Sun Country Charging for Pre-Assigning Seats

Sun Country Charging for Pre-Assigning Seats

I noticed today that every seat on my Sun Country flight is a “premium” seat worthy of an $8 charge if I check-in online and pick a seat at that time. (Yes, even middle seats where the seats on both sites are occupied.) However, if I go to the airport and check-in in person, there is no charge.

Paying $8 to assure that I’ll have my favorite seat on the plane doesn’t seem too painful, but I’m trying to understand how this benefits Sun Country. If I go to the airport, I’ll likely end up interacting with Sun Country staff rather than serving myself online. Surely, that costs Sun Country money, so what’s less convenient for me is also more costly for them.

It doesn’t seem like our interests are aligned here. Wouldn’t it benefit Sun Country to steer people toward being as self-serve as possible rather than creating incentives to consume front-line staff time assigning a seat to me?

For example, I have received bonus miles from other airlines for checking in online, from kiosks, or using QR code boarding passes. It’s an effective way to get people to try new, more efficient, check-in systems.

Perhaps Sun Country has determined that enough people are willing to cough up $8 to guarantee the seat of their choice? Are they ahead of the curve here? I hope not.

13 thoughts on “Sun Country Charging for Pre-Assigning Seats”

  1. I hate those middle seats almost as much as I hate getting an aisle only to find a huge stinking mediabox at my feet.

    Also, did you write those first lines from your iphone? There are some crazy grammar-issues/typos (site/side); I’m hoping we really don’t need a review of there, their, and they’re here.

  2. I’m torn on this. I’m definitely in agreement that an extra 8 bucks middle seat is a waste. Sitting by a Sun Country gate right now (w/ free wifi. Hooray!). I did pay the extra 8 bucks for a window seat just because I can lay against something, snooze and sometimes stare out a window.

  3. @Paul, I definitely value windows higher than aisles or middle seats, and by more than $8. But, I’m trying to figure out how the numbers work for Sun Country. Some will pay. Some will say, “forget it” and head to a counter for a seat assignment, which has the potential to create more face to face work for front-line employees.

    Post Sun Country all you can fly fare, I’m going to need to make a point of considering the extra $16 I need to pay to have the same experience I can get on competing airlines.

  4. Can we start protesting add on fees? Once I book a ticket, I then have to decide if I am going to spend more to check a bag and then if I am going to spend more to pre-select my seat. Once I am on the plane (finally), I have decide if I am going to spend more to drink or eat. Next, they will likely have a “pay as you go” bathroom charge…where does this end?? I hate it!!

  5. The Rat spent an extra $20 to get exit row on Sun Country from Los Angeles last month. It was worth it, even if freeloading scabs snatched up the remaining exit row seats for free after the door closed.

    @Frustrated Consumer: If you don’t like that, avoid the discount carriers. They’re mostly the culprits.

  6. On our current return trip from Cancun, Mexico we had prepaid for our seating. At the airport we were given defferent seats and they weren’t even together. I guess I wouldn’t waist the money on purchasing assigned seating because it doesn’t seem to make a difference. On the bright side the flight was wonderful!

  7. I thought you could select seats up to 24hrs before flight for free. guess I was wrong. Mar. 2 flight: Window $10, Middle $5, isle $25!!! We are in a group of 4 so that means I’d have to pay $65 just to sit by each other?

    After reading “Minnesota Resident” I think I’ll take my chances at the counter.

  8. Yup, still going in 2013, but $5 for a middle seat, 4 rows from the back. Stay classy, Sun Country! I’ll make a point of chatting with the agent for 10 minutes or so.

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