It’s been a few months since the unruly passengers from the Sunwing Montreal to Cancun Flight found out they would be getting fined for their actions, and now in total, those passengers have been fined nearly $50,000. The flight, which took place last December, had 154 passengers, some of which were caught on video breaking a number of rules. Many passengers were seen not wearing masks, smoking, drinking, and even getting up and dancing around while in flight.
When the story was reported on in March only 12 penalties had been handed out as of that time. Now, out of the 154 passengers on the flight, 37 of them have received some sort of penalty. While information regarding how much each passenger was fined is undisclosed, it is reported that the maximum allowed to be fined per passenger was $5,000.
The flight, which was a chartered event planned by a popular organizer for a private club, flew out of Montreal on December 30, 2021. This was at the height of the Omicron variant when infections were at their highest and masks were still required when traveling by plane. Some of the passengers ignored those rules and now continue to deal with the consequences.
When the plane arrived in Cancun last year passengers immediately began to feel those consequences when they found out that Sunwing, and a handful of other airlines, were not going to bring them back to Montreal. Sunwing canceled the return flight following the circulation of multiple videos. In those videos, passengers were seen smoking vape pens and indulging in too much alcohol, along with not wearing masks or being seated in their seats. In addition to Sunwing refusing to fly the unruly passengers back home, Air Transat and Air Canada also refused to allow them to book flights back to Montreal. The organizer, James William Awad, at the time threatened to sue Sunwing.
Awad, who was not fined for the incident himself, claimed at the time that he would do what was “necessary to ensure stranded passengers make it back home.” It is unclear as to whether or not Awad did indeed help those passengers but shortly after the refusal of multiple airlines to fly them home they did all end up safely back in Montreal. It was not long after returning home that the group was chastised by Foreign Minister Justin Trudeau. Around the same time, the first of the passengers began receiving penalties from Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra.
Now, the most recent report from Transport Canada stated that a total of 42 fines have been issued to 37 of the passengers. Of those fines, 18 of them were for not complying with the vaccination requirements that were in place at the time. The other 24 fines were for passengers that violated the mask rules that were still in effect for those traveling by plane.
In December of last year, we saw a significant rise in Covid-19 cases due to the highly contagious Omicron variant. In many countries, including the U.S. and Canada, restrictions and mask requirements continued due to the increase in infections. While people were still allowed to travel, they were required to wear masks in airports and on planes in order to help slow the spread of the virus.
Currently, Covid cases are declining and restrictions are being removed in places all over the world. Masks are no longer required on planes flying out of certain countries at this time, but the unruly passengers of the Sunwing Montreal to Cancun flight will surely never forget the time when they were required, and they ignored those requirements and it led to hefty fines.
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