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)

Just Posted

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Slow melt at high elevations near Revelstoke this spring

At one location on Mt. Fidelity there is double the usual snowpack for early July

Summerland Ornamental Gardens remain closed

Staff and volunteers continue to weed and maintain plants

Canada’s deficit result of investing in Canadians: Minister of Middle-Class Prosperity

Minister Mona Fortier said the government is working on the next steps as the economy restarts

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Okanagan sisters-in-law sleep out successful

Kiley Routley and Heidi Routley raise nearly $2,400 and awareness for youth homelessness

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

COVID-19: Homeless to be relocated from temporary Okanagan shelter

Homeless shelters in Vernon have been combined into one site at the curling rink since April

Dozens of fish die at popular lake near Chase

A few natural phenomena are possible causes for their deaths.

Most Read