If I had to sum up my recent Sun Country Air flight experience with one word, it would be: “kids.”
It is not the airline’s fault that I was surrounded by kids on my over three hour flight from Seattle (SEA) to Minnesota (MSP), but it did make my experience a little less enjoyable.
Now, I am not one of those who complains every time a kid is next to me. I know I was there once and I know that parents are just trying to get somewhere with their family. But when I have a gaggle of kids surrounding me and not behaving, I can’t help but take notice. Luckily the airline came through and over all I would still say I had a good flight experience.
Purchasing the ticket was quite easy and standard on Sun Country’s website. When comparing one-way tickets, Sun Country had everyone else beat by $70. Yes, I have miles with other airlines, but the $70 cheaper was too tempting. Plus I hadn’t flown Sun Country in years and wanted to check out how things might have changed.
Sun Country is a fun little niche airline. It started operations in 1983 and is based out of Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. They run a fleet of Boeing 737-700 (7) and -800 (10) aircraft. As the name suggests, the main purpose to take people from MSP to warm and sunny destinations. Because of this, many of their routes are operated seasonally, but flights to Seattle are year round.
All their planes are configured with 12 First Class seats. The premium cost gets you free food, a larger seat, free digEeplayer and smoother check-in process. However, when purchasing my ticket, I was looking in the economy section.
At the time of purchase, I had the option to pre-pay for my checked bag (I actually checked a bag this flight), but didn’t do it (I don’t know why), so it cost me $25 at the ticket counter vs the $20 online. I also had the option to pony up an extra $10 for a premium seat, which just means one near the front of the plane. After knowing where I ended up, that $10 would have been a great deal.
Check in at SEA was a breeze, and I was greeted by a very friendly agent. All I had for a carry-on was my laptop and a copy of the most recent Airways Magazine, so getting through security was not too challenging.
Having no carry-on gave me the benefit of boarding early (with all the kids). Good thing too because I was able to get settled before I was surrounded. Seat 27F — window.
When everyone was settled, I had a kid sitting next to me (probably 6-7 years), behind me (probably 5-6 years), two kids in front of me (2-3 and 5-6) and a number of other kids spread around my area. These other kids were quite young — I could tell because they all took turns screaming during the flight.
Right after take off, I tried to take a little nap. However, the kicking of my seat and loud talking kids around me stopped that from happening. That’s okay though, I really didn’t need the nap.
Being in the back of the plane gave us the benefit of having meal service first. I was a little hungry so I decided on a $6 GoPicnic snack pack with some crackers & cheese, apple sauce and Jelly Jets (airline shaped gummy candy — awe yea).
Even though I had a small child next to me he seemed to not have enough of his own space and kept running into me as I was trying to eat. Good thing I have a lot of patience.
The flight crew were very attentive, but they seemed a bit tired — like they have been doing the job for a long time. They were good and attentive with the children at least.
After the trash was picked up, the kid next to me played some sort of baseball game on an iPad. I can tell you exactly how the game went. The Yankees beat the Dodgers 13 to 1 — he was the Yankees. This kid announced every single play out loud, like he was at a stadium where people needed to hear him. It was quite annoying and although the mother sitting next time him told him to simmer down a few times, it didn’t work. That nap was just not going to happen.
I was able to distract myself with my iPhone and magazine until we were on approach to land, where my window becomes my entertainment.
Then as we were about to land one of the kids (not sure which one) started singing Old MacDonald. Then other kids joined in. Soon we had a choir of kids singing the song and although I probably should had been annoyed, I found it quite entertaining and cracked a smile. Although the smile did not last long.
Once I was getting off the plane, I was shocked. I looked at the floor where all the kids were and it was TRASHED. It was like they took out all the items in the pockets, threw them on the floor and then took their own trash and threw it on top of the pile. Then only half their food got in their face and the rest ended up on the pile of garbage. I cannot blame the kids for being kids, but can surely blame the parents since they did nothing to clean up.
My row, the row in front of me, next to me, behind me were all a big mess. I felt bad for the clean up crew — at least I left my little space tidy.
Even with the kids, I made it safely to my destination, well fed and ready to go. Minus the kids, the flight experience was positive and well worth the money saved. I just hope that my next Sun Country flight has a few less kids or at least some more responsible parents.