Unruly Israelis Ordered to Pay Israir For Bad Behavior

An Israir flight taking off from Ben Gurion International Airport recently. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

In a twist on the usual order of things, two Israelis who were thrown off a flight from Bulgaria to Israel have been ordered to pay Israir, the carrier they were flying, a settlement of NIS 2,000 for “bad behavior.” The order to pay was issued by an Israeli small-claims court, which threw out the passengers’ claim against the airline and instead ordered them to pay.

The two had flown on Israir last winter on a ski vacation to Bulgaria. The flight was not to their satisfaction, and the two complained that airline staff had been “impolite” to them, after they were overheard making disparaging remarks about Israir. They claimed they were then detained for six hours in the Sofia Airport by Bulgarian police, acting at the behest of Israir staff. They missed their original flight, and were forced to take a second one much later. That flight returned to Israel at 6:00 the next morning, forcing them to lose a day of work. For all this, they demanded damages of some NIS 33,000.

But Israir had a different story. According to the airline, the two were drunk and were harassing staff and passengers. Several passengers reported to staff that they had been scared by the pair. Staff alerted the pilot, who contacted police. Police boarded the plane and arrested the two.

Testimony supplied by staff, passengers, and police all pointed to the responsibility of the two for the events that led to their being detained, the court decided. The court also slammed them for demanding compensation, without showing what damages they sustained, including a lack of evidence for a day lost at work. In the end, the court dismissed their claims, and demanded that they pay NIS 1,000 apiece in court costs on behalf of Israir.