Court: El Al Policy of Seat Changes Is Illegal 

YERUSHALAYIM -
El Al Airline planes lined up at Ben Gurion International Airport. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

In a landmark ruling, the Yerushalayim Magistrate’s Court ruled on Wednesday that “under absolutely no circumstances can [an El Al] crew member ask a passenger to move from their designated seat because the adjacent passenger doesn’t want to sit next to them due to their gender.”

Court Judge Dana Cohen-Lekah said in her ruling that “the policy is a direct transgression of the law preventing discrimination.”

The ruling means that requesting a passenger to change his or her seat will now be considered discriminatory and illegal.

The court ruling relates to a case brought by the Israel Religious Action Center, the legal arm of the reform movement in Israel, in December 2015, on behalf of Renee Rabinowitz, an 81-year-old lady, aboard an El Al’s flight from Newark to Israel.

Rabinowitz was asked by a flight attendant to move to another seat due to the request of a man sitting next to her, and at the time she agreed to do so, but later turned to IRAC to sue the airline over the incident.

The ruling requires El Al to now define the procedure for such an occurrence and explain it to all flight staff through written directives and training.