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Old 05-23-2018, 08:12 PM   #1
Adelard of Bath
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Default Sun Country Airlines

I'm sure this will affect very few people here at MO, but it was announced today that Sun Country Airlines will no longer be offering First Class on their flights, converting those seats to "normal" seats. All planes are getting gutted and fitted with the new "slimline" seats which people misunderstand as being skinnier, they are not, but they are "thinner" with less padding and stuff. The spin is that First Class was underutilized, and this way they can upgrade the flight experience for all passengers because all the new seats will have free power outlets for your devices! (yay.)

We go down to Disney about once per year, from Minnesota, and found Sun Country's first class to be fairly affordable and good service. The airline was sold to a New York-based investment firm late last year, and when we flew in February this year we noticed a complete downgrade in the food and drinks served us, and some other service things. They also recently laid off huge chunks of the "Sun Country family" of ground workers and contracted them out. The new changes (re: no more first class, seats being replaced, etc) were announced this afternoon, and based on the Minnesota newspaper articles I have read and the pages of comments on social media (not that they are a good source) it's not looking good for Sun Country. Lots of comments about Sun Country becoming the new Spirit/Allegiant/Frontier. Actually Sun Country's new CEO is ex-Allegiant.

But....the golden rule of airlines is......doesn't matter how bad your press is, if two weeks from now somebody wants to fly, and your tickets are five bucks less than somebody else, guess who's tickets they are going to buy.

Just checked today, if I want flights in January 2019, first class, MSP - MCO nonstop, Delta is the only carrier to offer this. Luckily the prices don't seem too bad.

I know this will affect no-one on this board...since they fly out of Minneapolis and don't have that many flights, really, and so far the changes are mostly to first class service. "So far" and "mostly" being the operative words. But it's big news in the airline world, and most of us here use airlines.
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Old 05-24-2018, 12:45 AM   #2
Lola
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Hello, fellow Minnesotan!
There are a few of us "first-class MN flyers" here on MO.
I used to love SunCountry. A true "hometown airline" with flights out of much-less-crowded Terminal 2.
Really sad to see this happen, but what you say is true. If it's $5 cheaper, they will sell seats. StarTribune article actually used the word "Allegiantization". Since I really dislike Southwest (especially for Orlando), I guess I won't be seeing much of Terminal 2 anymore at MSP.
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Old 05-24-2018, 08:35 AM   #3
zulaya
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Hey there fellow Minnesotans.

I got this email from SC and saw the fallout on social media, too.
Some people will see the legally published fare and not pay attention to the added fees. Those people SC will keep.

But with all their bad press this year, it won't surprise me if they struggle to stay in business.
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Old 05-24-2018, 09:57 AM   #4
Carol
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Here's the email message:

"Dear Sun Country® Family of Flyers,

I want to thank you for flying with Sun Country over the years — we are always delighted to have you onboard, and we are committed to ensuring that you always enjoy a safe, comfortable ride with us to your favorite places, people, and memories.

These are exciting times at Sun Country with lots of runway ahead. We are hard at work creating a new Sun Country with customer experience, comfort, and value at the forefront of our plans. There will be many changes over the next year, but we are taking care to ensure that each decision keeps you and your family’s travel needs top-of-mind.

As part of that effort to ensure we offer you an unbeatable value, we are excited to announce that we are investing in your Sun Country experience with a complete refresh of the interior of all of our aircraft to be completed by the end of this year. This is a huge undertaking — the largest investment in our passengers’ in-flight experience in the history of the company.

We are still finalizing the full details of the new seat options, but we are very excited to share that every seat in the new cabin will include free in-seat power and streaming entertainment to your personal device, as well a full tray table, comfortable leg room, and recline. We will also offer three seat options: the option to choose an advanced seat assignment in a new standard seat, an extra leg room seat, or an elevated travel experience in a premium seat.



