A group of passengers who filmed themselves partying on board a chartered flight from Montreal to Mexico in a video that went viral on social media are now facing the consequences of their actions.
The passengers, which also included reality stars and social media influencers, were seen ignoring public health measures, jumping and dancing in the aisle, vaping and openly passing around a bottle of hard liquor on the plane on the Dec. 30 Sunwing flight to Cancun. In one video, a person was seen crowd-surfing while the plane was in the air.
The video sparked outrage in Canada with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling the group's behaviour a "slap in the face" to citizens who have been following proper social distancing measures, as well as airline workers. He also referred to them as "idiots" and "barbarians." Watch the video below:
The passengers found themselves stranded in Mexico after Sunwing cancelled the group's return flight scheduled for Wednesday. Then Air Transat and Air Canada also both said they will refuse to carry the passengers. Out of the 187 passengers on the flight, 27 of them have since returned to Canada on four different flights.
After being banned by Sunwing, Air Transat and Air Canada, some of the passengers managed to evade the ban and return on Wednesday night before Air Canada had obtained all the passenger details from Sunwing. Others travelled 1,500 kilometres from Cancun to Panama City to return to Montreal on Thursday night on Copa Airlines. However, they are now facing hefty fines, an investigation, imprisonment and some have even lost or been suspended from their job.
2 Passengers Fired, Suspended by Employer
Journal de MontrÃ©al reported that two of the passengers who were identified on the flight faced disciplinary action from their employers. FrÃ©dÃ©rique Dumas-Joyal was fired from her job with AutoritÃ© des marchÃ©s financiers (AMF) while real estate broker Karl Bernard was suspended by his employer, Sutton.
Dumas-Joyal was seen in the video making fun of COVID protocols by wearing a thong over her face as a mask.
Passengers Facing Hefty Fines, Imprisonment Over Fake Vaccine Passports
The 27 passengers were tested for COVID-19 and questioned by Transport Canada, public health authorities and other officials. 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 the rowdy flight. Sunwing also reportedly launched an internal investigation.
According to La Presse, many of the passengers either had fake vaccine passports or none at all, and weren't properly checked prior to boarding the chartered flight last Thursday. One of the passengers, Rebecca St Pierre, a 19-year-old student from Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, even tested positive for Covid-19 and is isolating in Tulum.
A person who presents false information about their immunization status or falsified COVID-19 test results could be subject to a fine of up to $ 750,000, six months in jail or both. The passengers could also face additional fines of up to $5,000 for each individual offense if they're found to have broken any other regulations.