April 15, 2018 10:17 PM
Hundreds of Minnesotans who escaped the historic snowstorm are now struggling to get home from destinations in Mexico, after Sun Country canceled flights and told customers they would need to book return trips home on other airlines.
In an email to affected passengers, Sun Country explained, ""because this cancellation is due to weather, and our seasonal service has ended, you will need to make arrangements on another airline for your return flight." A spokesperson for the airline said they had no plans to route additional aircraft to the affected airports in Mexico.
"As disruptive as the current situation is for the affected passengers, the alternative (cancelling other flights to other destinations in order to free up additional aircraft) would have been more disruptive to even more passengers," said Kelsey Dodson-Smith in an email. Dodson-Smith serves as Sun Country's vice president of marketing.
Customers like Brandon Larson, who lives in Prior Lake, said the decision shocked them.
"I was stunned," Larson said over the phone Sunday from Cabo. "Worst case, we assumed, you know, maybe Monday they'd send a plane down to get us all because the flight back is a fully booked flight. I just assumed, well we may have to be here for another day or two. I couldn't believe they weren't sending a plane."
Larson said he rebooked a return flight and spent nearly $2,000. He said the flight doesn't get to MSP until early Tuesday morning.
"It's very frustrating, and really, it's astonishing that an airline can fly you somewhere, specifically as part of a vacation package, and then just decide not to come back and get you," Larson said.
In Cancun, a dozen Twin Cities residents were in the same situation after spending the week on a yoga retreat in Tulum.
Melissa Schoeller and Laurel Van Matre, from Minneapolis, operate Gypset Yoga Retreats. Participants had their return flights canceled on Saturday. The women said they spent hours calling Sun Country's customer service line with no success. Sunday afternoon, the group was still waiting at the airport. Even after rebooking on other airlines, the flights kept getting delayed.
"We have people that have medication that are out of medication, people that are running out of money," Schoeller said. "A couple people in our group have high-needs children at home waiting for them. It's a mess. It's a disaster."
"There's absolutely no communication at all," Van Matre said. "It's not that hard to send a text or an email out to let people know what's going on with their flight."
Sun Country said because of the storm, it was forced to cancel 25 flights out of MSP on Saturday and an additional 15 on Sunday. A spokesperson said agents were working around the clock, even overnight, in the call center to help customers impacted by the storm.
"An April snowstorm is an awful way to start or end a getaway and we apologize to everyone inconvenienced by the severe weather," Dodson-Smith wrote in a statement from the company. "We very much appreciate our customers' patience and are doing everything we can to help them."
Updated: April 15, 2018 10:17 PM
Created: April 15, 2018 07:33 PM
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