On Friday, we will extend the schedule of flights for sale on our website to include November and December. If you are shopping for this travel period, you will see a change in our seat map and cabin class offerings. During these two months, we will offer a transitional premium seat product where our First Class cabin is today.

During the transition to the new interiors, customers who purchase a premium seat will still have additional leg room, more recline and comfort — all at a lower fare than our previous First Class option. We will continue to offer our complimentary soft drink service, and an expanded buy-on-board food option for all passengers. However, we will no longer offer the complimentary meal service that has been part of our First Class product.

Please be patient with us as we work through the transition. When we are done, the result will be a great flight at a great price for every passenger.

There is more to come, so stay-tuned — we will continue to update you as we finalize the details. Sun Country has a bright future, and we look forward to you joining us on our journey!

Jude Bricker
President & CEO"


Can't be sure, but it looks like SC is adding rows and decreasing the seat pitch. Hope they do not turn into another airline that goes to 28. Now they seem to be 31 - 33. I strongly prefer non-stop & terminal 2, so I may still give them a try or at least keep an eye on seat guru and flyertalk.

Wonder how much cheaper the premium sets will be than First Class. I really don't care much about the meal service going away.

Jet Blue just started to serve MSP out of Terminal 2 a few weeks ago. They may add MSP-MCO later this year. Hope so.
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Old 05-26-2018, 09:53 AM   #5
Adelard of Bath
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zulaya View Post
But with all their bad press this year, it won't surprise me if they struggle to stay in business.
They aren't the only ones with bad press this year; wasn't it a couple months ago that...who was it...American maybe? Dragged a guy off the plane, then like a week later somebody's dog died? That stuff all faded away with seemingly no ill-effects. Guess we'll see, huh.

I remember reading the Star Trib article online in December when it was announced Sun Country was bought by the private equity investment group out of New York...reading through the comments online, quite a few people were definitely of the opinion that the Apollo firm had a huge history of being a "vulture fund" who's modus was to slowly strip the value out of a product (Sun Country) and sell off what's left of it a few years down the line...didn't sound good!
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Old 05-26-2018, 09:57 AM   #6
Adelard of Bath
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol View Post
Can't be sure, but it looks like SC is adding rows and decreasing the seat pitch. Hope they do not turn into another airline that goes to 28. Now they seem to be 31 - 33. I strongly prefer non-stop & terminal 2, so I may still give them a try or at least keep an eye on seat guru and flyertalk.

Wonder how much cheaper the premium sets will be than First Class. I really don't care much about the meal service going away.

Jet Blue just started to serve MSP out of Terminal 2 a few weeks ago. They may add MSP-MCO later this year. Hope so.
I was under the impression that the pitch was going to start out bigger in the front, have a second size in the middle, and be tightest in the back. Some people don't care, I guess...

I, personally, don't really care that much, but what I DO care about is the width of the seats. So their "premium seats" in the front, my brain says, "Who cares, it's still three across" so I really have no reason for Sun Country anymore....dang

I did look into that Jet Blue with interest when they started at Humphrey, they don't have a first class product, though. Well, they do, but it's only between a handful of terminals, MSP not being one of them...or MCO, for that matter. Dang!
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Old 05-26-2018, 10:04 AM   #7
Adelard of Bath
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Originally Posted by Lola View Post
Since I really dislike Southwest (especially for Orlando), I guess I won't be seeing much of Terminal 2 anymore at MSP.
I am very sad to lose Terminal 2, also...it was so nice and quiet and lines were short, security took about a minute, parking was easy, pickup/dropoff was easy....

We actually live in Rochester so I may consider flying out of Rochester...get all those small-airport benefits. Downside is all the flights connect in MSP so then there's a layover involved...and I always seem to have to choose between a uncomfortably-short layover (like, if there's a weather delay, you might miss that flight) or a super-long layover. So we'll see.

At least I don't have to keep wondering when Sun Country is going to release their calendars for January...Delta's is already out.

Speaking of Delta...my brain still tries to say "Northwest" sometimes
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