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  • Konrad Tillman

Review: Sansa Airlines Economy Cessna Caravan Liberia-San Jose

Intro


This was a fun flight so I will try to make this a fun report😜.


For the next portion of my LATAM adventure, I had to find a way to re-position from Liberia to San Jose to catch a flight with Volaris to Bogota the next morning. The only option when it comes to flying is with Sansa which in turn causes a monopoly on all prices (more on that later). However, what is cool about it is that the plane taking me to San Jose would be a Cessna Caravan, and I hadn't flown one since I was in Africa 13 years ago!


Well, this flight certainly didn't disappoint. From seeing the runway when landing, to hearing the propellor on the Caravan, to rattling through the rough air on approach; it was so much fun!


Route- Liberia- San Jose

Plane- Cessna Caravan

Seat- 4B

Flight Number- RZ5745

Date- March 15th 2024

Flight Time: 49 Minutes

Price Paid- 157$


How I Booked


From what I am aware of, Sansa Airlines doesn't offer any mileage awards when it comes to booking flights. With Sansa having a monopoly, this short flight cost me 157$ one way from Liberia- San Jose. Yes, this is expensive for such a short flight, although I was flying on a Cessna Caravan so I would do it again in a heartbeat!


Transiting Liberia


After heading through immigration, which was brutal, to say the least (you can read about it at the end of my Alaska 737-900 review), I had to make my way outside of arrivals and back to check-in.


Immigration Liberia

Thankfully, the Liberia airport is small, so it only took a couple of minutes to get there. The departure area was deserted at this hour as most flights leave by 4 pm minus one to Canada at 7 pm.


Departures Liberia

Check-In


With Sansa being the only flag carrier operating out of Liberia (I believe), I was surprised to see that the check-in area had one desk on the very far right of the terminal.


Next to Delta??

I made my way over to the solo desk, which had a solo agent.


Sansa Airlines Check In Liberia

There was no line at this hour as the flight was still 2 and a half hours away from departure.


Sansa Airlines Boarding pass accrual

Around Liberia Airport


After immigration, I was petrified that the line to get through security would be just as long. Once again, it was empty!


Immigracion!

Okay, here's a quick note for anyone flying through the airports here in Costa Rica. Everything is ridiculously expensive, absurd. Even worse than the USA! A ham and cheese croissant cost me $ 13$ and a bottle of water was $ 7$. At least in LAX, I got a ham and cheese croissant for 6$...



Once quickly through immigration, I found a cozy spot to write blog posts and do some plane spotting. Am I flying on that PJ or the Caravan😉.



What a beautiful aircraft!


Sansa Livery

A Sansa Caravan was taking off to SJO as I was plane-spotting.




And remember that Air Transat Neo that was delayed...


Air Transat A321neo


Around 5:40 pm, I headed down to gate 5, roughly an hour before departure. There was a white Sansa plane that was delayed heading over to SJO. I asked if I could get on but apparently, it was full 😰.




As the sunset, no Sansa plane was in sight or on the descent, uh oh!




No information was relayed to any of the passengers until 7 pm, 20 minutes after the scheduled departure. However, I could see on FlightAware where our plane was!



Finally, at 7:15 pm our plane pulled into the gate, phew! I was getting worried there as I might have had to change all of my plans!


Finally!

She is a beauty, isn't she? Lit up at night, this might go toe to toe with the prettiest livery I have seen on an airplane.


Sansa Airlines Caravan

Boarding


Spirit Airlines, you might need to follow suit with what Sansa Airlines did during boarding. At 7:15 pm, the gate agents brought us outside and we waited by the boarding door as the inbound passengers offloaded. Within 10 minutes, the plane switched bags and passengers over. Seriously, Spirit, don't do this, we don't need more cost-cutting measures.


Let's take a look at our bird tonight, shall we?



Boarding


There are no assigned seats much like with Air Tahiti, and sadly, I was the last to board😒 due to my mesmerization of this Caravan. Here's our tail number for today's flight.



