Sun Country Takes Flight to the North Pole

Flight SY1224 operated with nonstop service from Minneapolis to the North Pole. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Tom Pallini)

While Sun Country Airlines is known for transporting Minnesotans down south to destinations out of the cold during the winter season, the airline conducted a special flight to an even colder destination than Minneapolis, the North Pole. Onboard the special wintry charter flight were over 150 passengers consisting of children in the Make-A-Wish Minnesota program and their families, all making the journey to meet Santa Claus.

Sun Country is known for flying to seasonal destinations but the North Pole in the middle of winter is a unique one for the airline. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Tom Pallini)
Check-in operated just as any normal Sun Country flight would. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Tom Pallini)

Arriving at Minneapolis’ Humphrey Terminal, the passengers checking in for the flight as they would any other. The flight was the last Sun Country flight to depart out of the terminal for the night, so the attendees had the whole Sun Country section of the terminal to themselves, with the TSA even opening a dedicated checkpoint just for the event.

Flight attendants, airport crew and volunteers all dressed up to send off the flight to the North Pole. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Tom Pallini)
Sunny the Bear was in attendance to check tickets and give well wishes before the flight. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Tom Pallini)

Gate H7 would serve as our departure gate where snacks, holiday-themed activities and even a visit from the Country Bear kept everybody entertained until boarding. The aircraft that would take us to the North Pole was none other than N861AM, Sun Country’s first fully-owned and newly-painted Boeing 737-800 complete with a new interior.

The special flight for the North Pole departed out of Gate H7. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Tom Pallini)
Before boarding the flight, children had the opportunity to write and mail letters to Santa. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Tom Pallini)

The flight to the North Pole would be the aircraft’s first and its passengers the first to fly on the aircraft though I doubt any of them were taking notice since they were off to the North Pole. Although having recently been retrofitted with Sun Country’s now low-cost interior, the cabin was touched up even further with holiday decorations, as any North Pole transport would be.

N861AM had already received a cabin update to feature Sun Country’s new interior but it received another one for the flight to the North Pole. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Tom Pallini)

After an on-time departure, our journey to the North Pole began. First, we needed to taxi over to the de-icing stand where we would get sprayed with “magic jet fuel” to help expedite our journey up north. Once that was complete, we were instructed to put the window shades down so the magic fuel could take effect, shortening the flight time from Minneapolis to the North Pole to less than 10-minutes.

Our sleigh drivers for the night. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Tom Pallini)

Miraculously, we had arrived at the North Pole. We stepped off of the plane and into Santa’s Workshop with the big man himself there to great us. Inside the winter wonderland, there were plenty of festivities to keep everybody company, from coloring to games and even photos with Santa. Sun Country even sent ahead gifts for the children that included airport playsets and miniature Country Bears.

Activities at Santa’s Workshop in the North Pole. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Tom Pallini)

The festivities, along with a complement of hot chocolate and cookies, kept the evening going for a few hours until it was time to head back to Minneapolis. Although we needed to take a flight to get there, returning home was a simple as walking through Santa’s magic portal, only good for one way travel from the North Pole.

Sun Country Airlines CEO played the role as Santa Claus for the night. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Tom Pallini)

Thomas Pallini

Tom has been flying for as long as he can remember. His first flight memory was on a Song Airlines 757 flying from LaGuardia to Orlando. Back then, he was afraid to fly because he thought you needed to jump off the plane in order to get off. Some years later, Tom is now a seasoned traveler, often flying to places just for the fun of it. Most of the time, he'll never leave the airport on his trips. If he's not at home or at work as a Line Service Technician at Long Island MacArthur Airport, he's off flying somewhere, but only for the day.
Thomas Pallini