Minneapolis to Saint Maarten

Flight Info
Departure Airport: Minneapolis/Saint Paul International Airport (KMSP)
Arrival Airport: Princess Juliana International Airport (TNCM)
Aircraft: 737-800
Livery: Sun Country
Flight Time: 5 hours, 11 minutes
Server: Expert
Notes: Part of @BenjiTheBull & @MrGoatX ’s epic Saint Maarten Fly-in!

After an early morning wake up, I arrived at Minneapolis - Saint Paul International Airport at around 6:30 AM, for my 9:20 flight to the island paradise of Saint Maarten! Security was quick and easy, and I made my way to gate H8, where our ride for the day, N830SY was waiting.

It was a full flight, but boarding was surprisingly efficient. After a de-ice, we taxied to runway 30L, and made a long and heavy takeoff roll. Seconds after departure, we began a steep turn southeast, towards the Wisconsin border.

A few turbulent minutes later, we reached our cruising altitude of 34,000 feet. About an hour and a half into the flight, not far from Asheville, SC, where I took this picture, the crew did the first snack service. I opted for the Bistro Box, which was more than sufficient for lunch.

The flight was uneventful, and smooth, so I took a nap. When I awoke, we were flying across the northern edge of Puerto Rico, about an hour until Saint Maarten.

We began our gradual descent over Saint Thomas. I was parched, and had missed the second service when I was asleep. The flight attendant was kind enough to bring me a bottle of water before we landed.

The stunningly blue Carribean waters streaked below us as we came in on final. As we passed over the world famous Maho Beach, I could tell something was off. The engines increased, the nose pitched upwards, and, by the sound of a mechanical thunking, the gear was retracted. We were initiating a go around.

A few seconds later, as we climbed over the runway, I spotted the culprit. A Cessna Caravan was unable to clear the landing strip quickly enough, thus making us execute this procedure.

We made a big loop just north of the island, and passed by the airport once again on downwind. As we turned base, our pilot made a brief announcement confirming my suspicions and apologizing for the inconvenience.

Yet again, we passed low over the white sandy beach, and flared. The back wheels firmly made contact right on the 1,000 foot markers, followed by the nose gear. After some heavy braking, we made the second exit and taxied over to our gate. Customs was a mess, as a lot of other international flights arrived around the same time.

Finally through the immigrations line, I could start my vacation!

At our hotel, I discovered that a spotter on Maho beach had seen our landing and posted it on Instagram.

To me delight, a JetBlue captain had replied to the spotter’s post with a picture of her own, taken as she was holding short of the runway while we landed.

LiveFlight Screenshot

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love it dude!

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Thats crazy! She got a good shot!


You mean NC?

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