The passengers from the infamous Sunwing party flight to Cancun before New Year’s Eve are having a hard time finding an airline willing to bring them back to Montreal. Air Canada says it has denied boarding to close to 20 people from the group thus far. Meanwhile, when they eventually find a way to return, the so-called influencers face fines of thousands of dollars and possible jail time.
Earlier this week, the Russian national junior hockey team was not allowed to leave Canada on their intended flight due to raucous behavior. Now, a different group of rowdy passengers is finding it tricky to make it back into the country. On December 30th, a group of social media influencers took off from Montreal to Cancun on a chartered Sunwing flight and decided that the in-flight rules adhered to by mere mortals were beneath them.
Multiple investigations launched
The group’s onboard antics included vaping in the cabin, drinking plenty of booze not purchased on the plane, and, it almost goes without saying, not wearing any masks in between. In their attempts to ‘influence’ (although we are uncertain as to precisely whom or what), many of the group posted footage from the flight on social media.
The self-incriminating videos drew the attention of Canada’s Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, who got involved and requested an investigation from Transport Canada. Flight attendant unions were also none too pleased with their workplace being turned into a private party plane for reality-TV personalities. Furthermore, their Sunwing return flight of January 5th was canceled.
“Unfortunately, the group did not accept all of the terms. As a result of our ongoing investigation and the group’s refusal to accept all terms of carriage, we have made the decision to cancel the return flight,” the airline said in a statement.
Denied boarding back to Canada
Moreover, other airlines are declining to transport them back home. According to CNN, both Air Canada and Air Transat have refused to bring the next-level unruly passengers back to Quebec. The former stated that 15 people were denied boarding on Wednesday and another four on Thursday.
“To the extent that we can identify the passengers who were part of the group, we are denying boarding to ensure the safety of other passengers and our crews,” Air Canada told CBC.
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Presumptions, organizer says
The owner of the company who organized the trip, James William Awad, said in a statement on his blog that he had agreed to every demand Sunwing made to allow the return flight to take place.
These included no alcohol whatsoever, compliance with mask regulations, and the presence of a security officer and three ‘in-flight guardians’. However, the arrangement fell through, he said, due to Sunwing refusing to serve meals on the five-hour flight.
“They canceled our flight based on presumptions, and thus others companies followed their steps,” Mr Awad, who CTV News reports has a history of setting up questionable endeavors, said in his statement.
Heavy fines and possible jail time
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commented that it was a ‘slap in the face’ to see people putting themselves, their fellow citizens, and the health of the airline workers at risk. Furthermore, Transport Canada has stated that the individuals involved could face fines of up to CA$5,000 (US$3,900) per offense. It has also warned that providing false information or statements upon their return could even lead to jail time.