Open Letter to El Al

There is so much to talk about what happened on Flight 002. What about what happened with Flight 008? [the flight that continued to Israel after receiving a psak that they could fly because there was a sick passenger and it was a matter of pikuach nefesh – Ed.]

I was supposed to fly on Thursday evening on Flight 008, which was scheduled to depart at 8:50 p.m. Baruch Hashem I did not board.

The issue here is not chareidi-or-not-chareidi. It is an issue of El Al’s customer service. Or rather lack of it. Had El Al been honest that the flight would be delayed for hours and hours and that the flight before still had several hours to takeoff, I would have left right away and not wasted so much time at the airport.

As soon as I got to the airport, I asked the agent what the situation was. I knew that the snow was not El Al’s fault. But the way they handled the situation was. But there was no one to talk to. No one was being honest with me.

I went to the gate to try and figure out what was happening. For some reason my boarding pass wouldn’t scan, so I was sent back to the desk. I got to the desk at 9:20 and asked the agent, “If you are telling us that the flight will take off at 10, how can you be giving me a new boarding pass at 9:20 and still be checking in the people behind me?”

She answered, “The pilot is not here yet!”

I asked her, “So how are you saying that the flight will take off at 10?”

She answered, “That’s what I was told to say!”

How can El Al fool their passengers like that? Especially when Shabbos is an issue?

I baruch Hashem did not board the plane and decided to leave the airport.

Shockingly, when my travel agent called El Al to rebook me on a flight Motzoei Shabbos, El Al wanted to charge us a change fee! They said the flight did take off, so we have to charge you! After 15 minutes of arguing, they reluctantly relented.

Yes, the flight took off, but El Al knew that the flight was flying on Shabbos! How dare they try to charge a change fee? Have they no respect at all for their customers?


Samuel R., an ex-El Al frequent flyer

Editor’s Note: Hamodia emailed this letter to El Al a week ago asking for comment. At press time, we had not heard back from them. We independently confirmed that the letter-writer was indeed a ticketed passenger on that flight.