Sun Country flight cancellations cause spring break travel troubles for some passengers
Sun Country Airlines abruptly canceled a flight from Orlando to MSP on Friday night and had no gate agents available to help a stranded Minnesotan family find a way home.
BLOOMINGTON, Minn (FOX 9) – Katie Nelson recently spent a picture-perfect week in Orlando with her family, soaking up the sun and enjoying Disney World with her niece and nephew. As they were getting ready to board a Sun Country flight home to Minneapolis last Friday night, that all changed.
“We had just parked the rental car in the ramp and I got a text message that really said nothing more than, ‘Sorry. Your flight home has been canceled. We apologize for the inconvenience,'” said Nelson.
They went inside to see if a gate agent could help them but say no one ever showed up.
“The entire time that we were there (2-3 hours) there were absolutely no Sun Country gate agents. They left an entire plane of passengers completely stranded at 9, 10 o’ clock at night,” said Nelson.
Her family was forced to take matters into their own hands.
“At that point, we weren’t willing to risk getting home through Sun Country.”
The group drove a rental car to Daytona Beach, Florida the next morning, flew to Atlanta, and then flew to Chicago, where they picked up another rental car and drove home to Minneapolis. It wasn’t a cheap journey.
“We’re in over $4,000,” said Nelson, who adds that no one from Sun Country got in touch with her until after she was back home.
“This is their business practice. They don’t value their customers and my advice (to other travelers) would be don’t try to save a few dollars,” said Nelson.
This is the latest incident in a string of problems people have had with the hometown carrier. Earlier this year, delayed Sun Country luggage lined the walls at Terminal Two.
In 2018, hundreds of passengers were left stranded in Mexico after a blizzard canceled flights.
In the end, Sun Country did reimburse Nelson and her family for their original Sun Country flight and gave them each $100 travel vouchers. An airline representative tells Fox 9 Nelson’s flight was canceled due to severe weather in Florida and Georgia.
Nelson says she understands no one can control the weather and flight cancellations are just a part of life. What she doesn’t understand is the lack of communication she got from Sun Country.
“If you are going to fly Sun Country, explore travel insurance options. Just be brutally aware that if anything happens with your flight, which seems to happen fairly regularly, that you are going to be left to your own devices and you are not going to be able to talk to anybody,” said Nelson.
A representative from Sun Country sent Fox 9 the following statement:
Several Florida flights cancelled the weekend of March 11th and last Friday night because of severe weather in that region. Delays and cancellations can have a ripple effect in which crews may time-out (meaning they have to take a mandated rest period). Crew and aircraft availability compounds the problem of rescheduling travelers.
Like other airlines, Sun Country is experiencing unprecedented demand for vacation and leisure travel. After living with the pandemic for two years, our guests are eager to travel again for winter and spring break. We apologize and know these disruptions are incredibly frustrating and disappointing.
Like other airlines and industries, we are working hard to hire team members to increase our service to our guests. The best route for our guests is to call our customer service line to determine whether they can be rebooked, receive a voucher or a refund. Our customer service representatives are doing as much as they can to help each guest impacted by these cancellations. We encourage our guests to use the call-back feature so that they don’t have to wait on hold.
On Saturday morning, a mechanical issue caused a Sun Country flight out of MSP International headed to Montego Bay, Jamaica to turn around. The flight landed safely, and the flight was able to depart later that day. Passengers were offered meal vouchers during the delay.