MINNEAPOLIS — Sun Country Airlines apologized Tuesday for cancellations of six flights over the weekend, which came abruptly without any notification to passengers.
The flights, involving Minneapolis, Newark, D.C. and Las Vegas, were scheduled for Saturday but did not materialize due to a combination of factors, including unscheduled maintenance of aircraft and delays caused by a brief closure of Newark International Airport.
Passengers, however, did not receive notification of the cancellations until they arrived at their gates because of a misstep in the company's communication system, according to a statement from Sun Country.
Alycia Koziara, returning to Minneapolis from Newark with her mom after a trip to New York City, said she was confused about her flight because she never received any text message or email about a cancellation.
"Nothing," Koziara said. "It was panic among a lot of people."
Benjamin Thurn, meanwhile, got stuck in D.C.
"The television screen showing the flight just said, 'flight to Minneapolis canceled; There was nobody waiting at the gate to explain that," Thurn said.
In its statement, the company said it recently upgraded its communications system but that "this was the first flight cancellation we have executed since the overhaul, and unfortunately, a step that triggers customer communication was missed in the cancellation process."
Sun Country will offer passengers a $200 voucher, a refund of Sun County flights and reimbursement for any hotel costs.
But for some, the damage is already done.
I don't think you can explain away why you just left people at the airport without any representation or even acknowledgment," Koziara said. "So, I think they need to set it right with everybody."
Full statement from Sun Country:
"We sincerely apologize to all the passengers on the six flights canceled on Saturday, June 29. We had multiple unrelated and unplanned operational challenges that forced cancellations. However, what is understandably even more frustrating to customers is the lack of communication. We recently completed an overhaul and upgrade of our reservations and customer communication technology. This was the first flight cancellation we have executed since the overhaul, and unfortunately, a step that triggers customer communication was missed in the cancellation process.
This is not the customer experience we strive to offer or that our guests should expect. Each passenger has been issued a $200 voucher towards future travel, and we are hopeful they will give us another chance to provide an exceptional flight experience in the future. We will also reimburse hotel costs incurred by passengers who were away from home and not able to get out on a flight the same day, and a refund of all Sun Country flights booked on their itinerary. At the time, passengers had the option to either rebook on the next available flight or receive a refund."