Is it worth upgrading to a Best seat on the Sun Country 737-800?

Is it worth upgrading to a Best seat on the Sun Country 737-800?

The most appropriate way to describe the “Best” seats on the Sun Country 737-800 is to say that they’re the equivalent of the best seats down at your local automotive repair shop. They’re not very comfortable, but it’ll be your best option given the circumstances.

Sun Country claims their Best seats to be exactly that. It’s their premium seating option with the main benefit being a bit of extra legroom. Hard emphasis on the word “bit.”

Yes, I can vouch for the benefits of the extra legroom thing after my experience of sitting in a “Best” seat for 3 1/2 hours on a flight from MSP to SAN. Everything else though? Meh.

Minneapolis, MN (MSP) – San Diego, CA (SAN)
Monday, March 13, 2023
Aircraft: 737-8Q8
Registration: N809SY
Duration: 3 hours 24 minutes
Seat: 4F (Best seat)

Sun Country 737-800 (N809SY) side view
Sun Country 737-800 (N809SY) side view illustration by
sy407 flight track
Our route from Minneapolis to San Diego this afternoon as SY407.

If you really want to understand what the Best seats are like, be sure to check out the video I created which shows how they compare to the most basic seat that Sun Country has to offer:

A full review of my Sun Country Airlines 737-800 best seat experience from Minneapolis to San Diego

Having just experienced the Sun Country 737-800 Standard seat on a flight from Boston, I was ready to give their premium seat a try on my connecting flight to San Diego. Well, I was as ready as I could ever be for an ultra low cost airline seat, but you know what I mean.

A few words about the Humphrey Terminal at the Minneapolis Airport

Sun Country operates out of the “other” terminal (Terminal 2) at the Minneapolis International Airport. Officially known as the Humphrey Terminal, all you really need to know is that it’s the non-Delta one.

Terminal 2 inside MSP airport
$20 says that the architects who designed Terminal 2 here at MSP have also done a few shopping malls. It’s just a hunch. 
Humphrey Terminal 2 interior MSP airport
I think I see a Foot Locker up there on the left (past the food court)…
SANspotter sitting in the Humphrey terminal MSP airport
How is there not a Sbarro in this place? So bummed that I had to make do with a $5 cup of Greek yogurt instead. 
MSP terminal 2 interior
In all seriousness, I quite like the simplicity of the Humphrey Terminal. It feels like a small regional airport, which makes short layovers in Minneapolis really easy.

In addition to Sun Country, it’s also occupied by Southwest, JetBlue, Alligiant, Frontier, and IcelandAir. It’s not a bad little airport terminal if I don’t say so myself.

Sun country 737-800 old livery
What’s this? Oh, just the best airline livery ever created slathered all over the 737-800 taking me to San Diego this afternoon, that’s all. 

The boarding process for flight number 407 to San Diego

Holding a seat assignment for a Best seat on any Sun Country Airlines flight will automatically put you in the first boarding group (Zone 1). After families with small children (and those needing extra time), it’s go time.

Gate H4 Terminal 2 MSP airport
Looks like it’s going to be gate H4 today. At least I think it is (it’s kinda hard to see). 
Sun country airlines zone 1 mobile boarding pass
Zone 1, baby!

Boarding started right on time, and I ended up being one of the first on the plane today. So far so good…

Going down jet bridge to board sun country airlines flight
It’s not like being in Zone 1 matters all that much on an ultra low cost airline such as Sun Country, but it’s never not fun to be one of the first to board. Right?
SANspotter walking down jet bridge to board sun country airlines flight
My “I’m having fun” face needs some work, I know. 
Sun country airlines 737-800 boarding door
I like how it seems as if he’s having second thoughts. Amen brother!
Sun country airlines 737-800
Was I a little disappointed that I didn’t get to ride on a plane with the new livery? You bet. But I love this old livery so much that the disappointment was immediately canceled out by the excitement of seeing these colors up close once again. 

My first impressions of the Sun Country 737-800 Best seat

Truthfully, the Best seats on the Sun Country 737-800s are exactly that. They are indeed better than the Standard seats, so they’re technically not lying. It’s wise to keep your expectations in check though.

