John, left, and Kathleen McCann have spent $15,000 to purchase multiple return flights home to Canada from Morocco amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re hoping to get refunds from the airlines that have cancelled before they board a flight Thursday to Paris, then Toronto, then Victoria. (Courtesy of Kathleen McCann)

John, left, and Kathleen McCann have spent $15,000 to purchase multiple return flights home to Canada from Morocco amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re hoping to get refunds from the airlines that have cancelled before they board a flight Thursday to Paris, then Toronto, then Victoria. (Courtesy of Kathleen McCann)

B.C. couple anxiously awaits flight home after spending $15K to get home from Morocco

The pair hope to fly to Victoria via Paris and Toronto after leaving Casablanca Thursday

A Greater Victoria area couple is desperate to get home after their vacation was cut short amidst COVID-19 fears – desperate enough to spend $15,000 to buy several return tickets.

Kathleen and John McCann planned on staying in Marrakesh, Morocco until March 31, but the spread of COVID-19 has disrupted their plans.

Morocco closed all public places, including movie theatres, sports arenas, and mosques, effective Monday, March 16, while shops selling necessary goods and restaurants that deliver remain open. The country had 37 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with one death and one recovery as of Monday.

“We’re in a lucky situation where we can afford this,” Kathleen said. “We’ve shelled out lots of money to make this happen. Hopefully everything goes according to plan so we can make it home.”

READ MORE: Victoria woman shares quarantine experience after cruise ship coronavirus outbreak

While the McCanns at least have a plan and the resources to make it happen, other British Columbians aren’t so lucky.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced this week that Global Affairs will offer up to a $5,000 loan to Canadians stuck abroad. He urged them to come home before more borders are closed and to email sos@gc.ca for aid.

However, he acknowledged that with about 3 million Canadians abroad at any time, that may not be possible.

“It is just realistic to know that some of them will not be coming home in the coming weeks,” he said.

Kathleen was excited to visit Morocco for the first time after her husband last visited nearly 50 years ago. They were set to visit the Sahara Desert in the coming days. On Sunday, they went to the Casablanca International Airport, only to discover what John described as ‘total madness’.

“[There was] screaming, crying, shouting,” he said. “Zero help from airport personnel.”

The couple is still in the process of trying to get some airline ticket refunds.

ALSO READ: Langford mom of five sick children struggles to get COVID-19 tests

They are staying in a small hotel on the outskirts of Marrakesh while they await their Air France flight from Casablanca to Paris. From France, they will head to Toronto and then back to Victoria.

On Thursday, the Victoria couple will pack their bags and hope that their flight won’t be cancelled, as Morocco had banned most international flights as of March 13. Otherwise, they might end up stuck at the small hotel in Marrakesh, which the couple says “could be much worse.”

– with files from Kat Slepian

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com


@iaaronguillen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Air TravelCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

John, left, and Kathleen McCann have spent $15,000 to purchase multiple return flights home to Canada from Morocco amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re hoping to get refunds from the airlines that have cancelled before they board a flight Thursday to Paris, then Toronto, then Victoria. (Courtesy of Kathleen McCann)

John, left, and Kathleen McCann have spent $15,000 to purchase multiple return flights home to Canada from Morocco amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re hoping to get refunds from the airlines that have cancelled before they board a flight Thursday to Paris, then Toronto, then Victoria. (Courtesy of Kathleen McCann)

Just Posted

COVID-19 may have indirectly boosted mosquito numbers in one Fraser Valley neighbourhood. (Pixabay photo/File photo)
COVID-19 may have contributed to bad Fraser Valley mosquito season

Restrictions on helicopter occupancy may have resulted in less effective pesticide treatments

Left: Tabor Home in Abbotsford; right: Menno Home (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News; Google Street View)
Fraser Health appoints officials to ‘provide oversight’ at Abbotsford care homes hard hit by COVID-19

Fraser Health says they have provided ‘additional leadership supports’ at Tabor Home and Menno Home

Chilliwack Fire Department responded to a fire in a vacant automotive repair business on Victoria Avenue around 3 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. (Facebook/ Beth Leake)
Early-morning fire in vacant Chilliwack business believed to be deliberately set

The fire broke out around 3 a.m. in a vacant automotive repair business on Victoria Avenue downtown

Sumas First Nation Chief Dalton Silver says a recent assignment about residential schools shows the need for better education for teachers on the topic. (File photos)
Sumas First Nation chief ‘dumbstruck’ by residential school assignment, says more education needed

Dalton Silver says school officials are trying to improve understanding, but much work is needed

Archway staff members Mike and Jennifer with the 2019 Prospera Youth Angel Tree gifts. (Submitted photo)
Youth Angel Tree Project underway in Abbotsford

Program at Prospera Credit Union provides gifts for disadvantaged youth

A snow moon rises over Mt. Cheam in Chilliwack on Feb. 8, 2020. Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 is Mountain Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Dec. 6 to 12

Mountain Day, Dewey Decimal System Day and Lard Day are all coming up this week

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
First Nations Leadership Council demands justice for victims of B.C. social worker

Union of BC Indian Chiefs calls actions of Robert Saunders ‘nothing short of complete depravity’

Sept. 10, 2020 — In the photo is a W.L. McLeod student wearing a mask in a school bus, on his first day back-to-school. This year, due to COVID-19, students will have a different year than most. The President of B.C. Teachers’ Federation told Black Press Sept. 9, that she had a lot of mixed feeling about how ready the education system is for students to be coming back-to-school. Meanwhile, Libby Hart, Principal of W.L. Mcleod Elementary School in Vanderhoof said,” We know some of the families are still unsure, but most of our families have been great in connecting with us and talking to us.” Photos continued on Page 7. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
‘Significant’ changes coming to Fraser Health school exposure notices

Surrey superintendent tweeted there will be 3 letters sent out to a school community

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
B.C. hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced a Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Montreal Alouettes’ Michael Sam is set to make his pro football debut as he warms up before the first half of a CFL game against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. Sam became the first publicly gay player to be drafted in the NFL. He signed with the Montreal Alouettes after being released by St. Louis, but abruptly left after playing one game. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Study finds Canada a ‘laggard’ on homophobia in sports

Among females, 44 per cent of Canadians who’ve come out to teammates reported being victimized

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Most Read