check in desks. Following a speedy check in, which literally took seconds, we were swiftly through security given that we were travelling on SAS Plus tickets. All very efficient and a good sign of all things to come.
The airline operates a three class system on its flights within Europe, SAS Go Light; SAS Go, which also includes a 23kg checked bag, newspapers, coffee and tea on board, and SAS Plus which offers additional premium benefits including complimentary lounges, Fast Track security, premium check-in, complimentary food and drink and an additional piece of 23kg luggage and fully flexible tickets.
Prices vary for seats depending on what type of traveller you are and what you want included within the cost of your ticket.
The airline uses brand new Cityjet Bombardier CRJ900 and 737 aircrafts to service routes from Manchester. Its new fleet is made up of the most environmentally friendly aircrafts in the market and it’s committed to further reducing its CO2 footprint.
It’s this ethos that is appealing to frequent travellers who are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious about the way they travel with airlines.
Travelling on a Cityjet Bombardier, it was short skip, hop and a jump to the European neighbouring destination with a flight time of just 1 hour and 15 minutes. There’s a 2-2 seating configuration aboard this type of aircraft so it’s simple choice between aisle and window. The cabin felt clean and had that ‘new plane smell’. The aircraft is spacious given that the aircraft has only 88 seats in total.
Myself and my travelling partner were the only ones in the SAS Plus cabin towards the very front of the plane. Bonus! SAS Plus passengers can select seats first – VIVA recommends the first row where there’s a bulkhead wall in front, which means some extra room around the knees. However, these are on a first come, first served, where everyone else takes the rows behind.
In terms of seat pitch, there’s 31 inches and a width of 17 inches. The recline feature on the seats allows for even more room without being too obtrusive to passengers behind. The leather upholstery adds even more comfort, and, with a short flight time, you don’t feel like you have to get up out of your seat to stretch your legs. Unless you want to of course. All of this, made flying feel pleasant and what with an enjoyable short haul flight, made travelling for a weekend break feel almost effortless from door to door.
Food & Drink
The airline offers travellers a Scandinavian experience from the moment you step on board, through their ‘Scandinavia Starts at Take Off’ offering, including for example the airline’s ‘New Nordic by SAS’ food concept, prepared with the focus on seasonal and locally produced high quality raw ingredients from small producers.
Food and drinks are complimentary. There are pockets in front for storage and a typical fold-down stray table or fold up within the arm rest for those at the very front when meal service commences.
As well as a selection of meal choices for meat eaters and vegans, there’s Swiss chocolates, protein bars and nuts as snacks. There’s a wide range of spirits, beers and wines to choose from although given how short the flight is, you’d probably only get through two or three drinks before landing – even if you tried.
The customer service of cabin crew was equally efficient, with the crew stopping by every 10 minutes to see if we needed anything else. No nonsense, super friendly service from people with permanent smiles plastered on their faces. Quite simply, delightful.
SAS’ commitment to reducing aviation environmental impact
While traveling by air will always have an environmental impact, it’s refreshing to see airlines committing to offset flight’s CO2 these days and this is at the heart of the airline’s marketing.
The Nordic countries and their people are known for their commitment to sustainability in their lifestyle. It’s also something that worldwide travellers are considering more so than ever before when choosing their next travel destination for leisure breaks and which airlines have more greener credential than competitors.
SAS aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 25% by 2030 with the introduction of biofuel technology. Its long-term objective is climate-neutral air travel, which is very impressive indeed.
Other sustainability initiatives include the option of pre-ordering of food to reduce waste. There’s certified packaging on all its food too, which is 100 % sustainable. This means the paper comes from sustainable forestry and is free from harmful chemicals and heavy metals for the health of everyone and the environment. Natural resources are used in the natural circular process with no hazardous waste remaining.
Where to go, what to see and do in Aarhus
After landing, take an express shuttle to Aarhus which is the quickest and most efficient way of getting you to the city. Pick up an AarhusCARD at the passenger service desk in the airport to ride on buses and trains for free, as well as gaining free access to museums and discounts in stores if you use the card.
With a vibrant mix of youthful energy and a living history, the city is home to great attractions including ‘Den Gamle By’, the Old Town Museum which offers a first-hand experience for the whole family of Danish life in eras from times before 1900 up to the modern day, while the city’s ARoS Aarhus Art Museum is one of the largest in Northern Europe.
For foodies, there’s everything from Michelin starred dining to exceptional street food or opt to shop in international stores and local boutiques, explore the tropical houses at the Botanical Gardens or take in a concert at Musikhuset Aarhus, the largest concert hall in Scandinavia.
And, over all these attractions, the big appeal of Aarhus is that everything is easily walkable. You can also easily hop on a bike to see attractions within the city, or head further a field to wide open spaces near the sea and breathe in fresh air – as fresh as it can get – within the vast forested areas that surround this delightful city.
Where to stay
The Scandic The Mayor is a cosy hotel in the heart of Aarhus with the city’s magnificent cultural sights and shopping right outside the door.
The hotel rooms have recently been tastefully refurbished, and its renowned restaurant, GÄST, offers exquisite cuisine. It overlooks a tranquil park and it’s a perfect base to stay to explore the city. Prices per night per room start from £158.
Flight schedule and costs
Operating three times per week in each direction, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, tickets start from £72 one way, or from £131 return when flying with SAS. Aarhus is a great city for a weekend break to lap up a little bit of Danish culture.
Conveniently timed flights – departing Manchester at 11.10 and arriving into Aarhus at 13.55, and returning from Aarhus at 09.45, arriving into Manchester at 10.35 – makes flying with the airline perfect for business passengers and leisure travellers alike.
Watch this short video that shows just how much you can pack into a weekend in Aarhus when you fly with SAS.
Watch this short video from @manairport @SAS to @VisitAarhus to see all the tings you can see and do in the city. The three times weekly service will operate on a CityJet Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft ?? Will you be taking a visit? pic.twitter.com/y5iSRMNvLT
— Manchester Airport (@manairport) 24 March 2019