2 Jewish Women Say Virgin Atlantic Staff Wouldn’t Let Them Board, Made Antisemitic Comments

By Matis Glenn

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Two Jewish women who were flying home to Israel from New York earlier this month were baselessly denied entry to their Virgin Atlantic plane and endured antisemitic insults and mockery from staff, the pair allege.

The two women, having arrived hours before their June 17 flight from JFK Airport, had their luggage checked, their flight passes authenticated, and were set to board their 11:59 p.m. flight to Israel, when they presented their passports to a Virgin Atlantic employee while on a line about an hour before takeoff.

The employee, reportedly a duty manager for the airline, pulled the women aside and told them that they and their luggage had been removed from the plane, without giving them a reason, the women say. He also threatened to call police if the women attempted to record the encounter. While the scene was unfolding, the women saw other Virgin Atlantic staff jeering and laughing at their plight while making antisemitic comments.

A source familiar with the incident tells Hamodia that El Al staff who had witnessed the incident had wanted to help the women obtain new tickets, but Virgin Atlantic had labeled the women as “no shows,” and as such, ineligible to be assigned a new flight without another purchase.

Last month, three Jewish passengers, one on a JetBlue flight, and two who traveled with American Airlines, also alleged that they were thrown off of planes due to antisemitic discrimination.

After being denied entry, the women were forced to purchase new tickets with El Al at an additional cost of $800 each. They also were left without a place to sleep and were not given accommodations by the airline, eventually finding lodging in Brooklyn.  

A complaint was filed shortly after the incident with the airline’s CEO, Shai Weiss, who is Israeli. The aforementioned source tells Hamodia that Virgin Atlantic acknowledged the letter and that an investigation is currently underway, led by the head manager at JFK.

Virgin Atlantic was not available for comment Sunday.

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