Sun Country Airlines will operate twice-weekly summer seasonal service between Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport and London Gatwick Airport from May 27, with Boeing 737-800s...

Sun Country Airlines will operate twice-weekly summer seasonal service between Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport (MSP) and London Gatwick Airport (LGW) from May 27.

Next summer’s service will continue through September 4, the service continuing for a longer period in 2011 than it did this past summer. The flights will provide travelers with the only direct air service between the two cities, according to Sun Country Airlines.

The airline will operate the route with Boeing 737-800s. Because the 737-800 does not have the range to operate nonstop in either direction on the MSP-LGW route, flights will land at Gander International Airport (YQX) in Newfoundland to refuel, both eastbound and westbound.

“Last summer’s service to London was very popular with travelers on both sides of the Atlantic,” says Stan Gadek, Sun Country Airlines’ president and CEO. “Gatwick is convenient to London and also serves as an easy connecting point to cities all across Great Britain and Europe. This new service is perfect for travelers who want to explore London and the U.K. or for those who want to travel on to Europe.”

This is the official logo of Minneapolis/St. Paul-based Sun Country Airlines, which operates a fleet of Boeing 737-700s and 737-800s

Gadek says that for the 2011 summer season Sun Country is increasing its frequency of service on the route (offering Friday and Saturday departures from MSP and Saturday and Sunday departues in the other direction) and is expanding the season from Memorial Day to Labor Day in response to customer demand. Flights are available for purchase. For a limited time, Sun Country is offering promotional fares beginning at $399 one way. not including taxes and fees.

To mark the return of its transatlantic service, the Minneapolis/St. Paul-based airline is offering double points in its Ufly loyalty program on the route. Travelers will earn 10 Ufly points for coach and 14 points for first class travel. Ufly members who travel to London on or before June 16, 2011 will receive 12 points awarded for coach-class travel and 16 points for first class travel. The MSP-LGW flights are also available for award travel, with redemption of 400 Ufly points for coach travel and 500 Ufly points for first class travel.

Sun Country Airlines’ schedule on the route will see its Friday flights departing MSP at 4:00 p.m. and reaching LGW at 7:50 a.m. the following day. Its Saturday flights are scheduled to push back from MSP’s Humphrey Terminal at 4:20 p.m. and land at LGW at 8:10 a.m. the following day, local time.

In the other direction, Sun Country’s flights are timed to leave LGW at 12:10 p.m. and arrive at MSP at 5:50 p.m. the same day, local time. On Sundays, the flights are timed to depart LGW at 10:40 a.m. and to reach MSP at 3:35 p.m. the same day, local time.

Gadek says that in-flight service on the route will feature personal Digi Players offering movies, TV shows, music videos, games and more. Travelers in coach and first-class will be offered complimentary meals, snacks and drinks as well as duty-free shopping onboard. Coach travelers can upgrade to first class with day-of-travel airport upgrades at $250 each way.

Gatwick Airport is the U.K.’s second-busiest airport, offering more than 200 destinations (more than any other U.K. airport) in 90 countries and serving 33 million passengers annually. The airport is 28 miles south of London and has excellent public transport links, including the convenient Gatwick Express, which operates nonstop express trains to Victoria Station in the center of London.

Trains are also available to Blackfriars Station near St. Paul’s and to a variety of destinations in southern England, including the stylish south-coast vacation resort of Brighton. Gatwick also offers many bus and coach services, to London and destinations throughout southern England.

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