Videos have emerged showing influencers and reality show stars having a party without masks while aboard a Sunwing flight. They were flying from Montreal to Cancun on December 30, and their conduct could result in thousands of dollars in fines.
The group was violating public health measures while vaping, sharing a bottle of hard liquor, and dancing on the aisle. One of them was also seen crowd-surfing even though the plane was still in flight.
Each of these offenses could attract a fine of up to $5,000 from Transport Canada. In case investigations prove that the behavior of these people put others in danger, then those guilty might also end up in jail.
Additionally, there might be severe consequences for those who will be discovered to have provided false information about the incident once they return to Canada.
The government has already announced that investigations into the incident had already started. The matter is being researched by Transport, Public Safety, and Health departments.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Was "Extremely Frustrated" By The Videos
After videos of the incident went viral, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke out. He explained that this conduct was a "slap in the face" as it showed people risking their health, the health of other citizens, and the health of airline workers by acting irresponsibly.
The Prime Minister made it clear that the incident was being handled with seriousness and would be thoroughly investigated.
The plane had been chartered privately by 111 Private Club, the promoter responsible for organizing a six-day, all-inclusive event in Cancun. The promoter had explained that the plane would have a DJ.
Although the authorities consider the event a disaster, James William Awad, who runs the company, tweeted that the event was a success. He also defended the passengers by saying that they had observed all instructions given to them by the company.
Later, he sent a tweet saying the matter was being taken seriously.
The Return Flight Was Cancelled
After Sunwing did its investigations, it apparently informed Transport Canada that the passengers had acted unruly and contravened several regulations.
The company also said that it had reached out to the event organizers with the flight's terms and conditions, but they failed to adhere to all of them.
Because the passengers violated many regulations, the company had no option but to cancel the return flight. It also made assurances that it would be working together with Transport Canada to ensure the matter was investigated thoroughly.
Some passengers were trying to get back to Canada using Air Transat flights but were denied boarding. Air Canada also confirmed that the passengers would be denied boarding to keep other passengers safe.
The Party Endangered The Plane And The Crew
According to experts, the group did more than putting the health of other travelers and the crew at risk. Their conduct was also a considerable safety and security risk to everyone on that plane.
For instance, vaping inside a plane is a huge safety risk as it could set off fire alarms, which would force the captain to start investigating the source of the fire.
If the federal government can prove that what the influencers did was a risk to the lives of others, then they could face up to three years behind bars and pay fines of up to $1 million.
Rena Kisfavi, the president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents around 1,000 Sunwing employees, stricter consequences need to follow. She wanted to know if the passengers would be denied boarding, get charged, or be placed on the no-fly list.
Kisfalvi feels that the government should take these measures to make sure travelers understand how serious air travel safety really is.