Sun Country Just Took the Next Step to Become More Like Spirit

Oct 23, 2017

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It’s no surprise that Sun Country is entering the ultra low-cost carrier market. And just a few months after it announced its intentions to become a ULCC, the carrier already has new plans in place for how it’ll charge customers for their bags and seat selections.

Effective October 25, 2017, Sun Country is changing its baggage policies, making it more expensive to carry your bags on a Sun Country flight than if you were to check your luggage. The way that the carrier’s rolling out its new fee structure is complicated, and how much you’re charged will depend on your travel dates and when your trip was booked. For new coach class bookings made on or after October 25, 2017 for travel beginning on or after January 19, 2018, you can choose from one of three pre-purchased bundle options:

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If you’re traveling light with just a personal item, you won’t have to pay for anything. Where the more expensive carry-on price comes into play is with the Check & Go and Store & Go packages. The Check & Go (one personal item and one checked bag) will cost you $20 when flying within the continental US, and $25 for all other destinations. The Store & Go package (one personal item and one carry-on bag OR checked bag) will cost you $30 in the continental US or $35 for all other destinations. To travel with a personal item and carry-on bag, you’ll be paying $10 more than if you were to check the bag.

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And, if you choose not to pre-purchase a bundled package, you’re going to be paying even more. Again, a personal item alone will be free of charge. But if you want to bring a carry-on bag, you’ll have to pay $40 — $10 more than if you were to pre-purchase the package. Or, you can purchase the checked bag at the airport for $25, which is only $5 more than if you were to purchase a package in advance.

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The new fee scheme is one that’s already in place for many other ultra low-cost carriers like Spirit. Since carriers began charging passengers for checked bags, travelers have taken to packing their goods in carry-on sized luggage to avoid the fees. However, that’s led to problems with space in the overhead bins, as well as slowing down the boarding and deplaning processes.

In addition to these new bundled baggage options, Sun Country is also introducing the option for travelers to pay for their seat selection. If you choose to select your seat during the booking process, you’ll pay anywhere from $2 to $35, depending on the location, flight length and time of year in which you’re traveling. And, as you’ll see in the bundled package options, if you purchase a Check & Go or Store & Go option, you’ll get a $5 discount on your seat selection.

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If you already have a flight booked with Sun Country, you won’t have to worry about these changes in baggage policy. The new bundled fares affects only Sun Country passengers who have booked a new flight on or after October 25, 2017, for travel on or after January 19, 2018.

This structure may seem familiar if you’ve ever traveled with an ultra low-cost carrier before. While maybe not as drastic as what competitor Spirit charges, Sun Country’s new policy is the latest step for the carrier to become a full-on discount carrier. As a point of comparison, when purchased during the booking process, Spirit charges $39 per carry-on and $32 per checked bag. The longer you wait to purchase, the more costly it’ll get. If you wait to get to purchase bags for your trip with Spirit, you’ll pay as much as $69 per carry-on bag and $62 per checked bag if you pay at the counter.

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