Sun Country Slashes Change Fees

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Over the past couple of years, Sun Country has undergone a radical transformation.

The airline used to operate a hub-and-spoke network out of Minneapolis, had first class, and was surprisingly full service in not charging for carry-ons, etc.

But they’ve been working on changing that significantly — Sun Country has started charging for carry-ons, has launched more point-to-point routes not out of Minneapolis, eliminated first class, densified their cabins, and offered buyouts to senior employees.

For the most part these changes weren’t popular with employees and those in the Minneapolis area who liked flying them, though they’ve moved forward nonetheless.

What’s interesting is the change that Sun Country announced this week, which is downright customer friendly, and not what you’d expect given their trend otherwise.

The airline highlights how they’ve made changes that they think customers will like, including lowering fares by 25% over the past two years, “upgrading” planes with new interiors, adding new destinations, and introduction inflight entertainment that’s free to use.

Now Sun Country has announced that they’re eliminating fees when you change or cancel your flight 60+ days prior to departure. They’ve also lowered fees on close-in changes. You’ll now pay the following for changes, per direction per traveler (so a roundtrip would cost double as much):

  • Changes 14-59 days out cost $50
  • Changes 0-13 days out cost $100

As a point of comparison, previously Sun Country charged the following, per passenger per direction:

  • Changes 60+ days out cost $60
  • Changes 0-59 days out cost $120

Furthermore, you can now change and cancel select reservations only by going to MyTrips, which wasn’t previously possible.

Bottom line

It’s rare to see an airline make a genuinely positive change without taking something away. That’s especially rare for an airline that has been on a path towards becoming an ultra low cost carrier.

Now you won’t pay any fees if you need to change your ticket more than 60 days out, while within 60 days you’re even looking at significantly reduced fees.

Alaska took exactly the opposite approach — while they try to differentiate themselves when it comes to their product, last year they started charging change fees more than 60 days out.

Comments
  1. Any decrease in change fees is a good thing for passengers, but I can’t help but think the new rule will create confusion. Most people who do need to change a flight probably do so within 60 days of departure, and they may be surprised by a fee after hearing “No change fees” in marketing.

  2. Nothing really noteworthy here. They are literally copying the exact move that Frontier did about a year ago. Logic is simple, get more people to book tickets in advance and many of them will stick. If not, you still have a good 2 months to sell. It is win for the airline.

  3. For families that book way in advance for set times such as spring break this is fantastic compared to the ridiculous charges for either refundable tickets or the fees charged by mainline airlines. I know for my family and I if we are going to reschedule a vacation it is usually due to something much further in advance happening and we can just shift it.

  4. Cut change fees? OK.

    Stranded three more set of passengers and didn’t notify them? Yeah….
    Still can’t handle bags or take responsibility for lost luggage? Yeah…
    Bungled contracts which are still biting them? Yeah…

    They can keep the change fees and figure out how to operate an airline that is not ruled by the accountancy. I used to love this airline but once they transitioned to a ULCC, they have become a mess and not an airline anyone can trust with anything. I wish someone would purchase them and bring them back to what they were, which was a fantastic alternative to Delta at MSP. Sadly, the bean counters won.

  5. They didn’t exactly lower fares so match as change some of the fair into a seat assignment fee. There were zero free seats when I tried to book last month.

  6. Had a flight reserved for September 5th 2018 made on July 8th of 2018 to fly from Syracuse to Reno to visit my brother. On the 3rd of September my brother was hospitalized and had to have surgery. I called American Airlines immediately and cancelled my flight and was given confirmation # and told by ticket agent I had to use my ticket by September 5th of 2019. My brother recovered and came here on June 6th of this year and while @ the airport stopped and talked to ticket agent and he assured me in front of my brother not to worry about flight as long as I rebooked it by September 5th. On the 7th of July I called American to rebook and was told my ticket was a no go and had no value. They said I never called to cancel which is a lie. They also said they have no record of any call which is lie. After making more than a dozen or more calls and being jerked around one agent said their system shows that I talked to an agent on September 3rd of 2018 but it didn’t say what it was about. I’m out 503 bucks and have sent 2 emails to their customer relations and have not received any response. As a last ditch effort I went to the airport and talked to a supervisor that knew less than anyone I’ve talked to so far. She also told me my ticket had now expired. She was trying to get me to book another flight and then call reservations and ask for a supervisor and have her change the status of my previous ticket. Am I stupid? She said if that doesn’t work then you can cancel within 24 hours. How nuts is that! I called later and talked with an agent who was very cocky and good at stalling me and not connecting me to a supervisor. He then told me I have to stop talking to these agents at the airport and stop listening to what other American Airlines people. Being persistent I called again and demanded a supervisor who was absolutely useless. She has no authority to fix my ticket and didn’t know what to tell me. She said they have no # to call. I emailed the CEO #and I think from what I’ve read is on the way out. He’s another no show. American Airlines is great @ taking your money but any problems arise they’ll lie like anything so they don’t have to do anything. I’ve been mislead by so many people it makes me sick.Im not dropping this. I thought American cared but boy did I guess wrong!

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