A WestJet Calgary-to-Toronto (YYC-YYZ) flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Winnipeg after passengers became unruly and refused to sing Happy Birthday to a flight crew member.
Winnipeg Police and RCMP were called out and waiting for the Boeing 737 as it taxied to a vacant runway, and Transport Canada officials say 11 passengers were removed and charges are pending. Passengers from the rerouted flight waiting to reboard at Winnipeg International Airport (YYY) say the 3 cabin crew members were "overly enthusiastic" and "wouldn't stop with the creepy smiling thing."
"I felt like I was trapped in an episode of Glee," said one businessman who asked not to be identified. "First they sang "Good morning to You, Good morning to You, We're all in our places, With sunshiny faces..." like a dozen times until everyone had stowed their bags in the overhead compartments and taken their seats. Bugger off!"
Police say four passengers face Assault With A Weapon charges, one involving a thrown Egg 'N' Sausage Onion Bagel from Tim Hortons, allegedly carried on to the flight. One crew member was treated and released by EMS after having a Peak Frean Shortbread Finger removed from his nasal passage, allegedly placed there by a disgruntled passenger.
"It wasn't even the flight lady's damn birthday," said Thelma Gor, a Mississauga-based beautician and pedicurist who admits she flung her Pretzel Straws during the heat of the confrontation. "I flew the same flight last week and they said it was Mindy's birthday then too. She must be 90 by now."
Passenger Ward Dungle said he just wanted a quiet flight to go over some notes but became agitated with the "almost constant push to make us all act giddy."
"Getting us to put our trays in the upright position to do seat Yoga was the topper for me," he said after being released from police custody. "I saw red and just wanted to chap slap that Chad dude with his "I'm an owner" happy crap."
WestJet released a brief statement saying "Flight WS 698 YYC-YYZ made an unscheduled stop at YYY due to in-flight disturbances. Share your smile and have a fantastic day."
"Makes me want to puke," said Frank Lee, "I'm going Air Canada next time."
Reporting for The Lapine