'Don't judge the whole community:' Mabou residents react to smoking family
Published Tuesday, February 5, 2013 7:13PM AST
A family of smokers who disrupted a flight down south are scheduled to arrive home Tuesday night after appearing in court in Bermuda, but their battle in the court of public opinion has only just begun.
A Sunwing Airlines flight bound for the Dominican Republic was diverted to Bermuda Friday night after three members of the MacNeil family were allegedly caught smoking cigarettes and became verbally abusive with the plane’s crew.
Word that the family is now being sued by Sunwing Airlines, is generating plenty of reaction, especially in their hometown of Mabou, N.S.
“Oh, it’s certainly the talk of the town, that is for sure,” says visitor Gordon MacIsaac.
“Very surprising, I listened intently when I heard Mabou,” says resident Phyllis MacDonald.
“I would just like to ask people not to judge the whole community and surrounding communities. It is one incident and it is one group of people, who I’m sure regret their actions very much.”
David MacNeil Sr. pleaded guilty to behaving in a disorderly manner while his wife Darlene also pleaded guilty to disobeying lawful commands of the crew.
Their eldest son pleaded not guilty to smoking on board and the charge was dismissed.
Sunwing says they plan to sue the family to recover the costs incurred from the unscheduled landing.
As for the other passengers, who lost a day of their vacation, Sunwing is offering each of them a $150 compensation for future flights.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald
This Canadian family was fined for smoking on a Sunwing flight headed to Dominican Republic. (Courtesy: Bernews.ca)