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Sun Country to fly tourists from MSP to Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis

Posted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 6:54 pm
by lavalampluva
http://www.startribune.com/sun-country-to-fly-tourists-from-msp-to-belize-st-kitts-and-nevis/492520431/

Sun Country Airlines announced Wednesday new nonstop service between Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Belize, making it the first commercial carrier to fly the route.

It will also be the first airline to fly MSP passengers to St. Kitts and Nevis, a twin-island nation in the Caribbean. Both seasonal routes will operate just once a week, beginning a few days before Christmas and ending in late April.

“At Sun Country, we pride ourselves on delivering fantastic value to our guests, connecting them to their favorite people, places and memories. Belize and St. Kitts and Nevis are amazing beach destinations that we have no doubt Minnesotans will be excited to flock to in the winter,” said Ben Brookman, vice president of network and pricing at Sun Country Airlines, in a release.

In Belize, Sun Country will fly in and out of the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport, about 10 miles northwest of Belize City.

It will also be Belize’s northernmost destination in the United States’ Midwest region, said Karen Bevans, Belize’s Director of Tourism, in a release. She said Minnesota is “an area of the U.S. that can really benefit from easy access to a tropical Belizean vacation when winter comes.”

St. Kitts and Nevis is southeast of the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean Sea. Sun Country will fly one roundtrip between MSP the island’s Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport on Saturdays from Dec. 22 to April 20. The Belize route will also operate on Saturdays during this same period.

These routes are the latest in a series of new destination announcements as the airline’s new leadership expands Sun Country’s network, including routes outside the MSP market. Earlier this summer, the airline announced new seasonal service from MSP to Nashville and more than a dozen new routes outside the Twin Cities.

For the past year, Sun Country, under chief executive Jude Bricker, has been refashioned as a leisure airline aimed at budget-conscious families. That means fewer free perks, but lower base fares. The rapid succession of change has created some problems, such as delays in customer service responses and baggage.

Re: Sun Country to fly tourists from MSP to Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis

Posted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:04 pm
by SurfandSnow
It's great to see airlines like F9 and SY that were once on death's door thriving these days. I flew SY for the first time this May RSW-MSP-LAX and found the airline as well as the MSP Terminal 2 experience to be excellent value for the price I paid. I would certainly not hesitate to fly SY again, although I am well aware that connecting through Minnesota at other times of year may be much riskier and less pleasant.

Bottom line.. the more SY pushes into niche markets like these (as well as expand beyond their MSP hub - it seemed like many folks on my flight were continuing on to HNL), the less they have to worry about DL!

Re: Sun Country to fly tourists from MSP to Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis

Posted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:43 pm
by flyguy84
SurfandSnow wrote:
It's great to see airlines like F9 and SY that were once on death's door thriving these days. I flew SY for the first time this May RSW-MSP-LAX and found the airline as well as the MSP Terminal 2 experience to be excellent value for the price I paid. I would certainly not hesitate to fly SY again, although I am well aware that connecting through Minnesota at other times of year may be much riskier and less pleasant.

Bottom line.. the more SY pushes into niche markets like these (as well as expand beyond their MSP hub - it seemed like many folks on my flight were continuing on to HNL), the less they have to worry about DL!

I wouldn’t exactly say SY is thriving....they are transitioning to a ULCC and their MSP flyers are in revolt.

Re: Sun Country to fly tourists from MSP to Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis

Posted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:00 pm
by canyonblue17
"Sun Country to fly tourists"

If you are not a tourist can you still fly on them?

Re: Sun Country to fly tourists from MSP to Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis

Posted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:07 pm
by slcdeltarumd11
flyguy84 wrote:
SurfandSnow wrote:
It's great to see airlines like F9 and SY that were once on death's door thriving these days. I flew SY for the first time this May RSW-MSP-LAX and found the airline as well as the MSP Terminal 2 experience to be excellent value for the price I paid. I would certainly not hesitate to fly SY again, although I am well aware that connecting through Minnesota at other times of year may be much riskier and less pleasant.

Bottom line.. the more SY pushes into niche markets like these (as well as expand beyond their MSP hub - it seemed like many folks on my flight were continuing on to HNL), the less they have to worry about DL!

I wouldn’t exactly say SY is thriving....they are transitioning to a ULCC and their MSP flyers are in revolt.


SY is going thru a transition that is for sure. It was an airline with many loyal flyers who looked at it as a local good guy airline with Service superior to Delta. They served excellent meals in first class! Now they are transitioning to a Frontier, Spirit, Allegiant type carrier. Alot of their loyal flyers are going to Delta, they are just going for the leisure low fare chasers now. The people who complain about them but still book again because its cheapest again. Total strategy shift might make more $$ similar to Frontier they use to be a local colorado airline people supported and liked now its just a ULCC

Re: Sun Country to fly tourists from MSP to Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis

Posted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:21 pm
by Redwood839
Aw chucks, good for Belize. Was hoping to see SJO on the list.

