Sun County customers recently learned that the airline has been including a "passenger interface fee" of $44 round-trip for every ticket since April 2022. That hasn't stopped Sun Country from offering Minnesotans low-cost fares to dozens of warm destinations.
But the news carries a silver lining for bargain hunters: Thanks to boring federal rules concerning the booking fee, you can still save that $44 by buying your ticket the old-fashioned way: from a ticket agent, at the airport.
Most people probably won't trudge out to Minneapolis-St. Paul International just to save a lousy $44. But you're already shopping for an ultra-cheap flight. For those of us who love getting the absolute lowest, rock-bottom deal — $67 to Vegas, anyone? — it can totally be worth it. A family of four could save $176 on a trip to Costa Rica, which is considerable.
Here are the basics of buying from Sun Country (and some other airlines) at the airport:
Tickets can be purchased at the standard Sun Country check-in lanes at MSP's Terminal 2 (Humphrey). That's the smaller terminal reached via the 34th Avenue exit on I-494. Agents staff the counters from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and are prepared to sell tickets, but spokesperson Wendy Burt suggested not going during peak morning hours (7 or 8 a.m.) when the staff tends to be focused on checking in a lot of passengers and bags.
Consider the cost of getting to the airport, parking and the value of your time. Parking at Terminal 2 is convenient and costs $5 for the first hour. A light rail ride to the terminal is $2 to $2.50 with a 2.5-hour transfer. But only you can decide if the savings are worth the trip and waiting in line. The best scenario: Are you already at the airport for another reason, such as arriving from Columbus or picketing for the flight attendants union? Perfect.
Know how much you expect to pay. Search for your intended flight on Sun Country's website or Google Flights. Factor in any optional fees for bags or seat assignments. The initial total Sun Country gives online will include that $44 fee.
Other airlines do it, too: This savings hack is also available with some other low-cost airlines with a smaller footprint at MSP that also tack on an online booking fee, namely Spirit, Frontier and Allegiant.
We've purchased Spirit tickets at Terminal 1 without a hitch. Allegiant Air, however, has a very narrow (ticket) window at Terminal 2, selling only until two hours after their first flight on Thursdays. Got that? No word on whether the Allegiant counter is open during a full moon or when Mercury is in retrograde.