Flying Sun Country in 2017 is like flying a legacy carrier 10-15 years ago. That’s both a good thing and a bad thing.
My destination was Minneapolis and I wanted to fly non-stop from LAX. I figured that this was the ideal opportunity to try out Sun Country even though United Airlines (my usual airline) also flies non-stop. The first class ticket cost $298, a very fair deal for first class.
I arrived at the airport about 3.5 hours before departure in order to avoid traffic and get some work done before the flight. The check-in counters were not yet open for the flight, though I was able to successfully check-in online (and later obtain a boarding pass at the gate). Sun Country now participates in PreCheck and therefore I did not have to remove my shoes, laptop, or liquids when going through security.
While Sun Country offers paid upgrades at check-in (I wrote about them here), they are not a particularly good deal. At check-in, only 4/12 first class seats were assigned. The flight would later end up going with 10/12 seats occupied, though I figured there must have been some non-revs who were accommodated up front.
Sun Country now uses Terminal 5 in LAX, a fairly nice terminal connected airside with Terminals 4,6-8, and the Tom Bradley International Terminal. Sun Country has no lounge for first class passengers, but I was able to access the Alaska Airlines lounge in Terminal 6 using my Priority Pass card.
Boarding began on schedule at 5:10p, 45 minutes prior to scheduled departure. Unfortunately (for me at least), Sun Country allows the infirm to board first. That meant a a parade of senior citizens boarding first, hindering my ability to provide unobstructed cabin pictures.
Sun Country 426
Los Angeles (LAX) – Minneapolis / St. Paul (MSP)
Friday, June 09, 2017
Depart: 05:55 PM
Arrive: 11:22 PM
Duration: 3hr, 27min
Seat: 2A (First Class)
Two very young FAs welcomed me onboard. I noticed the Boeing 737-800 was clean featured Boeing’s signature Sky Interior. We pushed back precisely on schedule and were soon in the air:
Sun Country First Class Seat
The First Class seat is well padded but very basic. A single button controls recline. There are no personal TVs and there are no power ports (even though the center consoles are clearly provisioned for power ports). There is no Wi-Fi onboard or drop-down TV screens either.
Like I said, it’s how first class used to be on other airlines.
The pillow was quite thin:
Blankets were of the scratchy variety.
Sun Country First Class IFE
Further reminding me of the days of old, Sun Country uses DigE Players for in-flight IFE. These devices are free for first class passengers and available for a fee in economy class.
Very cheap disposable headphones were distributed: definitely bring your own.
There was a good selection of movies, TV shows, and games including Beauty and the Beast, which had just been released days prior. If I am being honest, although the portable player in clunky, it was like using an iPad and therefore much easier to use than a seatback screen.
The downside: the devices were collected an hour before landing. On a 3.5hr flight, that did not leave much time. I had to finish my movie on a United flight the following week…
Sun Country First Class Food
While the seat features and IFE may have been “primitive” by 2017 standards, the onboard meal was exceptional.
Bottled water was offered prior to takeoff.
Shortly after takeoff a warm towel was offered with choice of beverage.
Next a beautiful cheese plate was delivered with a nice selection of cheese, grapes, crackers and a delicious warm slice of toasted garlic bread. It felt like a Wisconsin Supper Club…
And then I waited. For about an hour…
Honestly, as the minutes rolled by I went from being pleased at the appetizer to angry that Sun Country would consider a cheese plate “dinner”…
But then dinner showed up. No choice–everyone received the same thing, and boy was it delicious. Dinner was beef kabobs with saffron rice and grilled vegetables. It came with a side Greek-ish salad and a roll. I was so pleasantly surprised.
And it was delicious too. Very flavorful and very filling. Truly tremendous.
Another hour went by and a big warm chocolate chip cookie arrived. I asked for a glass of milk with it and was told there was no milk. Bummer.
Many of you recommended that I try some local beers onboard. I hate to disappoint you, but I cannot stand beer. But there was indeed a large selection Minnesota-brewed beer including:
FYI, food is BOB in economy class.
Sun Country First Class Service
I mentioned the two young FAs and I found the service to be courteous and friendly throughout the flights. I was not addressed by name, but I wasn’t expecting it from FAs who dressed more like Southwest FAs than United or Delta FAs.
Sun Country First Class Lavatory
Not much to report except that the lavatory was clean:
If you are not bound to loyalty on a particular carrier or alliance, Sun Country represents a very nice value. “The hometown airline” of Minneapolis was a very refreshing experience. Then again, if you value power outlets and wi-fi, Sun Country is perhaps not for you. Personally, I look forward to flying Sun Country again.