February 20 2013 by Bryson Forbes
Every once in a while you hear a travel story that leaves you shaking your head and this week was one of those times. A family on board a Sunwing airlines flight that left Halifax headed for Dominican Republic was forced to make an unexpected landing in Bermuda. The reason for the diversion was that a couple and their twenty-two year old son were smoking in their seats. When they were asked to stop the family were allegedly very aggressive and unruly.
The incident led to the arrest of the three Canadians who appeared in a Bermuda court a few days later. The court charged them to either a $500 fine or 10 days in prison. No word yet on their decision, which to me seems like a pretty easy one, but let's just say they don't have a recent track record of wise decisions.
But the troubles are not quite over for the family. Sunwing Airlines has decided to sue the couple in an attempt to recover the costs associated with the change in the itinerary. Sunwing estimates that this will be in access of fifty thousand dollars Canadian and those costs include:
- Landing fees at the Bermuda airport. Which is even higher than normal because the plane landed much earlier than expected and therefore was carrying more fuel than is permitted and that resulted in a significant over-weight fee.
- Flying a mechanic to Bermuda to examine the aircraft for defects (standard operating procedure for overweight planes, the weight can cause mechanical issues and the plane is not allowed to fly again until it is thoroughly examined and given the ok by a certified mechanic)
- Accommodations for passengers and crew overnight in Bermuda.
- Accommodations for passengers scheduled to fly home from the Dominican Republic on the diverted plane.
- Additional costs for the crew
We have long heard of the health risks and financial costs associated with cigarette smoking but this has the potential to be a very expensive cigarette. I have heard a number of stories of passengers trying to sneak a cigarette in the washroom and once caught they tend to be apologetic and cooperative, usually resulting in a stern lecture and severe warning.
I can only imagine how popular the family was with their fellow passengers looking forward to a relaxing week in the sun. The optimist in me, hears a story like this and thinks about how rare it is, after all for the most part we understand the "travel" rules and do our bets to abide by them.
Share with us any of those rare travel situations you have witnessed where someone had a lapse in judgement?