Sunwing Airlines, the United of Canada, had a pretty shitty end to 2016 and start to 2017. Sunwing advertises themselves as "Canada's leading low cost airline" that specializes in discount and last minute flights all across the western hemisphere. While customer complaints aren't anything unusual for an airline, the sheer intensity of Sunwing's recent public relation fails are truly something special.
So special were these fuck-ups, that they required having an illustrator help tell the story.
To start, on New Year's Eve, one of their pilots in Calgary got just rip roaring drunk and almost flew a plane. Not normal, man-I-shouldn't-drive-drunk, but like piss your pants and fight a cop drunk. In that state this man got as far as behind the cockpit which is where he promptly passed out and was found by the flight crew. Some inspectors called it "the worst case they've ever seen."
Kudos to Sunwing for the minute they realized his ass was sauced he was hauled out of the cockpit seat in quick time before being charged with alcohol impairment but think about just how dangerously close this man got to flying that plane. Before we move on, let's let that one sink in, shall we?
A pilot, who works for a major airline, who was allegedly drunk out of his mind (three-times past the legal limit) got as far as the cockpit of a big-ass flying machine filled with paying customers before someone said to themselves "well, something's not right with Captain Morgan here."
And the story doesn't get better from here.
Then Sunwing turned their eyes to their customers who, for some reason, they apparently don't want to have as returning customers. The plane (yes, the one the drunk man almost flew) eventually landed two hours and 47 minutes late in Cancun, but they refused to reimburse the customers. They cited a rule that if the plane lands within three hours they don't offer any compensation.
While a Sunwing spokesperson stated that the company is "very apologetic for any upset that this has caused and would like to assure our customers that safety remains our utmost priority," some passengers called the whole situation "deplorable."
The company also attempted to pass off the pilot as sick to their passengers and ignored the fact that they almost let a hammered-as-hell man fly them, presumably, into the nearest McDonald's for a late night snack at several hundred miles an hour.
Finally, in mid-January it came out that a Sunwing pilot (starting to see a correlation here?) caused a massive bomb scare at Pearson Airport in November. The story goes that he mistook a battery for an explosive object stuffed into his personal mailbox. Disturbed by this finding the pilot alerted Toronto Police who dispatched an elite force that focuses on counter-terrorism.
Apparently, the battery was from an antique clock and was put there by another Sunwing employee who thought it would be "cool" to do so , that it would make a good "joke." The mistake caused two large buildings near the airport to be evacuated.
Trying to explain the situation away, Sunwing, talking to the CBC, said the whole thing was "a misunderstanding between the pilot who left the battery and the pilot who found it." No one was charged in the event but police weren't too happy with "Canada's leading low cost airline."
Nice job guys! It's starting to become evident how you keep those flight prices so low.