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Ben Gilbert from Leeds in England competes to win a trip to New York.
Ben Gilbert from Leeds in England competes to win a trip to New York.


In this seat, you’ll be asleep in a flash

It won’t take you more than six minutes to fall asleep in SAS’s new fully flat seat, a fact demonstrated in SAS’s fun sleep competition, the Comfy Challenge, held at Oslo Gardermoen Airport.

Many of SAS’s passengers travel more than five times a year, and so being able to sleep in comfort during their flights is very important. It was this specific group of traveler that SAS had in mind when developing its new long-haul cabin with seats in SAS Business that can be folded out fully flat. The associated bedding is made by Swedish bed manufacturer Hästens, renowned for their beds made from natural materials. Together with “mood lights”, which can be changed throughout the flight, everything is in place to enable you to get a good sleep during your journey.

“We’re very proud about the new seat, and firmly believe in the level of comfort it delivers,” says SAS Head of Marketing Marianne Orderud.

SAS new cabins were released in March, with brand new chairs in SAS Business. The will make you feel like you are sleeping in a hotel.


The travelers at Gardermoen could follow how long it took for the contestants to reach their dreams. Foto: Inga Ragnhild HolstSAS invited a number of travelers on an international flight from Oslo Gardermoen to take part in the Comfy Challenge. Not only would these passengers try out the new fully flat seat, but they would also find out how easy it was to fall asleep in it. The rules were simple: Lie on the bed, put ear plugs in your ears and go to sleep. The participants were given a maximum of 15 minutes to drop off. The one who did it in the shortest time would win a trip to New York. There was no possibility of cheating as the participants were hooked up to electrodes that measured their brain activity, precisely determining the time at which they fell asleep. The competition was monitored by sleep researcher and psychologist Øystein Vedaa from Bergen University.

“We’ve received excellent feedback from our customers since we launched the new long haul cabin, and this was an informal, but exciting test to investigate how comfortable our new seats are,” says Orderud.

On the day of the competition, the airport was busy and there was a big crowd of bystanders. Some fell asleep within eight or nine minutes of cabin crew pulling the covers over them. Others, like Alejandro Riggi from Venezuela, took less time. Within seven minutes, he was sleeping like a baby.

“Even though the hall was very noisy, I managed to fall asleep. The bed was just that comfortable,” he says.

But the person to fall asleep the quickest was dancer Wilhelm Blomberg from Helsinki. He was fast asleep in the new seat after only six minutes and two seconds.

“Sleeping in the seat was a wonderful experience. I thoroughly enjoyed it,” he said, taking the opportunity to sleep for a full 15 minutes at the gate. 

He’s now planning to use his prize to travel to New York on SAS.

“I’m starting a professional dancing career. This trip means a lot to me,” he says. 

Wilhelm Blomberg fell asleep like a rock after only six minutes. That made him the winner in the Comfy Challenge and the winner of a trip to New York.

Good bed, good sleep
Everyone knows that sleep is important. But what exactly constitutes good sleep? Øystein Vedaa , a psychologist and doctoral candidate in the Department of Psychosocial Science at the University of Bergen, conducts research on the area of sleep. He believes that good sleep is about being rested.

“You sleep well when you wake up and feel as though you’re set for a good day,” he told Scandinaviantraveler.com

“And having a good bed is important.”

“In order to fall asleep, you must first reach a state of corporal deactivation. A good bed allows your muscles to relax, meaning that your body can deactivate and go to sleep. You will experience poorer quality and more disrupted sleep if you can’t lie comfortably and stretch out your legs, which often happens when you sleep in an upright airplane seat,” he continued.

On an SAS flight, you can stretch out as far as you are able and will quickly fall asleep, Wilhelm Blomberg is living proof of that.

Text: Inga Ragnhild Holst

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