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Airline cancels return flight for partying passengers now stuck in Mexico

By Simon Druker
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Airline cancels return flight for partying passengers now stuck in Mexico
Travelers on a flight from Montreal, Canada, to Cancun, Mexico (pictured) found themselves without a return flight after it was canceled by the airline. File photo by javarman/Shutterstock.

Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Passengers seen partying on a flight from Canada to Mexico may end up stranded after their airline canceled the group's return trip and other carriers now say they also won't allow the travelers to board.

The Sunwing charter flight to Cancun took off on Dec. 30 and photos and video quickly began circulating on social media of passengers without masks dancing and apparently vaping and sharing a large bottle of vodka.

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The airline later canceled the group's return flight which had been scheduled for Wednesday. Two other major carriers -- Air Transat and Air Canada -- both said they would refuse to carry the passengers.

Trip organizer James William Awad, who operates a private club based in Montreal, Canada, issued a statement via social media Thursday. Awad said he understands "why many fellow citizens are upset about the current situation." He also confirmed he met with Sunwing security representatives but could not agree to one of the airline's conditions, leading to the canceled return flight.

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Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra called the behavior "unacceptable" and confirmed an investigation is pending.

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"Our government takes reported incidents such as these very seriously," said Transport Canada in a statement.

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"We have directed our respective departmental officials to immediately launch an investigation into these allegations of non-compliance with COVID-19 and air safety rules and regulations."

The agency said it has been in contact with the airline about the flight. If it determines non-compliance with regulations occurred, it could issue fines up to $5,000 per offense to passengers.

Passengers could also face jail time if they're found to have used fraudulent travel documents.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the incident a "slap in the face" during a briefing on Thursday, and called for a full investigation.

The Canadian government continues to advise all citizens to avoid non-essential travel outside the country.

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