Wed, 19 Jan 2022

CANCUN, Mexico: Canadian passengers who filmed themselves partying without masks aboard a chartered flight from Montreal to Mexico on 30th December have finally returned home, after three airlines are refusing to fly them home.

Sunwing Airlines cancelled the return charter flight from Cancun scheduled for January 4, while Air Transat and Air Canada were both refusing to carry the passengers, who were branded as "idiots" by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

On Twitter, Air Transat said 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.

Meanwhile, Air Canada issued a statement that said, "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."

The passengers include student Rebecca St-Pierre, 19, from Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, who said she felt abandoned and did not know how she will pay for her hotel room, as her stay has been extended indefinitely, as reported by the Associated Press.

She added that she tested positive for COVID-19 on January 4, and some 30 others on the flight have also tested positive.

"The organizer just left everybody. I do not know who is still here. All the flights have been cancelled," St-Pierre, who said she won the trip on Instagram, told the Canadian Press.

The trip's organizer, James William Awad, wrote on Twitter that a "simple party" on a plane was behind the controversy.

"I will take a moment to sit down and rethink everything. Especially how I can do things better next time," he said.

Awad, who operates 111 Private Club, organized the trip, which included a group of social media influencers and reality TV stars, such as Karl Sabourin, Sandrine Seguin and Anna-Maelle Laprise.

On January 4, Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino issued a joint statement saying they had directed their departments to investigate, and passengers who violated Transport Department regulations could face fines of up to $3,930.

Trudeau called the passengers' conduct irresponsible and a "slap in the face" to everyone who has been following public health restrictions.

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