Has The ZOA Jumped The Shark With Their Lufthansa Boycott?

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The ZOA put out an action alert on July 1st “Don’t Fly Lufthansa German Airlines: It Discriminates Against Travelers to Israel”

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) today urged travelers not to fly Lufthansa German Airlines because it discriminates against the Jewish State of Israel and travelers to Israel. According to Lufthansa’s website, Economy Class travelers are permitted one free bag of up to 23 kg. But Lufthansa has a special baggage allowance policy for Economy Class travelers, which allows two bags (each weighing up to 23 kg), free of charge, on several routes including “between the United States, Canada, Mexico and Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.” Conspicuously excluded from this more generous baggage policy is Israel.

In May 2015, ZOA wrote to Lufthansa, calling on the airline to explain its discriminatory baggage policy. The ZOA wrote: We hope that Israel’s omission was merely an oversight and was not done intentionally. If it was intentional, it would clearly constitute anti-Semitism.”

You would hope that they would do some basic research before throwing around the “anti-Semitism” card.

A simple Google search reveals that there are 3 powerhouse middle-eastern airlines, Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar, collectively known as the ME3 or the Gulf Three.  They are award-winning airlines known for one-upping each other with features like showers, bars, and even private residences onboard served by a Savoy trained butler with a completely secluded private bedroom and shower. Yes, you can use your miles for your own first class “apartment” and shower in the sky.

The ME3 each allow 2 free checked bags for flights from Canada and the US.  It’s no surprise that Lufthansa matches that policy for flights to the Middle East. It’s the least they can do to remain competitive for those ME3 dominated destinations.

It’s also no surprise that the ME3 don’t fly to Israel, thus Lufthansa has no competitive need to match their 2 free checked bag policy for flights to Israel.

Another google search would reveal that every major airline on the North America-Israel route (Air Canada, American, Delta, El Al, and United) only allows 1 free checked bag.

But hey, why blame competition for a policy when we can single out a German carrier for anti-Semitism?

Anti-Semitism is a real issue that’s only getting worse, especially in Europe. But this can’t possibly be the right way to attack it.

Now to be fair, the ZOA isn’t the only one to say baseless things like this. The US airlines are embroiled in a fight to restrict the ME3’s ability to fly to the US as they can’t (or don’t want to) compete with the superior service that those airlines provide. Delta’s CEO Richard Anderson practically blamed the ME3 carriers for 9/11 and the subsequent US airline bankruptcies. Not many statements can hurt your cause more than that.

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60 Comments On "Has The ZOA Jumped The Shark With Their Lufthansa Boycott?"

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Will the day ever come that the U.S. bases airlines will offer first class service as the ME3 ?



high end hobo

lol i was just reading this post from the nice shul in the frankfurt airport!


Hey Dan, did anyone send this piece to ZOA so they don’t make a fool of themselves?


boring day at the office, eh?


Fast days bring out the best in me 😛


@Dan: Is it a financial issue that’s stopping them ?


The service from US based flight attendants will never rival Asian or Middle Eastern service, thus nobody pays for US first class.

It’s full of upgraders and non-rev employees and that’s why it’s being phased out.

that is it

Boom. That is exactly the right question for today. What other question could inspire introspection to motivate us to do Teshuva on this taanis tzibur better than this question?


@that is it:
Did you mix me up with your spiritual leader?

I’ve been mistaken for a singer (http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/49174), but never that.


In my experience. The 1 baggage policy is enforced by Israel. They want travelers to purchase their needs IN Israel. They are also very strict with not going over the allowed weight. On the way out, they are a LOT more generous with going way overweight.


This can be seen in many directions.

First off, there are some (used to be MANY) that would refuse to buy German or use German.

As for the ME3 having superior service, while that is probably true, it is not necessarily wrong that they might not be competing fairly (i.e. they come with VERY DEEP POCKETS aimed at gaining market share, for the airlines AND their hubs, even if not necessarily making money).

With the recent passing of Yekutiel (Kuti) Rapp, who served as emissary/liaison to ELAL @JFK, various stories have come out. One of them that I saw was about ELAL officials asking the Rebbe whether he instructed his Chassidim not to fly ELAL. The Rebbe answered on the contrary, it is Halacha that one should do business with a Yid (או קנה מיד עמיתך). That being said, I am not preaching here, as I have avoided ELAL for the past 15 years mostly due to my personal experience with their service. But I am pointing out that this Halacha does exist, and even if one won’t necessarily buy from a Yid, one might want to think twice before giving business to those that hate you (directly or indirectly trying to annihilate the Jewish nation).


Also, we need more people like Dan in politics to be able to discern between real issues and non-issues


This has nothing to do with the state of Israel.

Not too long ago they all allowed 2 free bags, going down to 1 bag was nothing but a money grab.

Airlines like Transaero, Ukraine, and Turkish still give 2 free bags in coach.

Elite flyers and business class passengers still get 2 or 3 free bags.

That’s a fair question, but do you really think that your average Germans today hates you just because his great grandparents may have?

Unfortunately most religious jews encounter more hate when flying El Al than any other airline. And that’s a truly sad story.

