SAS strike: What can be expected from fresh talks Monday? 

Negotiations to end the SAS pilot strike in Sweden, Denmark and Norway resumed Monday. But are the parties any closer to an agreement, or will talks break down? 

Talks to end the SAS strike in Norway, Sweden and Denmark resumed on Monday morning.
Grounded SAS planes at Arlanda airport near Stockholm. Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand/ AFP

SAS and pilots’ representatives returned to the negotiating table on Monday morning after pausing talks Sunday evening. 

The pause followed a 33-hour negotiation marathon, where the parties continued bargaining through the night on Saturday evening, which analysts had suggested could be a sign the parties were close to an agreement. 

Talks approaching ‘end of the road’

Chief negotiator for SAS, Marianne Hernæs, said today’s talks could be decisive in determining whether a deal could be struck or negotiations break down again. 

“It is starting to become irresponsible to continue. That is where we are approaching today,” she told reporters in Stockholm. 

As well as suggesting that the battle to find an agreement may be “lost” she said that the mediation process would only continue if the parties were close to striking a deal. 

“If we are close to a solution with only a few small things left, then we can consider a couple of hours more, but we will soon be at the end of the road,” Hernæs said. 

She added that a decision on ending mediation talks would be made by SAS management if an agreement isn’t found today. 

Ombudsman Mats Ruland was more optimistic when speaking to the press this morning and said that the parties had made steady progress in recent days. 

“I hope we can get a solution. That is my goal here, and I have not given up yet,” he said to reporters outside Näringslivets Hus, where talks are taking place. 

Jan Levi Skogvang, at talks on behalf of  SAS pilots represented by the union Parat, told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK that unions were also working towards securing a deal which would bring an end to strike action today. 

“We are working to finish, (we) hope SAS does the same,” he said. 

Roger Klokset, chairman of the Norwegian pilot association, told NRK that the group he heads would be willing to continue talks beyond today if necessary. 

Are the parties any closer to an agreement? 

On Sunday, Jacob Pedersen, aviation analyst at Sydbank, predicted that the parties were close to an agreement. 

“I have no other good suggestions other than it must be close. Whether it will be Sunday, Monday or maybe Tuesday is more of an open question,” he told Danish newswire Ritzau. 

READ MORE: Signs of ‘imminent’ agreement as Scandinavian airline SAS and pilots negotiate overnight

Meanwhile, Claes Stråth, one of the mediators involved in the process, said that progress was being made. 

“We have made a list of around 25 areas to be addressed, and many of them have now been reviewed,” he told Swedish newswire TT.

SAS also opened strongly on the Norwegian stock market on Monday morning, rising 8 percent minutes after opening. By 10:30am, shares had increased by 15.41 percent, which indicates the market is optimistic that the parties in Stockholm will be able to find an end to the strike. 

According to NRK, a key sticking point in the negotiations is the duration of the agreement to be made since re-negotiation and strikes won’t be allowed during that period. SAS is pushing for a deal for six, eight, or ten years, while a shorter term would benefit the pilots.  

Pilots are striking over wage cuts demanded by management as part of a restructuring plan to keep the airline afloat and the practice of not re-hiring pilots laid off during the pandemic. 

Axed staff have had to compete against external applications for roles with subsidiaries SAS Link and SAS Connect on less favourable terms than with the main airline SAS Scandinavia.

READ ALSO: Why are SAS pilots on strike?

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Why Norwegian trains are better for journeys with small children than planes

Travelling by plane with small children can be challenging, as they may find it uncomfortable to sit still for extended periods on a plane, especially if they cannot sleep or play. In Norway, taking the train is perhaps a superior alternative - and for a good reason.

Why Norwegian trains are better for journeys with small children than planes

Most parents are quite familiar with the challenges of travelling by plane with their kids.

Children can get frustrated by the discomfort and stress, get motion sickness, and experience ear pain – to mention just some of the more common issues.

However, due to their convenience (in terms of journey times compared to trains) they remain the most popular travel choice for long distance travels in Norway. 

It is no surprise, then, that travellers to Norway are often in for a pleasant surprise once they muster up the courage to embark on a family train trip.

From dedicated areas for kids to play and special places reserved for prams to facilities with changing tables – there are numerous upsides to skipping the trip to the airport and opting for a train ride instead (provided you have the extra time on your hands, of course).

Norway’s children-friendly trains

Sitting still for long periods of time can be challenging for both adults and children.

However, when you’re on board a train in Norway, it’s often enough to look outside your window and be amazed by the country’s numerous natural landscapes.

Furthermore, Norway’s major railway route operators – Vy, Go-Ahead, and SJ Norge– all have train travel options aimed at making the trip more practical and enjoyable for the entire family.

Go Ahead Nordic offers family carriages with plenty of space for a pram and easily accessible toilets with changing tables. There is also a separate room with a TV and games at the front of the carriage. You can find out more about Go Ahead’s family offer here

The train company SJ Norge has a designated area for prams that all those travelling with smaller children can use. Furthermore, while passengers have a variety of healthy food and drink options to choose from, there are no restrictions on parents bringing children’s food and drink on board (this is also the case on Vy’s lines).

If there is a café on board the train, SJ Norge staff can also help you heat up the children’s food (as will Vy). Furthermore, the toilets in the family carriage are slightly larger and have changing tables. On some SJ Norge trips, parents are also able to pre-order food and then pick it up in the café when they get hungry. If you’re interested in SJ Norge’s family travel options, check out this site

Vy, formerly known as the Norwegian State Railways (NSB), has a separate family carriage on the Bergen Line (Bergensbanen), with a free-to-use playroom for the children and an associated section with seating for the whole family from which parents can keep an eye on the children.

Below you can see a tweet from a traveller who was impressed by the facilities on board. 

Two costumed performers also regularly appear in Vy’s family carriage – Børdi the cuckoo and Bædi the goat. The duo make trips even more enjoyable for the little ones. Children can have fun, read or watch TV in the playroom, while parents can easily access everything they need – such as luggage, prams and changing tables – at the family carriage.

Note that you’ll need to select the “family” option when booking your trip if you want access to the family carriage. More information and tips on Vy’s family travel offer can be found here.

Why the night train is a good idea for a family trip

Night trains can be a great way for families to travel through Norway, as they offer a cost-effective, comfortable, and memorable experience.

Taking a night train can save time as it allows you to travel overnight, meaning that your family will arrive at your desired destination in the morning, filled with energy and ready to start the day.

Furthermore, they can often be cheaper than taking a plane, and they also eliminate the need for overnight accommodation, meals, and often high transportation costs to and from the airport.

It is also important to note that most night trains in Norway offer comfortable sleeping accommodations, a major upside for most families with young children who need a good night’s sleep.

Last but not least, an overnight trip on the night train can be somewhat of an adventure of its own for the children, offering a memorable experience of going to bed in one city and waking up the next day in a completely new place.

Most railway operators in Norway have special (think discounted) ticket options for very small children on night trains if you book a sleeping compartment for children and adults. Make sure to check the ticket options on the website of your selected operator.