El Al Loses for Third Time in Compensation Claim for Delayed Flights

(Moshe Shai/Flash90)

An El Al passenger was awarded €900 compensation (around 3,784 shekels, or $1,062) for inconvenience caused by a delayed flight, the third such ruling against the Israeli carrier in Europe, Globes reported on Tuesday.

El Al’s argument that it operates according to Israeli law, and thereby makes passengers eligible for compensation only for a delay of eight or more hours, was rejected by the court in Paris. It ruled according to EU regulations, which set the delay minimum at only three hours for compensation, which then is calculated according to flight distance.

The website Claimit, which brought the case, won two previous compensations for Israeli passengers in similar cases in Germany and the Netherlands. In all three cases, El Al had agreed to compensate EU nationals on the delayed flights but not Israelis.

This case in France involved a flight in September 2015 delayed by more than three hours on en route from Charles de Gaulle airport to Ben Gurion.

El Al sought to have the claim dismissed on grounds that it was a Tel Aviv-Paris-Tel Aviv flight subject to Israeli law, not EU law; but the court determined that it was a flight from Paris to Tel Aviv and ordered El Al to pay the passenger €400 compensation and €500 costs. Claimit takes a 30 percent fee for the legal representation of the passenger.

Claimit CEO Ralph Pais had unsympathetic comments about El Al:

“We work with dozens of airline companies around the world, and from my point of view El Al is ranked top with the doubtful title of not respecting the rights of its passengers,” he said.

“Even after the two previous rulings in Europe, El Al continues its policy of discrimination and is prepared to pay large amounts to lawyers representing them in Europe against passengers instead of respecting the law.”

Claimit says more lawsuits are being prepared on behalf of Israeli passengers who suffered delays on flights in Croatia, Hungary and Bulgaria.