Unruly Passengers Heading Back To Canada

February 5, 2013

The family whose unruly behaviour caused the Sunwing flight to divert to Bermuda are on their way back to Canada, CBC reports.

In a phone interview this afternoon [Feb 5], one of the McNeills told CBC News she was at an airport in Bermuda with her husband and two sons waiting for a flight home.

The family told the Canadian media when they return to Canada, they will tell their side of the story. “Not at this point, I can’t,” said the mother. “We definitely have things to say, but at this point we just want to get our family home.”

The flight — which left Canada heading to the Dominican Republic — diverted to Bermuda at approximately 9.00pm on Friday night [Feb 1].

The three McNeills were arrested by police and taken to the Airport Police Station. They were held for a few hours, and released at about 2am.

Three of the family members — David McNeill Sr [54], Donna McNeill [52], David McNeill Jr [22] — appeared in Magistrates Court yesterday where they were charged with offences including disobeying lawful commands of the crew of an aircraft and smoking in a toilet when smoking is prohibited.

The Court heard the defendants used profane language towards the crew, moved about the cabin when asked not to, allegedly smoked on the flight and one defendant told the crew, “You f—- a$%#oles, I just pissed all over your floor.”

The father pleaded guilty to behaving in a disorderly manner to the crew of an aircraft, and the mother pleaded guilty to disobeying lawful commands of the crew of an aircraft. The oldest son was charged with smoking on the aircraft, which he denied. There was a younger son traveling with them who was not involved in the fracas.

Sunwing’s Daryl McWilliams said the airline had to put up some 180 passengers overnight in Bermuda and bring in a mechanic — and it may try to recover those costs — estimated at some $50,000 — in a civil suit.

In their Court appearance, Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner fined the two parents $500 each, and ordered that the fines be paid immediately or they would could face up to 10 days in prison

The diversion has headlined almost all the Canadian news outlets, and also been covered by numerous other major international media groups including Time Magazine, Huffington Post, Gawker, Daily Mail, the popular gossip blog Perez Hilton and more.

As the only media outlet to have footage of the passengers disembarking and the family being released from police custody after the diversion, Bernews has been inundated with requests from the Canadian media for the footage.

Although this was an unusual situation, there have been a few other cases of airlines diverting due to issues with passengers.

In 2010 a flight — also traveling to the Dominican Republic — was diverted to Bermuda due to an unruly passenger who was kicking and biting the staff. The passenger, a 45-year-old English woman, was lead away from the airport in handcuffs.

She remained custody in Bermuda she was flown back to the UK on a commercial flight under the escort of two Bermuda Police Service officers. She was convicted in a U.K. Court and ordered to pay £2,476 [$4,100] costs to the Bermuda Police.

Last summer an intoxicated passenger forced a transatlantic Air Canada flight from London to Calgary to divert and land in Edmonton. The passenger was restrained to his seat with wrist straps and duct tape.

It is not only passengers who have created issues, with a squabble between two flight attendants forcing a United Airlines flight bound for Chicago to return to Raleigh-Durham International Airport last year.

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  1. Recalling The Other Unruly Passenger Diversion | Bernews.com | February 7, 2013
  1. here's a thought says:

    good riddance….. hope they can behave long enough to get home.

    • Black Jesus says:

      Look on the bright side people.. This is actually a win-win situation for Bermy. A good chunk of that 50Gs was spent on the island for hotel accommodations, transportation, and airport landing-fees. That’s good for the econmy. It’s also good to hear about something other than somebody getting shot and killed for a change. Go BERMUDA!!!

  2. Triangle Drifter says:

    Well,they have had their moment of fame. Next.

  3. Trailer park... says:

    … trash… nuff said.

  4. TimOfFlorida says:

    “and it may try to recover those costs — estimated at some $50,000 — in a civil suit.”. And rightfully so they should!! The airline had to put up 180 passengers in a hotel, bring in a mechanic and just the fact those 180 passengers flight was cancelled mid-trip is enough of a reason. What a bunch of LOOSERS!!! I call it “Family Failure”!!