Sun country 737-800 best seats
The seats with the orange-trimmed headrests are the Best seats. We’re just going to have to trust their choice of words I guess, because they look pretty basic to me.
Sun country 737-800 best seats bulkhead row
Row 1 (the bulkhead row) does look pretty snazzy though. I should’ve picked a seat here instead!
Sun country 737-800 best seats row 4
I’m in row 4 today. That window seat is mine for the next 3 and a half hours.
Sun country 737-800 best seats extra legroom
Other than the orange headrest, this reminds me a lot of the Avelo 737-800 Extra Legroom experience. I’m not exactly sure if it’s Avelo who should be offended, or Sun Country.

Yeah, the Best seats are just a run-of-the-mill ultra low cost slimline seat with just a few inches of extra legroom. Those few inches do make a difference though. And of course that’s what she said. Why wouldn’t she?

Sun country 737-800 spacious best seats
A failed attempt to show you how spacious these seats are. Yeah, the extra legroom is nice, but it’s obvious from my body language that I’m not particularly fond of rubbing thighs with complete strangers. Not today anyway.
Sun country 737-800 best seat details
I seriously can’t even think of a single caption to describe this pic of the seat back. Moving on…

One of the most surprising things about these seats is that they include USB power outlets (which are located between the seats near the floor). It’s a perk that not all ultra low cost carriers provide, so kudos to Sun Country for being so generous. 

The departure 

Don’t let all that sunshine and blue skies in the following pics fool you. It was 28°F when we pushed off the gate, so you bet your bananas that I was happy to be a passenger inside the plane and not a ramp worker out there in the elements.

Sun country 737-800 pushing off gate H4 at MSP
Pushing off the gate. How happy do you suppose this plane is knowing that it’s headed to San Diego and not Lansing, MI? No offense to the residents of central lower Michigan, but I grew up there, and I know firsthand how miserable it can be in early March.
Sun country 737-800 new livery
Despite what your opinion is of the new Sun Country livery, you have to give them credit for creating something that triggers an emotional response. It’s a livery that most will either love or hate!
Sun country 737-800 taxiing to runway MSP airport
For the record, this is my second Sun Country Airlines flight today that departed right on schedule. I believe that’s grounds for telling the haters to suck a you-know-what.

It was a beautiful departure off of Runway 30L. Snowy and sunshiny departures are always the best.

Sun country 737-800 departing MSP airport
Yee-haw! (That’s what you’re supposed to say when you’re headed out west, right?)
Sun country 737-800 engine and wing view after takeoff from MSP
Just rippin’ out of MSP!
View of the snowy plains after takeoff from Minneapolis
I hate to admit it, but I miss snow (just a little).

It was a scenic taxi and takeoff to say the least. I even recorded a full video of it, which you can watch below:

In-flight entertainment

As you saw in my review of the Standard seats, Sun Country has a robust and well stocked in-flight entertainment product. It’s a streaming service of course, as there are no video screens integrated into the seats.

No matter though. There’s loads of great movies, TV shows (and even magazine) to peruse. I promise you’ll find something enjoyable enough to take your mind off how uncomfortable the seats are.

Sun country airlines in-flight entertainment menu and connection instructions
The title of the in-flight entertainment menu (and connection instructions) says “Reward Yourself.” Well, if I was doing that, I wouldn’t be flying Sun Country Airlines today. Just sayin’.
Sun country airlines in-flight WiFi connection
Connected to the in-flight WiFi! And is it me, or does “SCAplay” sound a little kinky?
Sun country airlines in-flight streaming entertainment service
Now this a nice collection of streaming content. From TV shows and movies to magazines, it’s an in-flight entertainment product worth checking out. It’s fast too!
SANspotter testing out the in flight entertainment in a sun country 737-800 best seat
I can’t say that I’m more than a little nervous about friends and family seeing “SCAplay” in my connection history though. That’ll be a tough one to explain.

The food

I knew that I would get a free non-alcoholic drink on this flight, but I had no idea that Sun Country served complementary snacks to passengers in the Best seats.

The look on my face must have been hilarious as the flight attendant handed me a bag of pretzels. And they weren’t just regular pretzels either. They were Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels (which are basically the best pretzels ever).

Sun country airlines food for purchase menu
The food for purchase menu. FYI, everything with a heart next to it is a Minnesota-based product. I’m telling you this just in case you’re wondering why it looks as if they claim vodka to be a heart-healthy choice.
Sun country airlines free snack for best seat passengers
Thanks for the free snack Sun Country!
SANspotter eating a snack in a sun country airlines best seat
There are two reasons for the surprised look on my face: first, I wasn’t expecting a free snack. Second, Dot’s Pretzels are the ****! I have no idea who Dot is, but she makes a damn good pretzel.
SANspotter drinking a Diet Coke in a sun country airlines best seat
Cheers to Dot! A true American hero.

