Hundreds Stranded in New York as El Al Flight Misses Takeoff Time

An El Al airline plane at Ben Gurion Airport. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Hundreds of Israelis, as well as foreign residents who planned to spend Simchas Torah in Israel will have to find alternate plans – in New York, where they are stuck for the Yom Tov. An El Al flight that was set to land in Israel Sunday afternoon failed to take off on time on Motzoei Shabbos, because of damage to the plane.

The new Boeing 787 was damaged as luggage was loaded onto the plane. The damage was repaired a short time later, but by the time the plane was cleared for a new flight plan, it appeared that the plane might not make it before Yom Tov. Rather than take a chance, El Al decided to postpone the flight until after the end of Yom Tov.

As a result, airline staff has been busy booking alternative accommodations for travelers. As many of them are observant, El Al has been working to book those without places to stay in the New York area in hotels where they will be able to observe the Yom Tov, such as hotels that allow guests to use keys instead of keycards, and are located near shuls and sources of kosher food.

In a statement, El Al said that “as a result of damage due to loading of luggage, we were unable to carry out flight 008 from New York as planned. All travelers are being taken care of by our representatives and are being transferred to hotels. We apologize to our customers for the unpleasantness, and wish everyone a chag sameach.

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