Without going into naming names...
Here are the issues as I see it.
It is assur to travel on Shabbos on a Jet plane etc.
An exception can be made for extraordinary or extenuating circumstances
This exemption requires a she'eilas hochom. Usually one's "poseik"
That poseik - or his "successor" - decides what course of action to take.
What if that poseik is WAY too meikel? I'm not sure what to say. I've refused to use many kullos offered me or to my family, v'ain kan m'komo.
I'm wondering out loud:
Assuming no d'oraisso was transgressed, if "muttav shyihyu shog'gim" might apply. It seems to NOT apply with m'lochos d'oraisso. But what about g'zeiros d'rabbonon? What are the parameters. EG does it apply to Amira l'akku"m?
My havrussa related an email he got from someone who used to serve in government - who felt that this was NOT a valid heter and that a kiddush Hashem would have been made had they left a day early.
My havurrsa is a lawyer. I asked him: "do you know the facts of this case?" he replied: "no." the discussion ended there.
What we can do:
We can say to the public that -regardless of whether their actions were acceptable or not - that any POTENTIAL heter would require a special exemption by a qualified posek.
If we make that clear, we can do "damage control". This case can then be used to emphasize how it may be done within Halachah.
IMO, the most positive aspect of this ma'aseh is to make this into a "teaching opportunity".
I recall many years ago when the Satmar community conducted a levaya on the first Day of Shavuos on a Friday. R Mordechai Schnaidman, then of Mt. Sinai in Wash Heights, gave a shiur explaining RMF's sheetah in Igros Mosheh re: levayos on the 2nd day of Y"T.
Despite RMF's p'sak, some communities do continue to conduct levayos on the 2nd day of Y"T middina d'gmoro.