Of course, alcohol and more substantial food is available for purchase. None of it is cheap though, so bring a lot of cash (or a credit card with a high spending limit) if you think there’s a chance you’ll want to buy a better snack.

Are the Best seats more comfortable than the Standard seats?

Yes and no. Yes, it’s a more comfortable experience overall thanks to the added legroom. But no, the seats themselves aren’t actually any better. These are not the same cushy first class seats that Sun Country used to have! They’re just same run-of-the-mill ultra low cost carrier slimline seats that you’ll find way in the back of this plane.

Crossed legs in a sun country 737-800 best seat
Yes, you can cross your legs in these seats if you’re under 6’ tall. And yes, you’ll most certainly annoy your seatmate when doing so.
Sun country 737-800 best seat comfort
If this looks uncomfortable, it’s because it is. I wanna cross my legs!
SANspotter demonstrating sun country airlines best seat comfort
Calling these the “best” seats seems to imply that there’s no way of making them better (and that they probably wouldn’t want to hear the ideas I have for improving them). Their loss!
View of snowy Rocky Mountains from the air
FYI, not being able to sleep in these seats isn’t that big of a deal when the scenery is this good. Mother Nature FTW.

The arrival into San Diego

One of the things that made our arrival into San Diego so interesting on this day was the fact that everything was so green. Southern California had been pounded by strong rain all winter long, so the hills were definitely alive with lush vegetation. It doesn’t happen often.

Flying over the Grand Canyon in a sun country 737-800
Flying into San Diego is always scenic. In the span of one hour, we went from the Grand Canyon…
Flying over the Mojave desert in a sun country 737-800
…to wide open desert…
Approaching San Diego in a sun country 737-800
…to rugged coastal terrain. I say again: Mother Nature FTMFW.
Flying over San Diego aerospace museum in a sun country 737-800
Yeah, seeing the parking lot of the San Diego Aerospace Museum so empty (even on a Monday afternoon) hurt my AvGeek feelings a bit.
Landing at San Diego Airport in a sun country 737-800
Welcome to San Diego!
Sun country 737-800 pulling up to T1 at SAN
Terminal 1? Really? I’ve lived here in San Diego for well over 20 years now, and Sun Country has always been bouncing back and forth between T2 and T1. They definitely got the short end of the stick in the latest round of changes.
Sun country 737-800 passengers arriving at SAN
Good news: With only 3 rows in front of me, it shouldn’t take all that long to get off.
SANspotter grabbing carryon back after sun country airlines best seat flight
Bad news: The numbness in my legs could make this challenging. “Best” seats my ***.
San Diego airport terminal 1 jet bridge for Sun country airlines
The worst part about this is knowing that I’m going to have to fight my way through an extremely crowded Terminal 1 once exiting this jet bridge. Ew!

All the pros and cons of the Sun Country 737-800 Best seats

Long story short, you’d be a fool not to shell out a little extra cash for a Best seat if you can afford it. No, the seats themselves aren’t all that comfortable, but the extra legroom can make a big difference.


  • It’s usually not all that more expensive to upgrade to the Best seats (which makes this an excellent choice for traveling in relative comfort for an absolute bargain).
  • Free snacks! You’ll also get a free bag of pretzels (or equivalent) plus a non-alcoholic drink – which is a nice compliment to the extra legroom.
  • Speaking of the extra legroom, it’s definitely enough to make a difference. Crossing your legs will be easy if you’re under 6 feet tall, which for me, makes all the difference on longer flights.


  • The seat itself is horrifically uncomfortable. It’s narrow, thin, and there is no bolstering to speak of. It’s pretty much like sitting on a bench.
  • You’ll have less of a chance of the seat next to you being open if you’re traveling by yourself. It’s usually very cheap to upgrade to the Best seats, which results in many takers.

Comments (11)

  1. Peter

    April 8, 2023
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      April 9, 2023
      • Peter

        April 9, 2023
  2. Thomas

    April 11, 2023
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      April 11, 2023
      • Thomas

        April 11, 2023
        • Scott (SANspotter)

          April 11, 2023
  3. Jude

    May 6, 2023
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      May 6, 2023
  4. Gregm

    August 21, 2023
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      August 21, 2023

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