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Is This Airline Really The Best Low-Cost Carrier In The U.S.?

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When SkyTrax unveiled the World Airline Awards this year it was no surprise that highly-praised Singapore Airlines took the trophy for the number one spot.

What was surprising is the winner of not only the best low-cost airline in the U.S. but all of North America.

If you hear a plane engine roaring and look up to the sky and see a blue and orange plane, you might instantly think it's Southwest. But you could be wrong.


There is another lesser-known airline that might throw you for a loop. That would be Sun Country Airlines, a budget airline based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Have you heard of them? Perhaps not. But even if you have, this airline has remained under the radar for quite some time as they have been in service for decades.

Not only that, they have survived a wild history with multiple owners, suspended operations, and bankruptcies.

Sun Country is obviously proud to receive this latest achievement, but are they really the best low-cost carrier in the U.S.?

sun country plane flying

“We are honored to be recognized for the value and on-board experience we provide our customers,” said Dave Davis, President and Chief Financial Officer of Sun Country Airlines.

Mr. Davis went on to say, “Our focus on the leisure traveler allows us to offer flights when demand is strongest, and our business model keeps fares affordable. We look forward to continuing to grow when and where our customers need us most.”

Where Does Sun Country Fly?

Based out of Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) with an additional focus in the Dallas and Las Vegas markets, Sun Country unsurprisingly flies to many sunny destinations.

Their route map is actually quite expansive, with very popular destinations, including Los Cabos and Punta Cana.

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@flythevalley Headed to Cancun straight from Harlingen, Texas!! #harlingen #956valley #mcallentx #brownsville #cancun #suncountryairlines ♬ original sound

According to their official website, as of May 2023 they have a total of 118 routes in the U.S. (including Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Sounds great, right?

The issue with traveling with Sun Country might be where you are flying from since they only have 3 main airports (MSP, LAS, DFW).

They Are Affordable, But Is The Hassle Worth It?

Let's face it, “budget airlines” typically don't have the best reputation. Whether it's their “gotcha” policies, poor customer service or cramped seats, travelers don't always know what to expect.

@travelbymarla My honest review of flying Sun Country Airlines to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico! #suncountryairlines #puertovallarta #budgettravel #mexico #allinclusive #destinationwedding ♬ original sound – Travel by Marla

In the age of social media, TikTok is full of complaints about low-cost airlines across the board. Of course, the main draw to take an airline such as Spirit, Allegiant or Frontier is the low, low cost of airfare.

Other than that, there's not much appeal except for the fact they have more direct routes. In fact, Allegiant and Breeze take pride in having only direct routes.

So while you may be cramped, at least it's a straight shot! Sun Country, on the other hand, mainly offers direct flights from MSP, DFW and LAS.

For example, if you were flying from Charlotte to Cozumel, you would have to backtrack to Minneapolis before making your way south of the border to paradise.

@yourweekendtravel Quick Facts About Sun Country Airlines #suncountryairlines #travel #airplane #planes ♬ original sound – Your Weekend Travel

In that case, it might be best to check other airlines even if you have to spend a little more. Time equals money, right?

On-board Experience

Sun Country does have modern amenities on-board, which is ironic considering the airline hasn't had an app for 6 years!

Travelers who book a ticket with Sun Country can expect:

  • Reclining “comfortable” seats
  • Power outlets at most seats
  • Complimentary non-alcoholic beverages
  • Complimentary entertainment streamed to your personal electronic device via AirFi
  • 3 different seating classes: Best, Exit Row and Standard

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There are additional perks for Best and Exit Row seating such as:

  • One complimentary alcoholic beverage (Best only)
  • More legroom (Best and Exit Row)
  • Expedited boarding (Best and Exit Row).

Travelers can order a variety of snacks and drinks for purchase, including local beer from a Minnesota brewery. The airline does not accept cash for payments.

Sun Country does seem more comfortable compared to the common complaint of being packed in like sardines on budget airlines, with the exception of Breeze's comfy chairs.

@kevinangueira Come with me onboard @Sun Country Airlines’ inaugural flight to Eau Claire, WI! 20 minute flight on a 737-800! #mn #wi #wisco #avgeek #suncountry #aviationtiktok #737 #eauclaire #fun #aviation #airline #airport ♬ original sound – 🇧🇷

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.