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.
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.