The New England Patriots' plane picking up stranded Canadians in the Dominican Republic. The New England Patriots’ plane picking up stranded Canadians in the Dominican Republic. (Global News.)

This holiday season saw an incredible amount of airline havoc. In the U.S., that was maybe most notable with Southwest Airlines, where massive system-wide issues and cancellations had huge impacts on bowl season for players, media, and more (as well as enormous impacts outside the sports world). In Canada, there’s been a giant issue with Sunwing Airlines, which focuses on flights from that country to Mexico and the Caribbean.

Sunwing’s cancellations have led to a lot of people being stranded at those destinations. But the airline was able to get one group of people home to Quebec from the Dominican Republic on Dec. 30 (three days after their planned departure) with an unusual plane. That would be the jet typically used by the New England Patriots. Dan Spector of Global News has that story:

As shown there, that whole situation was a mess. The group received no shuttle bus or communication on their scheduled flight on Dec. 27, paying their own way to the airport, waiting there for 12 hours, and then being sent to a hotel. They then spent another 12 hours waiting in the airport on Dec. 29. But on Dec. 30, Sunwing finally managed to get them in the air, and did so on the Patriots’ plane. That led to some notable comments from passenger Maryse Plourde to Spector:

“It was incredible,” Plourde said with a smile. The group was in disbelief.

Plourde quickly noticed the roomy seats intended for hulking football players, and was impressed with the legroom.

“It was very comfortable,” she said.

There was some disappointment among the Quebecois passengers that the crew couldn’t speak French, but no major complaints.

As Matt Cundill noted on Twitter, the language complaint makes this story even more Canadian.

It’s unclear what exactly led to Sunwing being able to use the Patriots’ plane here. But the Patriots did not need it this week, as they played the Miami Dolphins at home Sunday. So it’s good that it was able to be put to use to get these stranded passengers home. (There are still Sunwing passengers stranded across Mexico and the Caribbean, though, so the overall situation isn’t yet solved.)

[Global News]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.