Several Sun Country airline customers are frustrated after their flights were canceled, leaving them stranded in Florida.
Customers say the airline should have done more to help.
Sun Country officials told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS in an email that major storms were moving across Florida, so the airline had to cancel flights. Sun Country said it sent alerts early in the day to let travelers know there could be delays or cancellations.
“Sun Country customers can speak with customer service agents to determine if they can be rebooked, receive a voucher or refund,” Sun Country Airlines spokeswoman Wendy Burt said. “These storms would have affected not only Sun Country, but all airlines as well.”
Burt said customer service agents were doing all they could to help customers affected by yesterday’s storms.
“We would ask them to keep trying our phone line. Unfortunately, as it is spring break and the busy holiday season, flights will be sold out at this time, which will also make it difficult to rebook,” Burt said in an email. “Given the availability of crew and aircraft, we are limited in providing more flights.”
Some travelers said that once their flights were cancelled, they received little or no help from the airline and were stranded.
A week’s vacation in Florida was the big trip of the year for a group of Forest Lake scouts.
“It’s a great experience. We had a wonderful trip,” said trip leader Nicole Battles.
Battles is one of four travel companions with 11 children. Their Florida getaway was extended, but not by choice.
“On Saturday as we were heading to the airport, we found out that our flight had been canceled by Sun Country,” she said.
Battles said she called the airline to book dozens of times, but the lines were busy. When she finally made contact, she said the wait time was four hours.
“There was no one at the counter. There was no way to reach them because you just had this automated phone line. There was no way to get help,” Battles said.
The chaperones and cast drove from Miami to Tampa early Sunday morning after booking flights with Delta.
Now the group is stuck with expenses they hadn’t anticipated: extra hotel bills and exorbitantly priced round-trip flights.
“The last two days have been pretty stressful,” Battles said.
Other travelers from Minnesota were also scrambling to make plans.
Casey Miller lives in Minnesota and planned to return from Florida on Saturday with her daughter, but she said Sun Country canceled her flight.
She said she tried to contact customer service but couldn’t reach anyone.
“I called, hung up and tried again. I think 175 times or something was the last count,” Miller said.
She said the airline offered to book a flight on Tuesday, but it was too late.
Miller said she had to spend over $1,000 on a flight back to Minnesota in addition to extra nights at a hotel.
Miller and Battles said they would never fly Sun Country Airlines again.
This is not the first time the airline has canceled flights, leaving customers in limbo.
Sun Country canceled dozens of flights last winter due to the pandemic, bad weather and a computer crash.
A month ago, 5 INVESTIGATES asked Sun Country officials if it was possible to win back customers after a tough travel season.
“Anytime we do a cancellation, certainly a close cancellation, it’s very, very difficult for us to do that. Hopefully we can win back those customers, I honestly do that,” said Greg Mays, director of the Sun Country operation, in a February interview with 5 INVESTIGATES.
RELATED: As Sun Country prepares to expand, employees worry about staffing and fatigue
Thrifty Traveler, a Minnesota-based travel agency, said if an airline cancels a flight for reasons unrelated to weather, travelers are entitled to a refund to the original form of payment.
If you’re stranded overnight, travelers can often get a free hotel stay from the airline, but you have to ask.
Travel experts recommend getting travel insurance or booking the trip with a travel credit card in case something goes wrong.