How Sun Country Is Handling Its All-Day System Outage
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All day Tuesday and into Wednesday morning, Sun Country has taken some of its systems offline for a “complete technology transition of our website and reservations system.” During this time, passengers can’t check-in online, view their trip or book reservations departing in the next few days.
By pure coincidence, I happened to be at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport (MSP) during this outage. So, I was curious to see how this ultra-low cost carrier was handling the situation from its home in MSP.
I started in Terminal 1 where the Delta check-in lines were snaking around outside of the ropes and agents struggled to direct passengers. If it was this bad in MSP for Delta without a system outage, I could only assume how bad it’d be in the low-cost Terminal 2 — home to Condor, Icelandair, JetBlue, Sun Country and Southwest.
Passing by the departure board in the tram station, I was a bit surprised to see no delays were posted for Sun Country.
Once I reached the terminal, I was again surprised — this time to see a lack of commotion or long lines. Instead, the lines of Sun Country’s large check-in area weren’t even half full.
Even better, at the entrance to the check-in line, there were agents offering up donuts and coffee — along with apologies for the system outage.
I spoke with one of the agents handing out donuts who explained that the airline had been deliberate to make the situation as pleasant as possible for the passengers that were having to deal with the outage. That included calling in extra agents to help deal with in-person check-in to shorten the lines as much as possible. And, it’s clear that plan is working.
Katie and I hopped in the no-checked-bags line to see how long it’d take. There were only a few passengers ahead of us in line, and we were in front of an agent in just a few minutes. The agent checked us in for our early morning flight, pairing our separate bookings and giving us seats together without us even needing to ask.
The standard check-in line wasn’t bad either. Passengers who we’d seen grab donuts at the table at the same time as us were able to check in just a few minutes after us. Although, as check-in opened for more flights, the line did stretch a bit longer than before.
The agents explained that the airline could have done this incrementally over time but that risked having an unplanned outage and making the situation hard on call center agents. So, the airline had decided to do it all at once. And Sun Country was wise to schedule this upgrade for Tuesday and Wednesday, as these are typically two of the lightest travel days of the week.
We will have to see how bag drop and our flight early Wednesday go, but Katie and I were very impressed with how Sun Country is handling this system outage. The small gesture of handing out donuts and coffee is nice, but the extra staffing to make the lines short and quick is an even better gesture — particularly from an ultra-low cost carrier.
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