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Sun Country Airlines has transformed itself into a low cost carrier. They brought in a CEO from Allegiant. They’re abolishing their elite program. They’re eliminating first class.
And in a sign, perhaps, of things to come they stranded hundreds of passengers in Mexico in April. They cancelled flights due to weather, but they were the last flights of the season. And they decided not to send planes to pick up the passengers, instead everyone was left to buy walkup tickets on other airlines. They claimed to have done it because they thought it was the best thing for customers.
Copyright: tupungato / 123RF Stock Photo
Now comes word that Thursday night’s flight SY117 from Minneapolis to Las Vegas took off without any of its passengers’ luggage. The airline called it an ‘error.’
I’ve certainly seen airlines decide to leave without luggage when baggage systems are delayed and they don’t want to delay the flight (and cause additional downline delays for more passengers whose flights would be on the aircraft). It’s unfortunate, and of course customers aren’t informed of this until they land generally. Although some full service airlines update baggage tracking via their mobile app.
However an error — not knowing whether baggage is on board — troubles me more. The pilot should be aware of this prior to pushback. I have to imagine ‘quickly’ is prior to takeoff, and that the airline simply decided not to turn around and load bags. They were already slightly delayed, and the plane would be making a return trip to Minneapolis later that night as SY120.
Sun Country is providing a refund of checked bag fees for the flight and a $50 voucher towards future travel. What struck me though is that for most passengers the wouldn’t pay for bag delivery, a majority of customers on the flight had to return to the airport to pick up their luggage the next day. They don’t explain what criteria was used for which bags they were willing to deliver.
The return trip to the airport — by car, burning gas and parking, or by Uber or cab at roundtrip expense — is as much a burden as not having bag arrive until the next day.
Remember of course if you’re in that situation — even with Sun Country — that the credit card you used to purchase your tickets may cover this. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card for instance will cover up to $100 per day for 5 days in expenses you have to incur without your bags when delivery is delayed 6 hours or more.
Now that Spirit Airlines is adding inflight internet, Sun Country seems to be on track to vie for intentionally worst airline in America.