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On Saturday, hundreds of passengers on Sun Country Airlines were stranded in Los Cabos, Mexico (SJD) after their flight to Minneapolis (MSP) was canceled due to snow and icy conditions. 250 passengers had to find their own way home after the airline told them they had no planes to get them out of Mexico after seasonal service to the region ended. The Minneapolis-based airline received widespread backlash, including from Minnesota’s two US Senators who scolded the airline for not doing more to help its passengers return home.

On Tuesday, Sun Country CEO Jude Bricker announced the airline would reimburse passengers for “additional reasonable transportation costs” for the stranded passengers and would cover any difference they paid to rebook flights as well as the cost of taxis and other travel expenses for getting to and from the airport.

The snowstorm on Saturday was the largest in Minneapolis in April and caused 495 flight cancellations, including dozens of other Sun Country flights. Sun Country passengers were unable to reach airline employees — either waiting on the phone for hours or only able to get a busy signal — because many employees at the call center in Minneapolis were unable to get to work Saturday.

“We need to find ways to improve our customer communications as we failed in that area,” Bricker wrote in a company-wide email Tuesday. “Even if we had been able to staff per the plan, we could have not handled the roughly 6,000 passengers who were affected by a canceled flight.”

The customers stranded in Mexico who booked their flights through third-party websites like Expedia were hard to track down, Bricker said, because the airline does not receive the contact information for those passengers. Employees of Sun Country worked into Tuesday night to reach all customers who were left behind in Mexico and made sure these customers received a full refund.

“In this communication, we have made that commitment that in addition to refunding their original roundtrip ticket on Sun Country (which we have expedited above all other refunds), we will also cover any additional reasonable transportation costs they incurred in excess of their original Sun Country roundtrip fare, not limited to the difference they paid on another carrier, but also including taxis, shuttles, any reasonable transportation costs required to get them to and from the airport,” Bricker said in the memo. “We have a special email address set up and staff dedicated to assist those passengers. We are committed to finding them a way home.”

H/T: Star Tribune

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