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.
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H/T: Star Tribune
Ugh! Hate the way Spirit is. So much for home town airline will fly Southwest from now on. Saddens me.
when is this going to be in motion? my girls and I just purchased 6 tickets together for a December flight to Vegas through SC. Will we have to start paying our carryon luggage when we go? How disappointing.
If you’ve already purchased a fare you should be fine. It will be for new fares in the coming months.
I think you will be fine. This likely won’t effect already ticketed passengers and I would be surprised to see this happen before 2018.
Interesting change in strategy for SCX. While its unfortunate (who doesn’t love extra legroom and a $5 cheeseburger!), I think Sun Country really have to compete on price to stay afloat. They have a sliver of the business customer market who probably make up the bread and butter of Delta’s base, so they really just need to find ways to turn a profit. Whether this is the right strategy long term is yet to be seen, but I guess I can see where they’re coming from.
This sucks big time! People choose sun country because they don’t have all the fres. I think this will hurt the business they have. They service alot of families and elderly people, the people that don’t want to deal with all of that. Its just sad ????
This is concerning. I personally fly Sun Country and pay the extra to avoid those other airlines. This will be a BAD decision!
If they change to a low cost carrier I will not be flying with them again. I have flown on spirit airlines once and will never do it again. Horrible experience. I am a 6’1 male and the only place I can fit in those aircrafts with extra seats are in the isles. No leg room what so ever.
I have just read a bunch of your old articles covering this former “hometown hero”. I flew them all the time for years and really talked them up. Unfortunately when Marty sold out I experienced what they had become. The employees seemed as disillusioned as I was. And no, they did not keep Surly beer available. I have graduated to Delta and now enjoy the lounge access.