Sun Country customers flustered with airline cancellations, customer service

Several Sun Country airline customers are frustrated after their flights were canceled, leaving them stranded in Florida.

Customers say the airline should have done more to help.

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Sun Country officials told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS in an email there were significant storms moving across Florida so the airline had to cancel flights. Sun Country said it sent out alerts early in the day to let travelers know there could be delays or cancelations.

“Sun Country guests can speak with customer service agents to determine whether they can be rebooked, receive a voucher or a refund,” Sun Country Airlines spokeswoman Wendy Burt said. “These storms would have affected not just Sun Country, but all airlines as well.”

Burt said the customer service agents are doing as much as they can to help guests impacted by yesterday’s storms.

“We would ask them to continue to try our phone line. Unfortunately, because it is spring break and the busy vacation season, flights will be full at this time making re-booking challenging as well,” Burt said in an email. “Given crew and aircraft availability we are limited in making more flights available.”

Some travelers said once their flights were canceled they had little to no help from the airline and they were stranded.

A weeklong vacation to Florida was the big trip of the year for a group of Forest Lake Boy Scouts.

“It’s a great experience. We had a wonderful trip,” trip chaperone Nicole Battles said.

Battles is one of four chaperones on the trip with 11 kids. Their getaway to Florida was extended, but not by choice.

“On Saturday on our way to the airport, we discovered that our flight had been canceled by Sun Country,” she said.

Battles said she called the airline to rebook dozens of times, but the lines were busy. When she finally got in touch, she said the wait time was four hours.

“There was no one at the ticket counter. There was no way to reach them because you just had that automated phone line. There was no way to get help,” Battles said.

The chaperones and the troop drove from Miami to Tampa early Sunday morning after booking flights with Delta.

Now the group is stuck with expenses they didn’t plan for: extra hotel bills and return flights with sky-high prices.

“The last couple of days have been pretty stressful,” Battles said.

Other travelers from Minnesota were also scrambling to make plans.

Casey Miller, left, reported being stranded in Florida after Sun Country canceled her flight home to Minnesota on Saturday. (Courtesy photo)

Casey Miller lives in Minnesota and planned to fly back from Florida on Saturday with her daughter, but she said Sun Country canceled her flight.

She said she tried to reach out to customer service but couldn’t reach anyone.

“I would call in and hang up and retry again. I think 175 times or something it was the last count,” Miller said.

She said the airline offered to rebook for a Tuesday flight, but that was too late.

Miller said she had to spend over $1,000 for a flight back to Minnesota on top of extra nights at a hotel.

Miller and Battles said they would never fly Sun Country airlines again.

History of cancellations

It’s not the first time the airline canceled flights leaving customers in limbo.

Sun Country canceled dozens of flights this past winter because of the pandemic, bad weather and an IT outage.

A month ago, 5 INVESTIGATES asked Sun Country officials if it’s possible to win back customers after a rough travel season.

“Anytime we make a cancellation, certainly a close in cancellation, it’s very, very challenging for us to do. I hope we can win those customers back I honestly do,” Greg Mays, Sun Country chief operating officer, said in a February interview with 5 INVESTIGATES.

RELATED: As Sun Country prepares to expand, employees raise concerns about staffing and fatigue

Travel advice

Thrifty Traveler, a Minnesota-based travel company, said if an airline cancels a flight because of reasons that are not weather-related, travelers are entitled to a refund to the original form of payment.

If you’re stranded overnight, travelers can often get a free hotel stay from the airline, but you have to ask.

Travel experts recommend purchasing travel insurance or booking the trip on a travel credit card just in case something goes wrong.