Sun Country 737-700 economy class Minneapolis to San Diego

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01. Introduction: My 90-year-old grandfather’s first flight in 48 years
02. Sun Country 737-700 economy class San Diego to Minneapolis
03. Sun Country 737-700 economy class Minneapolis to San Diego

This trip to Minnesota ended up being really nice. It was really fun to hang out with grandpa again, together with the entire family at my sister’s house enjoying beautiful midwestern US summer weather. I’d like to point out that although he may be 90 years old, he wore me out. We golfed, we cut down trees, and we played billiards and ping-pong. The entire time. Where the hell does this guy get so much energy? As I said before, if I have half the amount of strength and energy that he does when I’m that age (if I make it that long), I’d be thrilled. The guy is a machine.

Now completely worn out and exhausted, it was time to head back home to San Diego.

SY401
Minneapolis, MN (MSP) – San Diego, CA (SAN)
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Aircraft: 737-7Q8
Registration: N713SY
Duration: 3 hours, 10 minutes
Seat: 6F (economy class)

sun country new livery 737-700

Sun Country 737-700 (N713SY) side view illustration by norebbo.com.

sun country airlines 737-700 seat map

Seat map (courtesy of seatguru.com) showing my seat for this flight to San Diego.

MSP to SAN flight path

Our route from Minneapolis to San Diego this morning: ORSKY9 OVR LNK J60 HCT J128 TBC PKE LUCKI1

Although my flight wasn’t scheduled to depart until 10 AM from MSP, I still had to get up at the crack of dawn to make the hour and a half drive from my sister’s house. Yeah, she lives out in the sticks. Well, technically there are more corn fields than forests where she lives, but you know what I mean.

There was a rumble of thunder in the distance as I rolled out of bed and into my rental car, but otherwise the mood was calm and still. It’s been along time since I’ve experienced a stormy midwest summer morning like that, and I was totally having flashbacks to my boyhood in Michigan. Why can’t we ever get storms like that in San Diego? I love being in Southern California more than anything else, but a little variety in the weather would be nice from time to time!

Remember how I said in my last post that the Humphrey terminal (terminal 2) at MSP feels like a small regional facility? I was getting that vibe tenfold this morning after dropping off the rental car and walking through the front door. Terminal 2 is nothing like terminal 1 (Delta’s home) and it feels like a completely different airport. As a matter fact, if you would’ve dropped me there blindfolded and asked me to tell you where I was standing, all I would’ve been able to mutter would have been something like, “uuuuhhhhh…”

Humphrey terminal MSP

The Humphrey Terminal here at MSP. Is this place a ghost town, or what?

Humphrey terminal entrance MSP

Let’s go inside and check it out…

Sun country Airlines check in MSP

This is the first time I’ve seen the ticketing counters here and I must say that I’m impressed. Looks nice!

I’m not at all complaining about this feeling like a regional airport though. As a matter fact, I quite like the Humphrey terminal and I think that it fits the spirit of Sun Country Airlines perfectly. It’s hard to explain exactly, but Sun Country feels like a down-home / modest regional airline to me, and I get the sense that they like to stay low-key. The Humphrey terminal matches this feeling spot on. It’s an older facility, and you can tell that it’s been there a while, but it was still clean and simple, and it was very easy to navigate through. There are no fancy shops or restaurants here like there is over in terminal one, and that’s not a bad thing. Just a clean simple airport without the fluff.

Humphrey terminal departures

A quick check of the departures board. I was a bit surprised to see such a large Southwest Airlines presence here!

Humphrey terminal Minneapolis airport

Before heading to the gate, I’ve gotta find breakfast. To be honest it’s slim pickings in this terminal.

Humphrey terminal MSP food

This was the best I could come up with. It served its purpose, so I guess I can’t complain.

Gate 5 Humphrey terminal MSP airport

Gate H5 is the place to be this morning. If you’re going to San Diego that is…

Sun country Airlines 737-700 MSP

No way! When was the last time you saw a 737-700 without winglets? This is my ride to San Diego this morning, sporting the new and not-as-exciting exciting livery.

The gate agents were offering first class upgrades on this flight for $199, and while it did sound tempting, I wasn’t really sure it would’ve been worth it. I had already eaten breakfast, and I wasn’t feeling any burning desire to sit in a slightly bigger seat for a few hours. Not for $200 at least. Those upgrades didn’t last long, however. There were plenty of other people with burning desires of their own who scooped them up right quick.

Humphrey terminal MSP gates

View of the action here at H5.

SANspotter backpack

Waiting to pounce.

Sun country Airlines mobile boarding pass

Sun Country doesn’t currently have a mobile app, but I highly appreciated being able to view my boarding pass from a web browser.

MSP airport Humphrey terminal jet bridge

Stepping into an empty jet bridge is a rarity when flying economy class!

Sun country Airlines 737-700 boarding door

So nice to see an airline that actually paints their planes in something other than white.

Sun Country Airlines 737-700 main cabin

Sun Country Airlines 737-700 main cabin.

Sun country Airlines first class bulkhead

If you’re curious, this is what the first row of economy class looks like. Decent leg room without a wall – not bad!

Sun country Airlines seat fabric

Yup. This interior is a bit dated.

Sun country 737 interior

At least I was near the front today, and I would be able to smell the first class meal.

Sun country Airlines 737-700 seat pitch

I won’t be partaking in that first class meal unfortunately, so I might as well look at my feet. Decent seat pitch here.