Re: Sun Country to fly tourists from MSP to Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis

Posted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:23 pm
by santi319
canyonblue17 wrote:
"Sun Country to fly tourists"

If you are not a tourist can you still fly on them?


Only in a-net do we have to pull up the O&D and VFR between the island of St Kitts and Minneapolis, so that no one gets offended.

Re: Sun Country to fly tourists from MSP to Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis

Posted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:02 pm
by Balloonchaser
I’m surprised that Sun Country didn’t mention anything about the other islands like SXM where hey suspended the service after the hurricane a year ago

Re: Sun Country to fly tourists from MSP to Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis

Posted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:58 pm
by boslax
So Sun Country will be flying tourists from MSP to Belize, St Kitts, and Nevis. I guess the big question is will Sun Country fly them back.

Re: Sun Country to fly tourists from MSP to Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:04 am
by MSPSXMFLIER
SurfandSnow wrote:
It's great to see airlines like F9 and SY that were once on death's door thriving these days. I flew SY for the first time this May RSW-MSP-LAX and found the airline as well as the MSP Terminal 2 experience to be excellent value for the price I paid. I would certainly not hesitate to fly SY again, although I am well aware that connecting through Minnesota at other times of year may be much riskier and less pleasant.

Bottom line.. the more SY pushes into niche markets like these (as well as expand beyond their MSP hub - it seemed like many folks on my flight were continuing on to HNL), the less they have to worry about DL!


The jury is very much still out on the matter of SY 'thriving'. Once we get into early 2019, we might have a good idea how well the revamped SY is doing. I just took my last flight with them over this long Labor Day weekend. Cashed in all of my UFly points and earned myself one last first class round trip ticket and hotel stay in Denver. Talked with three other neighboring passengers, each of whom had one more flight to go after this one, and then they too were done with flying SY. Our flight attendant in first class spent some of the brief time in-flight talking about her impressions of the upcoming changeover to a ULCC. She had no kind words for management's handling of the recent outsourcing debacle for ground operations personnel, etc... She quietly but firmly stated that she doesn't think that Jude Bricker can pull off the revamp and succeed and that it's likely that SY will eventually merge with another larger carrier. She's a 6 year employee of SY and since the initial news broke of the change in operations, she has heard more than an earful from longtime first class passengers who are angry and walking away from the airline, with most going to Delta. That's pretty much the story for me as well, plus I'm looking forward to trying out jetBlue also.

Re: Sun Country to fly tourists from MSP to Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:12 am
by tsbooker
After the debacle stranding passengers in Mexico, how "cheap" will the fare have to be to entice passengers to fly with them? Especially considering this is a weekly/seasonal service. For my money, I will go with the old motto..... strand me once shame on you, strand me twice shame on me. Another saying also comes to mind. The best indicator of future performance is to look at what happened in the past. I wish Sun Country much luck, but the rule of thumb in business is that you should get 80% of your revenue from 20% of your customers, and they seem to be targeting the once or twice a year leisure traveler. In a crowded and competitive market. Again good luck.

Re: Sun Country to fly tourists from MSP to Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:19 am
by MSPSXMFLIER
slcdeltarumd11 wrote:
flyguy84 wrote:
SurfandSnow wrote:
It's great to see airlines like F9 and SY that were once on death's door thriving these days. I flew SY for the first time this May RSW-MSP-LAX and found the airline as well as the MSP Terminal 2 experience to be excellent value for the price I paid. I would certainly not hesitate to fly SY again, although I am well aware that connecting through Minnesota at other times of year may be much riskier and less pleasant.

Bottom line.. the more SY pushes into niche markets like these (as well as expand beyond their MSP hub - it seemed like many folks on my flight were continuing on to HNL), the less they have to worry about DL!

I wouldn’t exactly say SY is thriving....they are transitioning to a ULCC and their MSP flyers are in revolt.


SY is going thru a transition that is for sure. It was an airline with many loyal flyers who looked at it as a local good guy airline with Service superior to Delta. They served excellent meals in first class! Now they are transitioning to a Frontier, Spirit, Allegiant type carrier. Alot of their loyal flyers are going to Delta, they are just going for the leisure low fare chasers now. The people who complain about them but still book again because its cheapest again. Total strategy shift might make more $$ similar to Frontier they use to be a local colorado airline people supported and liked now its just a ULCC


On my last two flights, in May to Las Vegas and again this past weekend to Denver, as a first class passenger, the service had really changed considerably. Outbound and inbound meals for both flights were simple cold wraps or cold pita sandwiches (both very bland) that were served with a bag of chips and a cookie from a plastic box. They were even limiting Surly Furious beers because of how much was on board and the selection of sodas was reduced. Before the announced changes, first class meals were quite large, hot and of very good quality. Pillows and blankets have been removed.

