Sun Country, Minneapolis' hometown airline, is set to massively change their business model. Sun Country's new CEO Jude Bricker, announced in a staff memo today that he will be implementing many of the cost cutting measures used by low cost carriers such as Allegiant, Frontier, and Spirit. This does not come as a surprise as Mr. Bricker is a former executive at Allegiant. Passengers should prepare themselves to pay for everything from carry-on luggage to overhead bin space and seat assignment.
The memo outlines the following plans:
- Pivot to a no-frills ultra low cost carrier
- Begin charging for overhead bin space, carry-on luggage, and seat assignment
- Add more seats to their aircraft, resulting in decreased legroom
- Offering buyouts to more expensive senior employees (non-pilots only)
- Expansion out of the Minneapolis market
As soon as I heard that Sun Country was bringing on Mr. Bricker from Allegiant, I was immediately concerned he would start cutting costs. While I am disappointed, I realize this is business and all the legacy carriers (American, Delta, and United) are having to offer new “Basic Economy” fares in order to compete with low cost carriers. Airlines will continue to charge the same price for a ticket, but now you'll have to pay for the amenities that were previously free.
Airlines have to evolve in order to compete in the era of ultra low cost carriers. I hope Sun Country doesn't forget their roots and continues to offer amenities such as local beers like Surly Furious, and other snacks such as Jimmy John's sandwiches. The personable staff and onboard amenities are what makes Sun Country different and also what endears them to Minnesotans. It's worth noting that Sun Country has not been losing money, they simply have smaller profits compared to rival airlines. Is ruining the brand worth the extra money? Sun Country was the first airline I ever flew, and it's concerning to see them change.
H/T: Star Tribune