The weather was still a bit gray and gloomy as we pushed back and taxied around the airport for a bit, and I was quite looking forward to getting above that cloud layer and seeing a bit of sunshine. It was a bit of a wait though, as there seemed to be a lot of congestion around the airport this morning and all we were doing was moving ahead 20 feet and then stopping for several minutes. Over and over again.

737-700 no winglets

Seeing a 737-700 without winglets like this is so weird! Welcome to 2004.

MSP airport ground markings

I have no idea what all these ground markings mean but they sure look cool.

MSP airport departure

Turning onto the active runway. Let’s go!

Takeoff from MSP

There was a time in my life where this was the scariest moment of flight, but all I’m usually thinking about these days is the theme song from Top Gun (yeah, the Kenny Loggins one – lol).

Flying through clouds 737-700

Cutting our way through the hard dec…I mean…cloud deck.

Flying over northern plains

There we go. Out of the clouds and soaring over the northern plains. Hopefully we were leaving a nice vapor trail behind for all the AvGeeks below to see.

We eventually got out of MSP and climbed above the clouds, and that’s where this turned into one of my least-eventful flights in a long time. The first thing I did was stuff my earbuds into my ears and tried to start catching up on some podcasts. I say “tried” because I fell asleep within 20 minutes of departure and it was all a blur from there. Economy class sleep sucks, as I can never stay asleep longer than five minutes due to my head falling straight down into my lap. I’ve tried neck pillows in the past, but they don’t help. I actually find them to be more uncomfortable then having my face fall into my lap every five minutes, and to this day I’ve yet to find a comfortable way to sleep in economy.

SANspotter airplane selfie sun country Airlines

Every now and then I opened my eyes to get a look at the scenery.

Denver international airport from 35000ft

I was lucky enough to wake up just as we were passing over Denver International Airport.

Flying over Rocky Mountains

Not much snow in the Colorado Rocky Mountains this time of year!

Sun country Airlines 737-700 forward cabin

There’s a scent of hot chocolate chip cookies coming from first class…

Also making sleep difficult was the fact that the Podcasts we’re still playing, and they were causing me to have some really trippy dreams between head bobs. You have no idea how bad I was yearning for Asiana A380 business class right about then…

Flying over red rock Utah

The head bobs ended up being a blessing in disguise – I would have totally missed this if I were comfortably asleep!

I eventually gave up on trying to sleep just as we were crossing the Grand Canyon, which was actually a good thing because the weather was clear and I got it awesome look at the entire thing. I’ve flown over the Grand Canyon many times in the past (too many times to count) but this was the first time since my family trip to Arizona last spring. It was pretty awesome to look down on the Grand Canyon this time and be able to recognize all the roads that we drove on and all the spots we stopped at during that trip!

Flying over Grand Canyon

Nice to see you again, Grand Canyon! The view was spectacular flying over the south rim today.

Colorado river from 35000ft

That’s the Colorado River – which is also the border between Arizona and California.

Flying through clouds Southern California

Uh oh. Another overcast approach into San Diego today?

San Diego rolled out the red carpet for us with a beautiful clear and bright morning with awesome views of the entire region during the approach. I’ve had some pretty bad luck this year flying into San Diego in gray and gloomy conditions, but not today. They don’t call it Sun Diego for nothing!

Flying over east San Diego county

Whew! Thankfully the clouds dispersed quickly and the sun was out in force over San Diego county.

San Diego airport approach

Just a couple mountains to dodge and we’ll be there…

Balboa park San Diego approach

Balboa Park…

Little Italy San Diego approach

Little Italy…

Arriving at San Diego airport

And finally the airport!

San Diego airport jetblue gate

Parked at the gate and another flight complete.

Sun country Airlines 737-700 first class cabin

Walking through the first class cabin on the way off the plane.

San Diego airport jet bridge

I’ve totally lost count of the number of different styles of jet bridges there are here are SAN.

N713SY San Diego airport

One last look at N713SY. Someone needs to put winglets on that poor bird ASAP.

It was right about lunchtime when we arrived, so instead of going home right away I opted to grab a quick (and obnoxiously expensive) lunch from the food court. It was either that or struggling to create something edible with stale bread at home. It’s hard to justify the cost of such an expensive lunch sometimes, especially when there is food at home, but it had been a long trip and I was tired…so what the heck. Special occasion, right?

San Diego,airport food court

Ever wonder what $18 worth of food from the food court at SAN looks like? It was totally worth it though.

Delta 767-300 San Diego airport

Sitting right next to me outside the window while I was eating was this Delta 767-300 in domestic configuration. With only but a few left in the fleet, it’s nice to see them deem SAN worthy of domestic widebody service when that aircraft could surely be used elsewhere in their vast network. Perhaps we’ll see some A330’s here occasionally once these 767’s are gone?

Ride share services pick up San Diego airport

Patiently waiting for my UBER to arrive, already thinking of my next trip coming up very shortly. It’s gonna be a fun one!

I walked out of the airport that afternoon feeling like I finally had a pretty good understanding of what Sun Country is all about. I already tried their first class product back in December 2015, and with these two economy class segments on this trip, I can confidently say that they run a pretty good operation. Now let’s just hope that the new CEO doesn’t screw things up with his plan to switch to a low-cost business model. It would be a real shame to see such a good airline join the others in the race to the bottom.

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    1. PlaneBuddy September 6, 2017
      • SANspotter September 6, 2017

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