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PHX-MSP-PHX On Sun Country (part 1)  
User currently offlineAlexPorter From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (7 years 12 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 7507 times:

Time once again to fly home for Thanksgiving! Since ASU ever-conveniently has classes on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I've been unable to fly a normal flight. Last year I wound up on a Thursday morning flight on NW. Fortunately, this year it worked out a little bit better as I was able to book a relatively cheap round-trip on Sun Country for only $250, involving a late flight on Wednesday night and an early flight on Saturday morning.

Sun Country Airlines flight 710
22 November 2006
Depart PHX 10:10P, Actual Departure 10:30P, Wheels-Up 10:40 P, Gate 18
Arrive MSP 2:05P, Wheels-Down 2:10 P, Actual Arrival 2:15P Gate H5
Load roughly 75%
Seat 8D
B737-800, N807SY

I used Sun Country's online check in on Tuesday night, since airport check-in results in a Delta boarding pass. Since I save my boarding passes, I wanted a Sun Country boarding pass. I left my house at 7:45 PM and took two different buses to the airport. Fortunately, both were on time. I take the city bus in Phoenix whenever possible since they are free to me as an ASU student. I got to the airport at about 8:40 PM and went to the Delta counter to check my bag. When I gave the agent my boarding pass, she scanned it and then issued me a Delta boarding pass, saying the one I printed wasn't scanning. Go figure. Fortunately, I realized that the front of the stub portion of the boarding pass didn't say Delta on it anywhere. I went upstairs and through security at Terminal 3. For a nice change, not only was the line short, but the security personnel were very nice and helpful that evening, and were quite patient with the people in front of me who had baby strollers. I got through and since I hadn't had dinner yet, I went to Wendy's and got there at 8:55. People were in line. But ever conveniently, they decided to pull the whole "we're closed" aka "screw you" thing where they close early. Fortunately my head was working that night and I was able to pay the last guy in line to buy me something! Screwing with the lazy personnel at Wendy's was the best part of my night!

I went to the gate after that. Since Delta handles Sun Country flights, we were at a Delta gate, although gate agents were employees of Sun Country. A DL 737-800 was at the gate. It had only recently been repainted and was sporting the "sharp" widget. About ten minutes before our plane arrived, they pushed the DL plane off to the side. Our plane showed up about 25 minutes late from MSP. That flight turned out to be 91% full (I counted people) which surprised me... I figured that PHX would have a lot more people leaving town for Thanksgiving than coming in... maybe they were snowbirds visiting relatives in Arizona rather than the other way around. Also, while sitting in the gate area, some angry man was talking on his cell phone, and said both "I'm waiting to get on the damned plane," soon followed by "I'm waiting to get on the God-damned plane." Angry passengers are often trouble, so remember this guy. For some awful reason the man was also able to get an exit-row seat that he didn't deserve (given his attitude), but at least it got him out of the gate area quickly.

N807SY is Sun Country's 3rd newest plane delivered in 2004 and the last one they received that had eyebrow windows. You may remember it as their first one to get winglets.

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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Michael Bolden


The cabin of this plane had various updates since my last SY flight on N806SY (which was delivered to North American in 1998), with new tray tables, slightly modified handles on overhead bins, and so on. It was even different from SY's planes from 2001 like N801SY and N804SY.

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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Erwin


The interesting thing about SY's planes is that they are configured exactly like the seat maps you can find on Boeing's website, with 12F at 36in pitch and 150Y at 32in pitch
and 4-abreast in F with 21in seats and 6-abreast in Y with 17in seats. Most other airlines have their B738s configured differently, usually with an expanded first-class section.

Boarding started at about 10:05, and I was in the second-to-last group to board being in row 8, which is row 5 of economy. One of the flight attendants seemed impressed that boarding was going so quickly and seemed excited that we'd be able to land on time. Less than five minutes after I sat down the door was closed and they did the safety briefing. After this, I remembered how it's a small world on Sun Country flights, with practically everyone being from the Twin Cities or greater Minnesota. In the row behind me, there was a guy about two years older than me who went to high school in the town I lived in until I was 14. We soon taxied out to runway 26 for departure. 26 is not a standard departure runway, but it was late and traffic was light enough to allow it. We climbed up to FL390. IFE consisted of audio entertainment but I just used my iPod. Service included free cheeseburgers and macadamia nut cookies as well as a standard beverage service. Since the flight wasn't full and so many people were either unappetized by cheeseburgers in plastic wrap or were saving room for Thanksgiving, seconds were offered for both the meal and for beverages. I had one cheeseburger, one cookie, and two beverages (orange juice first, then a Diet Coke). After a couple of hours, we started our descent, and landed on runway 12L. We floated for a LONG time - we didn't touch down until we passed the DC-10 (from HNL) about flush with the main terminal ticketing area! Yikes! But once we touched down it seriously felt like Autobrake MAX and we slowed down super fast! Weather was nice in MSP (and still is), with temps above freezing and no clouds. Overall the flight was pretty smooth, with the seatbelt light never coming on at cruise.

