James William Awad, head organizer of a party flight that flew out of Canada to Cancun, has been stranded in Mexico since airlines canceled his return flight home.
Releasing an apology Thursday morning, Awad thanked everyone for their patience and restated that he was “committed to hosting a private and safe event in Cancun with my group from the 111 private club.”
Despite his best wishes, many of the stranded passengers have since tested positive for Covid-19, including 19-year-old Rebecca St. Pierre. She told USA Today that she believed at least 30 other passengers on board had likely tested positive at well.
Chartering a Sunwing Airlines flight on Dec. 30, the group of 111 Private Club influencers shared video of the rowdy, drunken, maskless party flight on Instagram. The footage later sparked outrage in Canada for their blatant disregard of health and safety protocols.
Though everyone on board was part of James William Awad’s entourage, airlines are refusing to fly the irresponsible group back, citing multiple safety risks and an investigation by Transport Canada.
According to CNN, passengers onboard the Sunwing Party Flight could face fines of up to $5,000 each per offense, as well as jail time for any false information given the airlines about vaccinations status or Covid precautions.
The Canada party flight’s behavior was “unruly and contravened several Canadian Aviation Regulations as well as public health regulations,” Sunwing Airlines said in a statement. They later notified Awad and his group that their return flight home was canceled.
Canada also issued an advisory notice to all citizens on Dec. 15 that they should avoid all unnecessary international travel due to the spread of Covid-19’s Omicron variant.
“It’s a slap in the face to see people putting themselves, putting their fellow citizens, putting airline workers at risk by being completely irresponsible,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a briefing on Wednesday. He called the group “idiots” and stated that he was “extremely frustrated” with the incident.
In video of the party flight, bottles of Grey Goose vodka can be seen being passed around as the young group danced, vaped, and partied in close proximately in the aisles without masks.
Hoping to get everyone home safely, Awad stated that he met with a security representative from Sunwing Airlines to discuss what conditions would have to be met to return them safely home to Quebec. However, they could not come to an agreement.
According to Awad, Sunwing asked for a security manager and three additional in-flight guardians to watch over the teenagers at Awad’s expense. All passengers would also be required to wear a mask over their nose and mouth per Transport Canada regulations.
The airlines service also said that there would be no inflight meals, no alcohol served, no standing in the aisles, and no access granted without proof of a negative PCR test.
“I agreed to every demand… I assured them every measure would be followed,” James William Awad wrote in his statement Thursday, “but we couldn’t conclude an agreement because Sunwing refused to Provide Meals to the group for a 5h flight.”
Awad believed that his passengers would go hungry without in-flight meals over the five-hour flight, and argued with the Sunwing security representative who later canceled the arrangements.
“This was my first travel event. I have significantly learned, and I am still learning from this experience,” he wrote. “The 111 private club is working tirelessly to get everyone back home safely as quickly as we can.”
As of Thursday afternoon, no other charter flight company has agreed to fly the group home, especially with so many passengers testing positive for Covid-19.