After a spring snowstorm grounded dozens of flights at MSP, Minneapolis-based Sun Country Airlines informed passengers stuck in Mexico that service will not resume until next season.
Delays and the occasional flight cancellation are part of air travel. There is certainly no sense getting upset about weather interfering with travel plans – it isn’t the airline’s fault after all. When unavoidable delays do occur, it is generally accepted that the carrier will eventually get passengers to their destinations as soon as it is safe to do so. An audacious decision by Sun Country Airlines following a freak April snowstorm at Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) this weekend, however, may have permanently changed the conventional wisdom on this subject.
Rather than re-accommodating passengers booked on canceled flights home from Mexican resort getaways, Sun Country Airlines instead simply refunded the airfare and told passengers vacationing in a foreign country that they were now on their own. According to Minneapolis CBS affiliate WCCO, the carrier informed hundreds of tourists stranded in Mexico that because the canceled flights to MSP were the last scheduled flights of the season, stranded flyers would be responsible for finding their own way back home on another airline.
“Due to the severe weather in Minneapolis, the airport has been closed and your flight has been canceled,” the airline told stranded Mazatlán International Airport (MZT) passengers in communications obtained by Thrifty Traveler. “These were our last flights for the season, so we do not have another flight to re-accommodate passengers on. You will receive a full refund. Flights will need to be purchased on another carrier. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”
All told, it appears that nearly 250 Sun Country passengers on flights departing from Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) and MZT were forced to purchase expensive walkup fares on other airlines in order to make their way back to MSP. Passengers booked on canceled flights from airports where service was not scheduled to end for the season fared slightly better and were able to rebook on later flights with Sun Country.
“Our agents are working around the clock, some of whom stayed past their shifts to work overnight in the call center, to provide the best service possible to our passengers impacted by all this,” a Sun Country spokesperson told the City Pages. “The two most challenging recovery situations are definitely our Los Cabos and Mazatlán flights. As soon as we realized we would be unable to re-accommodate these passengers we let them know of the situation and gave them a full airfare refund to make alternative arrangements. For all other flights, we are re-accommodating passengers to get them safely on their way as soon as possible.”