Since Caribbean Sun (ZQ) started its service flight from Sint Maarten to Puerto Rico, it has been a great alternative for American Eagle/Airlines. For this year's spring vacation , we decided to take Sun to Puerto Rico and connect there to the Song service to Orlando instead of an overall AA
flight that would have cost us around $ 600,- round trip. I booked Song on the internet 2 months in advance and got a great fare at $198 for a round trip SJU
Last week - on April 24- we took the 7 o'clock Morning Sun flight to Puerto Rico. Sun is a nice airline. They fly the Dash-100 that takes you to SJU
in approx. 50 minutes. It wasn't our first flight on Sun and as with all previous flights, we left on time. The flight attendants are very friendly and the service during the flight consits of a soda and a snack (granola bar or something similar). Nice change compared to the no service on the overpriced Eagle. It was a smooth uneventful flight. Song arrives at terminal B which is again slightly better then Eagle as you don't have to walk that long to clear immigration. Immigration always takes some time in Puerto Rico especially early in the morning when a lot of people from the Caribbean arrive to connect to the U.S. mainland. It surprises me every time however that the immigration officers are very polite and friendly compared to our own; even with the large crowds they have to handle. This time was no exception. We had 8 hours to kill in Puerto Rico but we didn't mind as Puerto Rico is a wonderful place that offers enough to spend weeks so a day is a piece of cake. Song check-in starts 6 hours in advance so we had to wait a while before we could get rid of our luggage. Check in is made very easy. You scan the barcode of the print-out version of your e-ticket and follow the instructions on a touchscreen. There were some very friendly and helpful groundstaff who assisted people that could not figure it out. Before you know it, you are all set to go. I received my boardingpasses and we got the seats I had asked for when I bought my tickets on the web. So far so good. We arrived back at the airport about 50 minutes in advance. Boarding started on time and went surprisingly smooth considering the number of kids and elderly people that usually take up a little more time.
Song flies the 757-200 that is painted in fancy green/white livery. The cabin is entirely different then the (boring) AA
cabins that I am used to. Nice leather seats in different bright colors such as green, orange, purple and blue. Lounge music is playing when you board. I didn't measure the pitch of the seats but they were comfortable enough for a 3 hour flight. Legroom is sufficient. Every seat has its own IFE system with a fancy flat touchscreen and a head set that you may keep after the flight. The IFE has 24 (dishnetwork) live TV
channels with a variety of good stuff plus a flighttracking channel (that remains on during take-off and landing) 2 movies (at $ 5 each) loads of music and a music trivia channel. The trivia channel is extremely nice. You enter your name via the touchscreen and you can play music trivia with the rest of the passengers. After each question you see the list of players, their rank and their seat number and it is a great way to kill some time. The food service on Song is entirely different as well. They have a menu and you can actually choose what you would like to have such as a wrap, a salad with grilled chicken, cheese and fruit platter, a picnic bag or the daily sandwich. Song charges for food from 5 to 8 dollars. It is a little on the high side but the food (we took the veggie sandwich and a picnic bag with a glass of red wine) is very nice and I thought that the red Californian wine (which I usually do not like) was a perfect match except for the standard plastic cup it was served in. Something a little fancier -such as a wineglass shape- would have been better. Song even has a Martini-Bar with a variety of Martini's that are made by the F/A's as they serve you. All the sodas are on the house. You can see that the F/A's still like their jobs. They smile and they speak to you in a pleasant way. Nothing like to Robot style you see on so many other airlines.
The ride to Orlando took 2 hours and 40 minutes at a cruising level of 33000 ft. It was beautiful weather and the scenery when we were flying over the Bahamas was absolutely beautiful. The skies were smooth with just a minor bump now and then. We arrived ahead of schedule and so did all of our luggage. It was just one of those trips where everything was right.
I must say that even without considering the fare I paid, Song has an exceptional product. It is absolutely the best I have experienced for the shorter rides to or within the U.S. mainland. I hope they maintain this service level. Try it yourself while you can.