I called my dad when I landed. He was supposed to be on his way, but as it turned out he slept through his alarm and was at home 40 minutes away, and he left right away. We taxied to gate H5 at the Humphrey Terminal. Deplaning when very quickly. Unfortunately, none of the two flight attendants at the front said "goodbye" or "thanks" to anyone. The only greeting/farewell we got was from the gate agent at the jetway controls, who wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving. I went to claim C for my bags, and got there within five minutes, and probably less. I figured my Dad being late wouldn't be a big deal, since my bag never seems to come out in the first half of bags, and that I usually wait 15 minutes for bags to come anyway. Ever conveniently, the bags came out less than ten minutes after I got off the plane, and my bag was the very first bag. Isn't it great how things like that work? Anyway, ultimately we wound up getting home only ten minutes after I had expected. Sorry that there weren't any pics (that I took myself) but I tend to feel awkward taking pictures when I'm traveling alone. Tomorrow I fly back to Phoenix and I'll post part 2 after that.

6 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePanAm330 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 2691 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (7 years 12 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 7499 times:

Great report! I would like to try Sun Country one day, but as I don't live in MSP (or anywhere close), I don't foresee it happening in the near future.  Wink Are you going to be taking pictures on your return flight to PHX?

User currently offlineAlexPorter From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (7 years 12 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 7490 times:

Quoting PanAm330 (Reply 1):
Are you going to be taking pictures on your return flight to PHX?

I doubt it. Not much of a pictures guy - plus I only have my regular film camera with me (I noticed I had half of a roll of film left on it so I took that instead of my digital), and with regular film cameras they make it hard to take pictures. It will be dark at MSP. I could take pics at PHX if I wanted to, but when I arrive its pretty much straight to bag claim for me. I might take some in December when I fly F9 during the day though, and if not then, I'm flying to New York in December on CO with a friend and I'll be more inclined to take pictures.


User currently offlineAirCop From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (7 years 12 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 7336 times:

Quoting AlexPorter (Thread starter):
Depart PHX 10:10P, Actual Departure 10:30P, Wheels-Up 10:40 P, Gate 18
Arrive MSP 2:05P, Wheels-Down 2:10 P, Actual Arrival 2:15P Gate H5

One small error noted; you arrived eight hours before you departed. Inflight service sounded better than the service provided by MSP other major carrier.


User currently offlineCactusHP From United States of America, joined May 2004, 348 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (7 years 12 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 7310 times:

Nice report! Pretty neat how you got served cheeseburgers.


Sorry, I was on the landline
User currently offlineAlexPorter From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (7 years 12 months 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 7204 times:

Quoting AirCop (Reply 3):
One small error noted; you arrived eight hours before you departed.

No, we actually flew westward over the Pacific. And Atlantic. Something about favorable winds.

I actually did take pictures of my return flight today on my film camera, but once I actually develop and scan them then I'll write about my flight back. I took pictures because I was the only one in my group of three seats and didn't feel horribly awkward like I otherwise would have.


User currently offlineAlexPorter From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (7 years 12 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 7108 times:

Quoting AlexPorter (Thread starter):
Also, while sitting in the gate area, some angry man was talking on his cell phone, and said both "I'm waiting to get on the damned plane," soon followed by "I'm waiting to get on the God-damned plane." Angry passengers are often trouble, so remember this guy.

I realized I forgot to say what happened during the flight. This guy did the whole thing where during the middle of the flight he just got up and walked right through the curtain toward the first-class lav, even though the annoucement was made earlier for coach passengers to only use the rear lavs. Needless to say the flight attendant in first turned him right around and sent him to the rear. He came back with a big scowl on his face. I hate those people who are all cranky for no apparent reason at all.


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