Sun Country Airlines will begin seasonal once-weekly service from Minneapolis to London Stansted on June 11. The flights will be operated by a two-class 737-800 and require a stop in Gander, Canada for refueling. Arriving in Standsted will allow passengers to connect to flights across Europe on the many LCCs that depart from that airport. The service will run through August 15.
Introductory fares are $399 o/w for Economy and $1100 o/w for First Class. Taxes are only $23 for U.S. departures. Departures ex-STN are $115 for Economy and $185 for First Class (gotta love the UK’s luxury tax). Flights to London will depart from MSP on Friday afternoon and return from London midday on Sunday, allowing a single crew to be utilized for each trip.
Sun Country Airlines Flight SY47 – Minneapolis to London
Depart MSP – 4:40p
Arrive STN – 8:10a (next day)
One-hour stop in Gander, Canada (YQX) from 10:55p to 11:55p
Sun Country Airlines Flight SY48 – London to Minneapolis
Depart STN – 12:00p
Arrive MSP – 4:55p
One-hour stop in Gander, Canada (YQX) from 2:00p to 3:00p
I wouldn’t mind the stop in Gander if passengers could clear immigration and customs on the return trip and arrive at MSP as if it was a domestic flight–but that will not be the case. Sun Country has said immigration will still occur in MSP. Too bad they could not find a way to emulate British Airways’ A318 London City to JFK service, where passengers "enter the U.S." in Ireland.
Sun Country will be competing directly against Delta, who offers non-stop service to London Heathrow from MSP on a 767-400 with Business Elite seats, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Sun Country, the "hometown airline" of MSP, fills their seats on these flights.
I also like that Sun Country is selling round-trip tickets as two one-way fares. For anyone who has tried to buy o/w tickets to and from Europe, you know that prices are typically higher than buying r/t tickets. Sun Country’s move might put downward pressure on o/w prices to London and allow frequent flyers to combine Sun Country’s service with a one-way award on another carrier.