Partying passengers stuck in Mexico after airlines decline to fly them home

1 week ago 5

(CNN) — Some members of a rowdy group shown dancing, drinking and vaping maskless aboard a flight to Cancun find themselves stranded in Mexico after their return flight to Canada was scrubbed and other airlines have declined to fly them home.

The group flew to Cancun from Montreal on December 30 aboard a Sunwing Airlines charter flight.

Video of the party on board has sparked outrage in Canada and an investigation by Transport Canada is underway.

Sunwing canceled their return flight because the group did not agree to terms it outlined, the airline said.

Air Canada and Air Transat have both said they will not fly the travelers home, citing the safety of other passengers and crew.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday he was "extremely frustrated" with the incident.

"It's a slap in the face to see people putting themselves, putting their fellow citizens, putting airline workers at risk by being completely irresponsible," Trudeau said at a briefing.

Transport Canada said earlier this week that the department has been in contact with Sunwing and said that passengers could face fines of up to $5,000 Canadian dollars (about US$3,900) per offense.

The department also cautioned that any traveler convicted of providing false information to the government upon entry to Canada could face very steep fines or jail time.

Passengers' behavior on board was "unruly and contravened several Canadian Aviation Regulations as well as public health regulations," Sunwing Airlines said in a statement.

The airline launched its own investigation after the flight and notified Transport Canada, Sunwing said.

Sunwing provided terms and conditions to the group for their return flight, which was scheduled for January 5.

"Unfortunately, the group did not accept all of the terms. As a result of our ongoing investigation and the group's refusal to accept all terms of carriage, we have made the decision to cancel the return flight," the statement said.

The decision was made to ensure the safety of crew and passengers, the airline said. It also noted that it will support Transport Canada's investigation of the incident.

On December 15, Canada issued an advisory to its citizens asking that they avoid all nonessential international travel.

Quebec closed schools, bars, casinos and other public venues and made teleworking mandatory on December 20 as Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations increased.

As of January 5, Canada had logged nearly 470,000 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 14 days, with nearly 180,000 in Quebec.

CNN's Raja Razek contributed to this report.

Top image: A Sunwing airplane is seen at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario, on December 16, 2021, in this file photo. (Cole Burston/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

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