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Sun Country flights to migrate back to Rochester in December

Sun Country Airline's twice weekly nonstop flights from Rochester to Florida and Arizona will resume in early December. Sun Country began offering shuttle service between the Rochester and Minneapolis airports to bolster local travellers' options.

First Sun Country Flight
The first Sun Country Boeing 737-800 lands at Rochester International Airport ahead of Sun Country's first flight from Rochester to Ft. Myers on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022. Sun Country Airline's twice weekly nonstop flights from Rochester to Florida and Arizona will resume in early December.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — Sun Country Airline's twice weekly nonstop flights from the Med City to warm destinations soon will start taking off again from the Rochester International Airport.

Sun Country introduced the vacation-focused Rochester flights to Fort Myers, Florida, and Phoenix back in February. As Minnesota warmed up, Sun Country followed its usual game plan and put the seasonal flights on hiatus.

Now the flights are migrating back to Rochester, three months earlier than before. Direct flights to Florida will start on Dec. 15, 2022, with Sun Country flying on Thursdays and Sundays. The Arizona flights will resume on Dec. 16, 2022. The Rochester/Phoenix flights will run on Fridays and Mondays.

The earlier return of Sun Country flights is a very good sign, said John Reed, Rochester International Airport’s executive director.

“It was a good strong market for them last year for both those destinations. I think that goes to the strength of our community,” he said. “It's a good thing as the airline industry continues to evolve. Airlines always looked at Rochester more as a business market, because of the clinic. … I think with Sun Country being a well-known brand here in Minnesota that adds a different aspect to what's happening here. Lots of people work very hard here and those same people love to skip off to nice warm weather destinations. So it fits the market well.”

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To augment its local offerings, Sun Country also announced this week that it is now offering luxury shuttle bus rides between the Rochester and Minneapolis airports as a sort of “connecting flight.”

The airline is partnering with Landline bus service to offer twice-daily shuttle trips. Through May 31, 2023, Sun Country will waive the cost of the Landline ride from Rochester to Minneapolis to enhance the value of using the buses.

“Offering Landline service provides a hassle-free travel experience for our customers in Rochester,” stated Sun Country’s Chief Marketing Officer Brian Davis in the announcement. “We’re pleased to offer this service for our customers who want an easy way to get to their favorite destinations during the winter months.”

If someone takes a Landline bus in Rochester to catch a flight in the Twin Cities, they will still need to go through security in Minneapolis as well as checking their bags there.

John Reed
John Reed.
Contributed

Landline is working with the Transportation Security Administration to possibly be able to offer security check-ins in places like Rochester prior to flight from Minneapolis. That could be a future evolution of the Landline service.

“I think it (Landline) strengthens their abilities to offer more services and options on Sun Country,” said Reed of the Landline shuttle option. “Landline augments what Sun Country is doing. There are a lot of different scenarios on how passengers could use this.”

He said if a Rochester passenger wanted to fly to Florida on a different day than offered here, they could park here, use the bus to catch a departing flight in Minneapolis and then use a return flight to land in Rochester.

Landline and Sun Country have similar offerings for passengers traveling from Mankato and Duluth to Minneapolis. Landline runs the same type of service in Colorado to connect smaller cities to the Denver International Airport.

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Heard Around Rochester - Jeff Kiger.png

Jeff Kiger writes a daily column, "Heard Around Rochester," in addition to writing articles about local businesses, Mayo Clinic, IBM, Hormel Foods, Crenlo and others. The opinions of my employer do not necessarily reflect my opinions. He has worked in Rochester for the Post Bulletin since 1999. Send tips to jkiger@postbulletin.com or via Twitter to @whereskiger . You can call him at 507-285-7798.
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