Fly-Back-to-Vote Fares Soar

An El Al airlines plane after landing at Ben Gurion airport. (Reuers/Eric Gaillard)

Israelis living overseas who want to fly home to vote in the April 9 elections say they are facing price-gouging at the hands of the airlines, Globes reported on Thursday.

A person flying from New York to Tel Aviv just in time to arrive before the polls close, and fly right back again, will pay handsomely for the opportunity to exercise his or her civic rights. For example, leaving on April 7 or April 8 and returning on April 10 or April 11 will cost $1,900 for direct flights on El Al, Delta, or United Airlines. The same flight taking off on April 5 and returning on April 8 (before the election) costs only $800, said Issta VP marketing Ronen Carasso.

According to the Kayak website, a direct flight from San Francisco on Sunday, with a return flight on Wednesday, will cost $2,900 on El Al and $2,400 on United Airlines. The same flight taking off from San Francisco on April 9, the day of the election (too late to vote), will cost only $1,000.

Low-cost carriers won’t miss the chance for a killing, either. EasyJet, departing London on April 8 and returning the day after the elections costs $780, not including refreshments and seat selection.

Air fares from European cities, such as Rome and Prague, have also seen a sudden rise.

“I can’t remember such demand before an election. I think that thousands will come,” Carasso concludes.

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