Sun Country Spins Reduced Legroom as a Benefit

Sun Country cabin refresh

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Welcome to the spin zone folks. As was announced last fall, Sun Country is evolving to become a low-cost-carrier. This transition was pitched to customers as offering more choice but it has ultimately resulted in passengers paying more for what they used to get for free, including carry-on, advanced seat assignment, and standard legroom. While we understand airlines need to bolster their bottom lines, we’d appreciate a little less spin.

The transition to a low-cost-carrier has had its up and downs, including new management, new ownershipnew fees, and quite a fiasco for spring travelers abandoned in Mexico. Sun Country continued launched their next phase this morning by confirming more details related to $20 million in cabin improvements which will be rolling out this winter.

 

What you need to know:

  • The $20 million cabin refresh will begin in November & December, featuring new slimline seats
  • First Class will be eliminated from all aircraft, as well as complimentary meal service
  • Premium Economy will launch, which features 34″ seat pitch, two alcoholic drinks, and AC power
  • Seats will be increased to 186 on all their aircraft (up from 126 on their 737-700 & 168 on the 737-800)

 

 

New Sun Country seat map

 

Analysis

Sun Country will be removing their much beloved First Class product, which offered one of the best complimentary meals offered by any U.S. airline. The airline had to cut costs and those big First Class seats and expensive meals had to go. To replace those seats, they are gutting their current cabins and replacing them with new slimline seats which can accommodate more passengers and include less legroom. It will be great to get new seats with USB charging ports, but not at the expense of less legroom.

The new “Premium Seating” will be interesting and similar to Delta’s Comfort+ product, but we’ll have to see what Sun Country prices these seats at to see if they’re a decent value. It’s worth noting that the new Premium Seating will only offer 1-2″ more legroom than their old economy seats had before the new cabin improvements.

 

Translations from the CEO’s email

“the largest investment in our passengers’ in-flight experience in the history of the company”

  • Means more seats and less legroom so Sun Country can make more money.

“every seat in the new cabin will include free in-seat power and streaming entertainment to your personal device, as well a full tray table, comfortable leg room, and recline”

  • Means although we’ve cut your legroom, you now get a USB charging port, and a “full tray table” (what luxury).

“we will now offer three seat options: the option to choose an advanced seat assignment in a new standard seat, an extra legroom seat, or an elevated travel experience in a premium seat”

  • Means you now have the option to buy yourself out of an incredibly cramped seat with only 29″ of seat pitch.

“There will be many changes over the next year, but we are taking care to ensure that each decision keeps you and your family’s travel needs top-of-mind.”

 

Bottom Line 

The transition of Sun Country continues to roll on, much to the detriment of their once-loyal customer base. While we understand Sun Country needs to increase profits for its investors, few of these changes will actually benefit customers. While Sun Country’s older aircraft were in need of a cabin refresh, these changes are not the answer many Sun Country fliers were looking for. Sun Country’s management has proven time and time again over the last few months that it’s profits over anything else.

 

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Lead Photo Credit: Chris Lundberg – Flickr

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