  5. Limey says:

    I heard they were from Cape Breton so thought they were a bunch of hillbillies especially the way they look in the pics. Then I got sent a link from my Nova Scotian sister in law which says the dad owns a mining company, they have five cars and he travels every week by plane to Ontario for business. So I don’t know really what to think…..

    • Holly says:

      Cape Bretoners are NOT a bunch of hillbillies…shows your ignorance

    • Muggs says:

      This is not uncommon, some years back while working at YVR; I had some drunken Ass-hole winning over lost luggage he lost on a flight from Montreal to Vancouver to where ever. He was Drunk he was off the Prince George. (God help them)

      This is an episode of the Darwin Awards It is my guess these Hatfield-McCoy want-a-be are one of those “I’ll Smoke where I want crowd I paid my tickets. They should have been dropped at Camp Delta. Speaking shamefully as a many years ex-resident. I hope these morons should fry, the rest of you should stay in Canada’s South where protestants and Moslem might actually make an “Honest Living”
      I suspect the molesters are getting less when decent people look at these people on a plane smoking a rules that banned such actions decades ago they can honestly Catholic Hill Billie A$%-hole a group that should not be allowed out un-medicated. and then a practice dummy for the Holly Father.Late at night with pants in standard ankle position.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Well now, the airline may get paid after all. These folks have some assets. For starters that 5th wheel trailer is going to be $20-$30K.
      assuming they have a fairly new 3/4ton truck to pull it is another $30K. Hmmmmm, that should about cover it for the airline. The fine, the Bermuda lawyer, the tickets home, another $5K?

      That sure was some expensive mouthing off to air crew.

  6. What Do You THink says:

    That was an unexpected shot in the tourisms arm. As for the flight crew they done the right thing. I fly with them any day

  7. steve says:

    What a group of inbred white trash east coasters. What a disgrace!
    Archie, don’t be soft, you should have hit em harder with $1500 fines each minimum and no bail.

    There will be a next time, can’t wait for another Canadian to divert a plane to the rock

  8. Nuffin but de Truth! says:

    The family told the Canadian media when they return to Canada, they will tell their side of the story. “Not at this point, I can’t,” said the mother

    she needs the time to formulate a set of lies to try to convince others they were in the right blah blah blah…

  9. Alan says:

    Unfortunately for Canada, especially Nova Scotia, an event like this makes us all look ‘backward’. There are bullies everywhere, yes bullies…these idiots are a little more successful in their tiny community in Cape Breton and they think they are top dogs! Well, the parents, anyway. They have just proven to the world how ‘low class’ they actually are. I hope they have to pay the full $50,000.

  10. Martin says:

    Will the 180 passengers count in Tourisms “Arrivals by air”? for this quarter?

  11. swing voter says:

    On behalf of all hard working Bermudians and Guest Workers, a big thank you to the McNeill Family for injecting $50K into our sluggish economy and inadvertantly putting Bermuda on the map as a viable tourist destination through the media exposure.

    Perhaps the DOT should simply pay some idiots to ocassionally raise hell on flights transiting our air-space…

  12. Xman says:

    Warner is weak!
    They should have been fined $5000 each.
    Warner has imposed very heavy fines to many offendents for doing far less.
    Smoking on a Aircraft – Causing a Disturbance – Causeing the Pilot to Divert to the first availble runway -
    Causing a Company thousands of Dollars — come on Warner —- retire!

  13. seriously? says:

    Good riddance is right, a total embarassment to Canada BUT on the flip side great free publicity for Bermy and a boost to our economy :)

    I do have one question however, why did Sunwing need to bring in a mechanic? Airlines only do that if there is a mechanical issue with the plane mechanics are NEVER brought to Bermuda to deal with low life classless passengers that gets left to the Customer Service Agents and authorities….just saying!

    • Big D says:

      @seriously
      I heard the mechanic was required to check the plane for stress fractures, as it landed with too much fuel/weight