Group: Israeli Passengers Should Exercise Caution With Some Airlines

A passenger waiting by his luggage in the departure hall at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport. (Flash90)

In its annual ratings of airlines, SkyTrax has released its list of airline ratings, judging carriers on the basis of safety, comfort, service, security etc. The airlines are rated on a scale of one to five — and anything below a three, says SkyTrax, is an airline that should be flown only with “great caution.” Ratings are based on polls of travelers throughout the year, who rate the airlines for each criteria on a scale of one to ten.

The list shows 21 such airlines, but because Israel is relatively isolated in its travel connections, only five of them fly to and from Ben Gurion Airport. Among the airlines that are considered less than desirable and run frequent flights to and from Israel is Pegasus Airlines, which conducts flights to and from Turkey.

The airline has two or three flights a day between Tel Aviv and Istanbul or Anatalya, and has a reputation as a very low-cost airline. Just as low is its security; last year a passenger from Turkey who was supposed to travel to Dubai ended up on the Tel Aviv flight, to the chagrin of the airline.

Other airlines that came in with low ratings on the SkyTrax list that fly to and from Israel include Ukraine International, SmartWings, Rossiya and Bulgaria Air. Most of the airlines were considered average for service or in-flight activity; where most fell off was in security, with several of the airlines reporting serious security snafus. Safety officials said that while it was understandable that Israelis would want to save money on flights — all of the lower-rated airlines had exceptionally low fares — cheap fares could not come at the expense of security and safety.

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