A Canadian influencer says he will sue a low-cost airline that abandoned him and his friends in Mexico after a raucous and now notorious flight that could see some of those involved hauled before the courts for breaching aviation safety rules and pandemic guidelines.
James William Awad issued an apology on Thursday for the group’s antics but claimed Sunwing Airlines unfairly punished everyone onboard based on the actions of just a few.
Video shared online by some of the ‘influencers’ onboard the December 30 flight showed maskless passengers vaping and drinking Grey Goose vodka from the bottle while partying in the aisle.
After the video went viral and public anger erupted over the rowdy midair scenes, Sunwing refused to fly the group of young adults back to Canada. Both Air Transat and Air Canada also refused to fly the group.
Awad had charted the plane with Sunwing Airlines for a private flight to get the Quebec-based group of influencers and reality stars from Montreal to Cancun. But he now claims the airline broke the contract the two sides entered into by cancelling the return flight.
“Yes, we saw the videos, there were a few people partying on the plane,” Awad said during his news conference. “But what happened is that [the airlines] decided to put everybody in the same boat.”
Sunwing rejected Awad’s claim, explaining that the organizers failed to comply with all the terms and conditions outlined in the contract.
In the end, the group managed to get back home by getting connecting flights through the United States or Panama.
But fury over their actions was waiting for them on their return, even provoking a rebuke from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The authorities have promised an investigation, and criminal charges could follow.
While Awad has apologized for what happened, he has refused to take responsibility for the actions of what he claimed were just a few passengers.
“Of course I regret what happened on that plane, for certain people that did not respect the rules, Awad was quoted as saying by CBC News. “Everyone has to understand the rules and act as they want.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.