Subscribe Now

travelers today

Home » News

Smoking Family on Plane Update: Canadian Tour Operator May Sue for Cost of Flight Diversion

Travelers Today       By    Amanda Woods

Updated: Feb 05, 2013 05:18 PM EST

Text Size: A A A

Sunwing Travel Group, a Canadian tour operator, may sue a Cape Breton family for $40,000 -- the cost of a flight diversion to Bermuda after the parents and son smoked on a plane Friday night.

As reported on Monday, the plane, flying from Halifax, Canada to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, was forced to land in Bermuda when three smoking passengers refused to put out their lights.

Daryl McWilliams of Sunwing told MacLean's that the airline had to pay for 180 passengers' overnight fees and get a mechanic for the plane, a cost that it may try to recover in a civil action.

McWilliams told MacLean's that the flight landed because the flight attendants believed the family was smoking -- but David McNeil Jr., 22 (the son), denied smoking on the plane, and the charges were dropped. The plane continued on its way to Punta Cana on Sunday, MacLeans reported.

Prosecutor Carrington Mahoney alleged that McNeil Jr. and his parents, David McNeil Sr., 54, and Donna McNeil, 52, disobeyed orders to return to their seats after arguing with flight attendants about bathroom usage during take-off, MacLean's reported. Minutes into the flight, the court heard that McNeil Jr. went to the bathroom - and prosecutors said crew members asked him to return to his seat and not walk around the cabin until the captain turned off the seatbelt sign.

The father allegedly also attempted to use the bathroom and was told to sit down - and the mother later requested that her son be allowed to use the toilet, MacLean's reported.

Once the seatbelt sign was deactivated, the son used the bathroom and then returned to his seat, but his father got up afterwards and cursed at a flight attendant, prosecutors said, according to MacLean's. The son used the restroom afterwards, and emerged smelling strongly of cigarette smoke. When a crew member searched the bathroom and couldn't find a cigarette butt, the crew decided to divert the plane to Bermuda and remove the family, MacLean's reported.

MacLean's reported that although the father pleaded guilty to behaving in a disorderly manner and using abusive and offensive language, and the mother pleaded guilty to disobeying a lawful order by a flight attendant - the son denied the charge of smoking on the plane, and he and his father both denied disobeying a lawful order. The charges were dropped after the Crown did not offer any evidence to defeat the denied charges, according to MacLean's.

The family's lawyer, Victoria Pearman, said the three travelers were stressed because of delays in the flight's departure. She called the flight crew's response "heavy-handed" and added that the son "urgently" had to use the bathroom.

"It just seems that this could have all been done another way," Pearman told MacLean's. "Even though all offences before this court are serious, given the human element of this, the court may consider that this is a one off and unlikely to happen again."

Both David and Donna McNeil were fined $500 each - an amount that must be paid immediately, or they could face a prison sentence of 10 days, according to MacLean's.

© 2016 Traverlers Today, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Join Our Conversation

Travel Tips

New York Uber Drivers Protest Rate Cuts

Safety Travel Tips: Should You Take Uber Abroad

Many wonder the safety of taking Uber should they take on their services overseas. Taking Uber may not be what customers expect if they take their services outside of their home country.

File:Cup of tea (High Speed Photography)-MJ.jpg

Top 5 Tea Countries Every Tea Lover Should Visit

Fancy some tea tasting in these countries?

Google Maps Returns To Apple's iPhone

7 Travel Apps You Need For Your Summer Vacation

Are you travelling this summer? Here are 7 travel apps that can help you have a fun and stress-free vacation.

Caribbean

Island Hopping In The Caribbean: How To Get The Best Tours

Island trips to the Carribbean should not be too hard even for those who were just doing it for the first time. In other words, even if travellers are scared of going on unfamiliar trips for the first time, they can still go on these trips, thanks to helpful resources such as guides and maps.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive the latest travel news, reviews, and more..

Want more Travel?

Most Popular

Children TV

Time Travel And Other TV Trends To Expect This 2016

The three trends that are seen in TV this year which includes time travel, blast from the past and adaptations.

Airport

TSA Security Head Fired Over Long Lines In The Airport?

Kelly Hoggan, the agency's assistant administrator for security operations, has been removed from his position, according to an internal memo by TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger obtained by NBC News.

Swimming pool

US: 1 in 8 Swimming Pools Closed for Health Violations, According To Health Violations

One in eight swimming pools in most populated states were allegedly been shut down due to inspection of filthy and suspected existing harmful water around, as announced by health authorities in the United States on Thursday.

travelers today

© 2016 IQADNET LLC All rights reserved.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Real Time Analytics