Re: Sun Country to fly tourists from MSP to Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:25 am
by MSPSXMFLIER
Balloonchaser wrote:
I’m surprised that Sun Country didn’t mention anything about the other islands like SXM where hey suspended the service after the hurricane a year ago


Looking through the Sept./Oct. issue of their CONNECTIONS magazine, it showed all of the recent route additions, minus Belize and St. Kitts, and I noticed that SXM was not listed. I asked the flight attendant if she knew why this was the case. She mentioned that because of the aftermath of hurricane Irma and the ongoing recovery that management decided against renewing their weekly Saturday service to the island, focusing instead on the addition of Aruba....and now of St. Kitts.

Re: Sun Country to fly tourists from MSP to Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:33 am
by asuflyer
SY has cut STT and SXM. BZE makes sense, SKB seems a bit unusual given that the tourism targets more high end travellers and it's not really known in the Midwest. SY would probably do better in markets like NAS, UVF or SJO.

Re: Sun Country to fly tourists from MSP to Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:11 am
by sunking737
As a one time SY employee, now retired I have a wait and see approach to them. The question is how much money will Apollo pump in before they drop kick Jude out of the crystal palace.?? It may take 2 or 3 more years to see things improve.

Re: Sun Country to fly tourists from MSP to Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:31 am
by lavalampluva
At least they’re trying. Hopefully they learn from their mistakes.

Re: Sun Country to fly tourists from MSP to Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 3:43 am
by Balloonchaser
MSPSXMFLIER wrote:
Balloonchaser wrote:
I’m surprised that Sun Country didn’t mention anything about the other islands like SXM where hey suspended the service after the hurricane a year ago


Looking through the Sept./Oct. issue of their CONNECTIONS magazine, it showed all of the recent route additions, minus Belize and St. Kitts, and I noticed that SXM was not listed. I asked the flight attendant if she knew why this was the case. She mentioned that because of the aftermath of hurricane Irma and the ongoing recovery that management decided against renewing their weekly Saturday service to the island, focusing instead on the addition of Aruba....and now of St. Kitts.

So even with the recent improvements and more to come... Do you think SY would reconsider it or do you think that they are going to let Delta take the market?

Re: Sun Country to fly tourists from MSP to Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 5:41 am
by MSPSXMFLIER
Balloonchaser wrote:
MSPSXMFLIER wrote:
Balloonchaser wrote:
I’m surprised that Sun Country didn’t mention anything about the other islands like SXM where hey suspended the service after the hurricane a year ago


Looking through the Sept./Oct. issue of their CONNECTIONS magazine, it showed all of the recent route additions, minus Belize and St. Kitts, and I noticed that SXM was not listed. I asked the flight attendant if she knew why this was the case. She mentioned that because of the aftermath of hurricane Irma and the ongoing recovery that management decided against renewing their weekly Saturday service to the island, focusing instead on the addition of Aruba....and now of St. Kitts.

So even with the recent improvements and more to come... Do you think SY would reconsider it or do you think that they are going to let Delta take the market?


Quite honestly, I’m surprised SY made any money on that route. Counting just US carriers, SXM is served by American, United, Delta, Spirit and JetBlue. To varying degrees, all of them have multiple daily and/or weekly flights to SXM. Sun Country only operated 1 Saturday flight during their years of service and for one year, back in either 2014 or 2015, they operated a flight on Wednesday as well (I was on one of those Wednesday flights, staying through Saturday of the following week). The island is definitely still in recovery phase. I have a number of contacts from my years of visits and while much is open on the Dutch side, the French side is not as far along in two big tourist areas of Grand Case and Orient Bay. Perhaps SY looked at things and decided that there was no room to turn a buck with the island still recovering and with having a schedule of only 1 weekly flight. If St. Kitts is a hit for them, they might concentrate on that route and return to SXM in a few years, maybe with more than 1 weekly flight? They are making a return to Aruba after being away for some time. I think it’s possible that Delta will add some non stops from MSP to SXM to take advantage of SY’s absence. I know I’d take advantage of that.

Re: Sun Country to fly tourists from MSP to Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:39 am
by illinoisman
Is there really a pent-up demand for cheap seats to go to Nevis and St. Kitts? Most people have never heard of those places, and those who have already have plenty of options available to get there. It would seem like the well-heeled travelers would be the ones who would go to these places yet SY decided to eliminate their First Class seating in favor of cramming more bodies into tiny seats.