We made our way down the jetbridge, or should I say made our way up the steps of the flip-down door of the Cessna Caravan!😂


SO SO SO exciting

Here's a better look at three steps that take you from the ground into this little metal tube. Wild to think that to get up a remote jetbridge to a 777 is about 30-50 steps but for this Caravan is about a 1/10th.


Second flight: ready to depart

The Seat/Cabin


Seats are laid out in a 1-2 configuration across 4 rows, so if you board early, you should be able to snag a window unlike me😳.


Our flight today was relatively full, with only two empty seats out of the 12. I opted for the last row since there was somewhat of a window, more on that in a bit.


Cabin Sansa Airlines Cessna Caravan

Frontier you better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout I'm telling you why, Sansa's legroom is coming to town😉. The pitch was much better than I expected and was more comfortable for a short flight. High marks here, Sansa baby!


Sansa Baby, now hurry down the chimney tonight duh duh duh

Behind me was a small cargo hold for carry-ons. When you enter you drop your bags here, and when you leave, you pick them out of the "stocking". Konrad, am I really this excited for Christmas in March???


In case the sleigh (okay this joke made no sense) flew over your head, there are no overhead bins as the reindeer need to conserve their energy and the extra weight might tire them out.


It's like Santas Bag

Sansa is quite a safe airline, but in case of emergencies, there is an emergency exit behind row 4.



The Flight


After getting the clearance from ATC, remember: he sees you when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake🙂, we headed out onto the Liberia runway.



As I mentioned, row 4 has a partial window view.


Liberia requires a back taxi, but since there were no other planes around at the time, we had no wait.


Backtaxi Liberia

Eventually, the Cessna Caravan made it to the end of the runway where we did a sharp U-Turn.



We motored off from Liberia at 7:40 pm local time.


Takeoff from Liberia

A Cessna Caravan is a light aircraft and can take off on short runways. We were airborne way before we even hit the terminal!




The city lights shined magnificently from the plane.



For the first time in my life, I watched the lights reflect off of the wing. This now might be the coolest moment from a plane until a cooler moment later...



The rest of the flight was uneventful. It was a pleasant evening to fly and climb up to 11,000 feet from what the captain said. There was no IFE entertainment, no USB plugs, and the only snack service consisted of a cliff bar I had in my pocket😅.


Until we started our descent at 8:20... Suddenly, we were being thrown around like a dryer when you stuff all of your sheets in at once!


All of those worried feelings went away when we lined up at 8:28, the runway came into sight.


Runway SJO

The most memorable aviation experience in my life came from a flight in Africa. They oversold the flight and put me in the First Officer's seat for a 2-hour flight. It was also the only time we ever diverted, due to a Zebras crossing the runway😅.


It was amazing to relive a similar experience here.



Another quirk is how slow you fly compared to other jets when landing.



We touched down at 8:33 pm local time, quite a bit later than our scheduled time😂.


Landed in Liberia!!


After a few twists and turns we made it to the domestic terminal.


Cabin upon arrival

De-planing was efficient, looking at all of the US carriers as it is the slow boat to Manila sometimes😩.


There were multiple different caravans located all over and being maintained.





A ground staff member was waiting to escort us all over to the terminal exit. It was a short walk, but my bag was broken!!!


Domestic Terminal SJO

I called my Uber and made my way to the Airbnb I would stay at (more on that in the next post)!


Arrivals/Departures SJO domestic terminal

Final Thoughts


I am so happy I went out of my way to fly with Sansa. Reading online, I found a couple of bad reviews about them. However, I found them to be quite friendly, and they only slipped up when they did not inform us of the delay. Delays happen, and with a small fleet, you have to expect it.


All in all, it was a great experience flying with Sansa. The plane was comfortable (and safe), we saw the runway when landing, and everything was pretty much perfect for getting from one destination to another. Albeit the price was a little bit high, I think 98$ is more fair.


JETTOAJET SCALE


For this specific report, I do not think it's fair to rate it on my traditional scale. However, if I had to give it a rating it would be an 8.5/10.




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