Sun Country Abandons Passengers in Mexico

Sun Country Removing Surly

 

Update 4/17/18: Read our final response to the Sun Country Mexico fiasco.  

Update 4/15/18 @ 2pm CT: Received confirmation from Sun Country that there will be NO recovery flights to re-accommodate the estimated 250 passengers (perhaps more) stranded in Mazatlan (MZT) & San Jose del Cabo (SJD).

Sun Country should have at least chartered two alternative aircraft to pick up these passengers on Sunday or Monday. Instead, Sun Country has created a PR nightmare for themselves.

 

We understand that winter weather can wreak havoc on an airline, especially a small airline like Sun Country. On Saturday, Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) received a foot of snow, which closed the airport for most of the day. This, of course, resulted in a slew of cancelled flights, including some of Sun Country’s last flights of the year on a couple seasonal routes, including flights from Mazatlan (MZT) & San Jose del Cabo (SJD). Rather than trying to work out a solution for passengers, Sun Country simply refunded passengers and told them on Facebook to find an alternative way home.

Passengers will be have to book expensive last minute flights home on another airline, and they will be required to pay for any additional lodging expenses on their own. Based on our calculations, Sun Country has abandoned two flights or around 250 of their Minneapolis-bound passengers in Mexico.

 

Discussion on Sun Country’s Facebook Page (MZT – MSP)

 

We were first notified by one of the passengers on the cancelled Saturday flight from Cancun to Minneapolis. They received the following cancellation email from Sun Country about four hours before their Saturday night flight. Before the flight was even cancelled, they started calling Sun Country on Saturday morning to reschedule. They were unable to get through to a Sun Country representative almost 24 hours later on Sunday morning.

 

Cancellation email notification at 3:30pm EST Saturday

 

As a result of the cancelled flight and inability to get through to a Sun Country representative, they booked flights on Delta for $600 (one-way) each, flying out on Sunday afternoon. If they would have been able to get through to Sun Country, they would have been accommodated on a later flight. Per a Google Flights search, the next Sun Country flight with open seats is currently Thursday, April 19th. Thankfully for Cancun passengers, these were not the last Sun Country flights of the year, as was the case for Minneapolis passengers flying out of San Jose del Cabo & Mazatlán. The last flights of the year on the San Jose del Cabo and Mazatlan routes is this afternoon (Sunday, April 15th), but those flights were likely already sold out before the weather event.

 

Bottom Line 

While being stranded in Cabo or Mazatlan might not seem like the worst thing, having your airline abandon you in a foreign country is unacceptable. Last minute flights can be incredibly expensive and additional accommodation expenses add up fast. Last minute fares out of MZT & SJD are an insane: $600 – $800 one-way for Sunday afternoon and include one to two stops unlike Sun Country’s nonstop route. What Sun Country has done to passengers flying on their April 14th flights from Mazatlan & San Jose del Cabo to Minneapolis is unacceptable. Now that Sun Country is under new ownership, is this what we should expect?

 

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H/T: Reader Scott A. 

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17 Responses

  1. Steve says:

    Another prime example of why you Don’t want to use the discount carriers despite their “cheap” fares!! Kinda like the saying “you get what you pay for”

  2. Traveler says:

    We dealt with the same issue. Tried to use the travel waiver to take a different flight CUN>MSP. Took 2 hours of trying to even get into the hold queue, and 1 hour of hold time to find out the next available return flight is Thursday April 19 (like you found). We booked wicked expensive one-way tickets home through Delta for Tuesday. Likely won’t fly SC again.

  3. Laurel says:

    Hello! Thank you Thrifty Traveler for this article. I, my business partner and several of the people on the retreat we just led in Tulum, Mexico have not heard a SINGLE word from Sun Country since our flights were cancelled yesterday. We were able to rebook with Delta, at a hefty price, and in the 3 hours we’ve been waiting at the airport in Cancun we’ve heard from Delta MULTIPLE times via email and text with updates on our flight status. This is ridiculous. Of the 17 people in our group, no one has been able to get through to an actual human at SunCountry or get literally any information on flights. Inexcusable.

