Sunwing to sue unruly Cape Bretoners for diverting plane

QMI Agency

QMI Agency

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

Sunwing airlines has threatened to sue a Nova Scotia family for $50,000 after they allegedly lit cigarettes on a plane and forced the flight to make an emergency landing in Bermuda on Friday.

The airline accuses the Cape Breton family — David MacNeil Sr., his wife Donna and their 22-year-old son David Jr. — smoked cigarettes on the plane and verbally abused crew members.

David Sr. and his wife appeared in Bermuda court this week to answer to charges related to the mid-air altercation.

David Sr. pleaded guilty to behaving in a disorderly manner and calling one member of the crew a "f---ing a--hole," reports the Royal Gazette newspaper in Bermuda.

Donna pleaded guilty to disobeying a lawful command on the flight from Halifax to the Dominican Republic.

David Jr. was initially charged with smoking on an aircraft, but prosecutors decided not to proceed with the charges when he pleaded not guilty.

A judge fined the mother and father $500 each.

But that's not enough for Sunwing, which says the diversion cost the airline $50,000. The company told the Halifax Chronicle Herald newspaper it would sue the MacNeils.

"That's based on the cost of the landing fees in Bermuda (and) the cost of flying a mechanic to Bermuda to check the aircraft out for stress fractures because it had to land overweight, because of the amount of fuel that was on board," spokesman Daryl McWilliams told the paper.

The airline also had to pay for hotels and meals overnight in Bermuda for the other passengers aboard the flight, the Chronicle said.