Canadian officials have launched an investigation after a group of influencers reportedly went wild on a flight resulting in several airlines including Sunwing which flew them to Cancun, refusing to fly them back home.
The group including local TV and reality stars are in hot water for failing to abide by Covid protocols during chaotic partying on a chartered flight to Mexico.
BBC News said a top health official had revealed that 27 people from the group had returned to Canada, and undergone Covid-19 screening at the airport. Some of the members could face hefty punishments.
There is a video that shows the group partying on their charter plane without wearing masks. Some are passing around bottles of alcohol and vaping.
A group of Canadian influencers were refused flights back home from a New Year's trip to Cancún.— AJ+ (@ajplus) January 7, 2022
A video of them partying maskless on their flight went viral, and the airline they were on contacted authorities. pic.twitter.com/9zlm6ww4nQ
Due to their rowdy behaviour, the airline refused to fly them back home. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau referred to the party animals as “idiots” and “barbarians”.
Trudeau said that the group's disorderly conduct was a "slap in the face" for those who had been following strict Covid-19 protocols with proper social distancing measures, as well as airline workers.
"We know that this issue of Sunwing travellers having behaved irresponsibly, inexcusably and unacceptably on a flight to Mexico (has) raised a lot of anger and frustration,“ said Canadian Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos according to BBC News, at a briefing on Friday.
The 27 who have returned were tested for the virus, and "were checked with regards to whether they had obeyed and followed all of the health regulations they were supposed to follow throughout their trip".
The group were told to provide proof of vaccination against Covid-19, a negative PCR test and a quarantine plan.
Rebecca St Pierre, a 19-year-old student from Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, told the Canadian media that she had won the trip on Instagram.
She had tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday and was not sure how to pay for her hotel stay, she said. She estimated that around 30 people from the plane had tested positive.
"I was expecting a relaxing week, where I was going to be careful, But this turned out to be an expensive trip for something that was supposed to be free,“ St Pierre told BBC News.
The 19-year-old is reported to be isolating in Tulum, south of Cancun.
St Pierre said that some of the group members had planned to put Vaseline up their nose for their return trip in order to tamper with the Covid-19 testing.
BBC News said that James William Awad, the trip organiser, had in a statement on Thursday accused Sunwing of being unreasonable over a "simple party".
Awad said on Twitter: "I will take a moment to sit down and rethink everything, especially how I can do things better next time."
CTV News reported that Awad had referred to the critics as ’sheep’.
’’Reality of the story, sheeps are mad because people partied on a private chartered plane where partying was allowed. Wake up!!” he wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
Defending the partying group, he told CTV News that Sunwing was also to blame as its staff hadn’t stopped the passengers from partying and had supplied the drinks.
“There were flight attendants dancing with us. If an instruction was given to stop everything, I would’ve stopped it in one second,” Awad told CTV News.
As it stands Sunwing flight is under investigation by Transport Canada, with passengers facing potential fines.