  4. Melissa says:

    I am stuck in Cancun and have had absolutely no communication in over 24hrs from Sun Country- email, trying to call, texts- nothing! I rebooked on Delta and keep getting emails and texts with every delay. I have spent over 1k on a one way ticket and a hotel last night. Sun Country’s could at least communicate updates “hang tight we are trying to figure it out” NOTHING.. myself and group of others (some that have run out of medication etc) have been completely abandoned.

  5. Heather says:

    I am am abandoned individual in Cancun and quite outraged by the situation. Sun Country has had zero communication with us. An email yes when they cancelled the flight initially; however, no solutions for rebooking have been offered. There has been zero communication or follow-up. I have made dozens of attempts to also reach them by phone with only an automated message to be received followed by a swift hangup. This is completely unacceptable.

  6. Jay says:

    Yea sun country has been horrible since the new model and management. New confusing baggage fees, delays, bad customer service, horrible seats, half empty planes with plenty of overhead space and still won’t allow you to put your backpack up there unless you paid for it…..

  7. Sini says:

    I am in Cabo right now, and keeping fingers crossed that we will get out tonight on their last flight of the season. I booked this flight several months ago only because it was a non-stop not because of a low fare. I had no idea that they were sold to a third party with different values and business ethics. I will avoid this airline like the Plugue in the future and if I every have to fly them again, it will always include flight insurance. This is totally unacceptable. There is such a thing as Good Will and having an emergency plan. Their call center was swamped, and they had no back up service, then they closed their call center at 6pm. Sun Country, in an emergency you do not shut your call center down, you burn the midnight oil and take care of your customers.

  8. KBP says:

    We are a couple currently stuck in Tampa with a cancelled flight on Sun Country scheduled for today (Sunday 4/15/18). I was seeing last minute fares to return to Minneapolis for as much as $1600 EACH. Sun Country finally answered their customer service line after 40 calls and is offering nothing but a refund for the price of the tickets. They did have 2 tickets available on the same flight on Tuesday 4/24/18 but had nothing to say about what we were supposed to do for an additional 9 days away from home and work.
    We are feeling lucky to have found 2 tickets to Chicago for $800 tomorrow obligating us to only one additional night of hotel (so far) and will be driving the final leg from ORD to MSP.

    Looking forward to the class action suit…

  9. Steven M says:

    This is disgusting and I hope stranded passengers will phone their Congressional representatives Monday morning and insist that Congress demand Sun Country repatriate them at Sun Country’s expense via other carriers.

    Glad I flew Volaris to Mexico this weekend. Was cheap, great legroom, and as Mexico’s second-biggest airline experienced no b.s. and no problems. Oh and their App functions vastly better than American Airlines’ crappy app.

  10. Darla Larson says:

    Sun Country is also really putting it to their Florida Snow Bird Sun Country Travelers – their return one-way flights back to Minnesota from Florida are at a RIDICULOUS price… I do not think they care; as they have all these people held ‘ hostage’ To their price Gauging. I do not know who purchased Sun Country, but is already obvious that it is not Our beloved Sun Country airline anymore… sad but true.

  11. Ann says:

    Hi! Anybody else having issues with the April 15th Puerto Vallarta flight?

  12. Angie says:

    Yes we are abandoned here with a family of 7. 5 children. We are so upset & we will never fly with Suncountry again!! We can’t get home till Friday which is almost a full week past our time to be here. Crazy expensive for us for hotel fees not including the fee to fly home for all of us! Took the keep of Faith to fly on Suncountry which was a big mistake!

  13. Jason Seifried says:

    Frontier doing the same thing. I’m stuck in Austin for an extra two days and have to pay twice as much because Frontier abandoned us.

  14. Smart one says:

    Left Friday, 2 days early on my trip from Baja to avoid being stranded or delayed. Does not take a rocket scientist to see that Saturday would be screwed up for MSP.

  15. Kevin says:

    You can’t pay discount fares and expect top tier service. Read the fine print, always have a plan B (especially when you travel internationally regardless of airline), and get travel insurance!

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