El Al Cancels Compensation Agreement with Religious Passengers

YERUSHALAYIM -
el al
(Tomer Neuberg/Flash90, File)

El Al Airlines has reneged on compensation it had agreed to pay passengers on a November flight who had been promised their flight would reach Israel before Shabbos, but were forced to disembark in Athens when it became apparent the plane would not arrive on time.

Subsequently, some of the religious passengers were accused of attacking the crew in their ire over the scheduling foul-up. The accusation proved untrue, but not before a media storm erupted over supposedly disorderly chareidim.

El Al CEO Geonen Usishkin later admitted publicly that there had been no violence on Flight LY002, November 22nd 2018: “I never said that the haredim on the flight attacked anyone. There was no physical violence.”

Under the agreement, the Shabbos-observant passengers, who had been severely inconvenienced and defamed, were promised 2,152 shekels ($609), a total of 111,904 shekels ($31,682), Yisrael Hayom reported.

Passengers received a notice that “El Al’s attorneys have announced that the deal is canceled,” blaming the cancellation on the newspaper’s disclosure of the agreement, which the airline said was meant to be confidential.

“Forgive me, but we’re not stupid and El Al unfortunately are also not so stupid,” Israel Hayom quoted one passenger as writing. “Tell the truth, does anyone think for a second that this will be kept secret? El Al knew this as well. Why can’t we publicize this? Is it confidential security information? El Al knows that this sum is an embarrassment for them…they want to finish this business as if they were thieves at night.

“I don’t want any money! I want an apology and a correction of … the Chilul Hashem that they caused with their accusations and slander of an entire group of people, which they made collectively and in order to improve their standing and abuse the public’s naivete so that they wouldn’t lose and would be able to retain the upper hand.”

The flight had been scheduled to depart New York’s JFK airport at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 22nd 2018, and land in Israel early Friday morning. Some 180 Orthodox passengers were on the flight.