Airlines Refuse to Bring Back Cancun Partiers

Passengers, some of whom have tested positive, are stranded in Mexico
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 6, 2022 5:50 PM CST
Updated Jan 7, 2022 12:29 AM CST
Flight Partiers Can't Book Return Trip
Air Transat is among the airlines refusing to accept reservations from those who partied on a charter flight from Montreal to Cancun.   (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP)

Passengers who filmed themselves partying without masks aboard a chartered flight from Montreal to Mexico face being stranded after three airlines refused to fly them home to Canada. Sunwing Airlines canceled the return charter flight from Cancun that had been scheduled for Wednesday, the AP reports, and Air Transat and Air Canada both said they will refuse to carry the passengers. Adding insult to injury, they were branded "idiots" Wednesday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Canadian agencies are investigating and said passengers who broke transportation regulations could be fined.

Videos of the Dec. 30 flight on social media show unmasked passengers in close proximity while singing and dancing in the aisle and on seats. In one, a large bottle of vodka appears to be passed among passengers and a woman appears to be smoking an e-cigarette. Air Transat said on Twitter that the "disruptive passengers" from the Sunwing flight had been trying to return home on its flights, but were denied boarding based on the company’s obligation to ensure passenger and crew safety. Air Canada issued a statement Wednesday that “to the extent that we can identify the passengers who were part of the group, Air Canada is denying boarding to ensure the safety of other passengers and its crew."

Among those looking for a way home was Rebecca St-Pierre, a 19-year-old student from Quebec who said she felt abandoned, not knowing how she'll pay for her hotel room as her stay is extended. She said she tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and was in isolation in Tulum, south of Cancun. St-Pierre estimated that about 30 others on the flight have tested positive. "The organizer just left everybody," an emotional St-Pierre told the Canadian Press. She said she won the free trip in a contest on Instagram and had never heard of the organizer, who identified himself on social media as James William Awad. She acknowledged that the videos give an accurate picture of what went on during the flight to Cancun.

(More airline passengers stories.)

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