The airline that was carrying a family of smokers who caused a Halifax flight to be diverted to Bermuda this weekend says it was a costly incident for everyone involved.
A Sunwing flight travelling from Halifax to the Dominican Republic on Friday night had to make an emergency landing after passengers were found smoking in the plane's bathroom.
According to the Bermuda Police Service another passenger alerted the crew and the smokers became verbally abusive.
Police removed a mother, father and two sons, aged 16 and 22, from the flight.
"I cannot believe that passengers did this. I'll bet you it's been 20 years since smoking was allowed on an aircraft," said Daryl McWilliams, the vice-president of media relations with the airline.
"I couldn't believe it when I heard it. I said, 'No, no, what did you say?"
McWilliams said under Canadian transport regulations the plane needed to land at the nearest available airport, which happened to be Bermuda
"We sent a mechanic down to Bermuda, because we wanted our own people to check the aircraft," McWilliams said.
Then "the people who were arrested refused to say if they had left other cigarettes on the aircraft, if they had hidden cigarettes on the aircraft. They were very uncooperative. So in addition to the technical things that had to be done, we had to search the aircraft thoroughly."
He said the plane had to be searched the same way they would search for contraband items.
By that time the crew members were out of flight time and had to be given a 12-hour break.
The rest of the plane's 170 passengers and crew were put up for the night in a hotel at Sunwing's expense.
McWilliams couldn't put a price to how much the diversion cost but said "this was a very expensive exercise for Sunwing."
"Those people will never get on a Sunwing aircraft again. There's no hope. We would have a record of what happened and we wouldn't carry them again."
The family of smokers is still in Bermuda. Police there have put them on conditional bail and they could be charged.
Police could not identify their nationality.
Earlier on HuffPost:
It's a good idea to wait until everyone's fully seated on the plane before getting intoxicated. <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/story/2012/08/21/calgary-oil-executive-flight-disruption.html" target="_hplink">Justin Neil Frank, a 35-year-old Calgary man was arrested after forcing an Air Canada flight from London to Calgary back in August.</a> CBC reports Frank was drunk when he boarded the plane and kept drinking throughout — that is, when he wasn't walking down the aisles claiming to be an oil executive (he works as a rig service electrician). He was later tied down to his seat with duct tape and straps and arrested by the RCMP when the flight landed in Edmonton.
In late August, a United Airlines flight en route to Geneva, Switzerland from Newark, New Jersey was forced to divert in Boston because of an... ordinary camera. Well, to be fair, police and airline crew thought the unclaimed camera could potentially be a bomb, which is <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/07/flight-diverted-over-unclaimed-camera/" target="_hplink">why the 169 people on board had to be removed from the plane</a> while bomb technicians disposed of the camera.
A Bad Joke
The most recent restriction to flying has been the limitation of liquids, gels and aerosols to containers no greater than 100 ml or 100 grams. Combine this with a prank call and you've got the fixings for a bomb scare. Last September, a passenger was victim of a bomb hoax when someone called <a href="http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/story/2012-09-06/Philadelphia-to-Dallas-flight-returns-to-airport/57629992/1" target="_hplink">police at Philadelphia International Airport informing them that a passenger was "carrying a dangerous substance"</a>, as reported by USA Today. The passenger's name matched with someone on board a flight bound to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The plane was forced to return to Philadelphia where police arrested the passenger, only to release him after realizing he had done nothing wrong.
A Prayer Box
Back in January of 2010, a US Airways flight leaving New York and heading to Louisville, Kentucky had to divert to Philadelphia due to a misunderstanding over a teenager's prayer box. The 17-year-old Jewish boy was flying with his sister when he started using his <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,583542,00.html" target="_hplink">tefillin, a set of small black boxes containing biblical passages that are attached to leather straps, attaching one box to his head and the other to his arm</a>, according to Fox News. Crew members of the flight questioned the boy but weren't able to get a "clear response" and asked the plane to turn back to Philadelphia for a more thorough investigation.
What can only be interpreted as a big misunderstanding is also the reason why a partially blind 86-year-old-man caused a Spirit Airlines flight from California to Florida to be diverted to Houston back in July. The man, who <a href="http://www.canada.com/health/Police+Partially+blind+scared+unruly+aboard+Spirit+flight+diverted/6905688/story.html" target="_hplink">only spoke French, became unruly and started swinging at passengers because he was "scared,"</a> reports Canada.com
Medical Help From Obama
Back in May, a French woman managed to divert a US Airways flight from Paris to North Carolina after claiming she had been surgically implanted with a device. Flight 787 landed in Bangor International Airport unexpectedly after Lucie Zeeko Marigot, 41, said <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/23/us-airways-flight-diverte_n_1539618.html" target="_hplink">she had something inside of her that was "out of control" and was travelling to the U.S. to seek medical help from President Barack Obama and the American people</a>. Marigot was never charged by U.S. authorities but was sent back to France, according to U.S. Attorney, Thomas Delahanty II.
Flight Attendant Squabble
What was supposed to be a normal flight from North Carolina to Chicago resulted in a diversion after a fight broke out between two flight attendants on board a United Airlines plane. Raleigh-Durham International Airport <a href="http://www.news.com.au/travel/news/flight-attendant-tiff-forces-plane-diversion-again/story-e6frfq80-1226482329909" target="_hplink">received an early morning call from the pilot of Flight 1214, saying that there was an assault on board</a>, according to News.com, when it was actually a verbal argument between two stewards. When the plane returned to North Carolina, the attendants were removed and the plane was restaffed.