Sun Country suing ground handling company it blames for flight delays, lost luggage and massive lines

March 27, 2019 10:21 AM

Sun County is suing the company it hired last year to handle all ground operations at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, saying it’s responsible for a slew of flight delays, lost baggage and a 600-percent spike in customer complaints.

In a cost-cutting move, the Minnesota-based air carrier laid off 350 workers in March of 2018 and farmed out ground operations to Global Aviation Services Inc., based in Canada. It has no affiliation to the company with the same name in Eagan.


But it appears the move quickly backfired.

In its lawsuit, the airline claims the vendor “fraudulently induced” Sun Country to select them, claiming to have the experience, staff, and capabilities, “however, Global had no such experience, staff, or capabilities.”

The suit says the contractor “threw a wrench into Sun Country’s operations at MSP Airport, triggering a wave of flight delays, lost baggage, and customer complaints.” 

More from KSTP:

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Sun Country to cut 350 jobs, contract with aviation services firm

When the airline confronted the company, the suit says it placed blame on a “weak Minnesota work ethic.”

“I think it’s kind of a slap in the face to Minnesotans in general as well as to the good people they hired,” said Robyn Frechette, who worked for Sun Country for a year before transitioning to Global Aviation Services, Inc.

“Working for Global I felt like a chicken with my head cut off all of the time. So much coming at you all at once,” she said.

Frechette only lasted a few weeks once Global Aviation took over ground operations. She recalls the long lines, complaints and headaches with lost luggage.

Lindon Reber of Woodbury has first-hand experience with luggage woes on Sun Country.

Reber used to be a loyal Sun Country customer up until he landed in Vegas with his family for a vacation in June of 2018.

“Not until we were at the Vegas carousel -- that’s when they announced there was no luggage on the flight whatsoever… Everybody was panicked,” Reber said.

The plane took off without loading a single piece of luggage.

“It was a great airline, but it has gone in the tank,” he said.

Shortly after that experience, according to the lawsuit, Sun Country severed ties with Global Aviation Services Inc. 

The airline is suing for profits lost, due to damage to its reputation. 

A spokesperson for Sun County said it does not comment on pending litigation.

Thomas Gaffney, a lawyer representing Global Aviation, said the following in a statement:

"Our firm is national counsel for Global Aviation and offer the following regarding the litigation filed in Minnesota against our client by Sun Country Airlines: It is disappointing that Sun Country Airlines has decided to litigate a complicated contractual dispute in the press. Global Aviation is confident in its position that it properly fulfilled the terms of the contract with Sun Country Airlines and that it also properly terminated the agreement upon the required 90 days notice.  September 28, 2018, was Global Aviation's last day on the job. We cannot account for nor will we comment on the manner in which Sun Country Airlines has chosen to replace the services provided by our company. We are confident in our legal position and look forward to successfully defending, in court, the claims raised in this lawsuit."

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Ryan Raiche

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