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%
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.
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.
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.