The monetary consequences of rowdy behavior on a flight from Montreal to Cancun are finally being felt by a number of the flight’s passengers. They were immediately penalized for their behavior by being stranded in Mexico after the airline chose to cancel their return flight. They were then warned that fines may also be issued following an investigation and now we are beginning to see that happen.
The original incident, which took place on December 30, 2021, happened on a chartered Sunwing flight organized by James William Awad and the 111 Private Club. The “exclusive club” consists of celebrities and social media influencers who were not on their best behavior according to leaked videos from the flight. Those videos show a complete lack of respect for the safety rules put in place to protect passengers and flight crews from both Covid-19 and in-flight accidents. Dancing in the aisles, maskless passengers and too much alcohol led to the cancelation of their flight home.
Air Canada and Air Transat also refused to fly the unruly passengers back to Canada. Shortly after the canceled return flight passengers slowly began returning home. That didn’t stop charter organizer Awad from threatening to sue Sunwing airline though, and possibly the other airlines as well. Claiming that Sunwing breached its contract, Awad stated that the airline left the passengers, “with no option to return to Canada.” There is no update as to whether any lawsuits were filed by James William Awad at this time.
Now, nearly three months later, the investigation into how this was allowed to take place and who is responsible continues, as fines are already being doled out to the irresponsible passengers. At the beginning of March, Transport Canada reported that six of the 130 passengers had been fined. The amount that these unnamed passengers were fined was not stated but could reportedly be as much as $5,000.
Fast forward to late March and it is now being reported that additional fines are being handed out, with the number of infractions issued now totaling 24. The most recent round of fines included 7 for not complying with Covid–19 vaccine rules and five for refusing to wear face coverings aboard the flight.
Canada’s Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra, stated on his Twitter account on March 28th that there would be, “more to come” for the passengers of the December 30 MTL-Cancun flight. He further stated that they would “continue to face the consequences for their actions.”
Transport Canada began the investigation into the unacceptable behavior of the passengers on January 4, 2022. The videos of partying, open liquor bottles and maskless passengers aboard the flight that surfaced on social media are what prompted this investigation.
Canada’s federal government has required those over 12 years old traveling by commercial flight, train or cruise ship to be fully vaccinated for Covid-19 since November 30, 2021. Awad had previously stated that all passengers were tested for Covid-19 prior to the flight but the criteria to fly commercially was to be vaccinated. A number of those passengers reportedly broke that rule and will now pay the consequences out of their pockets.
In weeks to come, as the investigation continues, more penalties and fines are likely to be issued among the group of partying passengers. It goes without saying that in-flight infractions have become more and more common since travel has ramped up again following the height of Covid-19.
Now we are seeing that this unacceptable behavior has come to a boiling point and that regulatory institutions are beginning to crack down on rule-breaking passengers.
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