As far as the ME3, they may be unfairly subsidized, so stick to that story. Don’t blame 9/11 on them…

What, Trump isn’t enough for ya? 😉


I think we need to be honest with the US carriers, they operate under different circumstances


@Stern: That is pure speculation (and probably untrue). Some airlines allow 2 checked bags to Israel in Economy (TK comes to mind).


This story is so much more ridiculous when you consider that Israeli citizens can actually cash in their Lufthansa miles&more at a DISCOUNT when flying from Israel to Europe. This is likely an attempt at getting Israeli’s to use Lufthansa for European travel. However, the bias is actually in favor of Israelis.

Agree entirely with your sentiment Dan — don’t pull the Anti Semetism card so quickly.


Very good point, that is a very generous policy for Israeli Lufthansa members.

I mention it here: http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/68732

Deal Guy

So when flying to Israel on Lufhansa from the US,are you allowed 1 or 2 bags? I would think that since it originates out of the US, you are allowed 2. So what is their issue?


Dan. Enough. Why is it that you’re the first to criticize El Al and the first to defend Lufthansa? With “friends” like you, who needs enemies? And for what, selling your soul for a such ridiculous gashmius like a Savoy-trained butler? Pas nisht. Remember who you are.


@Dan: Unfortunately, some nations have a long tradition of antisemitism (and הלכה בידוע שעשו שונא ליעקב – at the deep core there is some antisemitism all over the goyishe world, especially in Europe).

As for the (let’s not call it anti-semitism…) treatment that obviously observant jews receive by ELAL, that is a very true and sore point (I said I have avoided them for over 15 years).

I always contrast the experience I had with ELAL flying to my father’s levaya, asking to be let off the plane first as they were waiting for me (it was in the winter), and getting a nasty response. Contrast that with BA being asked to let me of the plane first upon landing on a Friday afternoon (in Elul) at JFK, having them ask everyone to remain seated while they helped me with the hand luggage off the plane.


@Deal Guy:
No, it’s 1 bag either way.
No airline has a different policy for one direction only.

@Reb Yid:
I call it like it is.

I’ll defend El Al where they deserve defending (as I did during the 6 hour diversion back to TLV recently) and I’ll call them out where they deserve calling out (as their mileage program, website, and premium cabin seating so rightfully deserve).

Lufthansa doesn’t need my defense here, they have the same policy as El Al does to Israel.

Unless you want to call El Al anti-Semitic as well?

Where are you going with this?
Your example of service you received on El Al and BA seem to be the opposite of your point?


He’d make a great VP.

Vote Dan/old Trump 2016!




This past week I heard from a German from Hamburg who invited Jews to “come see how people can change”. That statement acknowledged the past and asked for forgivness and another chance. I dont necessarily know what to do with it, but its clear that the dont want to be like they were in the past.


they are def.. anti semitic and I have experienced it first hand when luftansa made a random check on my bags and self.


A random security check now makes an airline anti-Semitic?

Deal Guy

So basically if i were to fly from nyc to Germany, i would get 2 bags, but because i am CONTINUING ON to Israel, i will only get 1 bag, while all the other passengers on my flight to Germany get 2 bags? That is 100% wrong. If I’m flying longer, i should be treated better, not worse. So yes, i can hear why they are saying that it smells.
In a similar vein, when flying from cle-ewewr-tlv on united, you don’t have to pay for 1 bag when checking in from Cleveland because you will be flying soon from ewr. Here as well, because I am flying from nyc to Germany, i should also be allowed 2 bags even though i am continuing to israel. It’s just a added segment.


@Deal Guy:
No, USA-Europe gets 1 bag on Lufthansa. No idea why you assumed otherwise.

It’s the markets where they compete with the ME3 that get 2 free bags.

Deal Guy

Unless i understand you wrong, that toy don’t get 2 free bags when going from nyc to Germany, only if you continue on to one of the middle east countries, but not if just flying to Germany alone.


@Deal Guy:


This is the type of thing Foxman has been wasting his time and others money. at th ADL. Thank G-D he is retiring.


I AGREE with ZOA – and I’m hardly a zionist! Your arguments as to why Luftansa should treat Israel in a different manner than the other countries are not convincing. And your baseless sarcasm cannot substitute for a lack of a good argument.


I have flown LH many times, in Economy rarely , mostly Business and occasionally First. Their attitude towards me [an obviously orthodox Jew] has always been respectful and helpful in whichever class I have been. On the odd occasions when the pre-ordered Kosher meal has not been loaded, the cabin crew have gone out of their way to try and offer something they felt appropriate. The same was true once when I was in Turkish and Alitalia when no kosher food was to hand. Contrast that with El Al where you are delivered a lecture about how everything from Israel is Kosher and no you cannot stand here to pray, you are in the way. Orthodox frequent flyers who choose the foreign airlines including LH often do so simply because they are treated with at least a minimum of respect. As Dan has pointed out, all the Western European airlines allow only one piece of free checked baggage to Israel and as #17 points out LH generously treats Israeli FF members with an Israeli address as living in Europe which results in much cheaper awards to Europe and across the Atlantic when the trip starts in Israel. Incidentally AF and KLM do the same.


Do you have a counter-argument?

It seems very straightforward to me. The other ME countries have strong competition that compels them to offer 2 free bags.

TLV does not have that competition, so they offer the same thing that all the major TLV carriers do, 1 free bag.

Alitalia and Air France/KLM consider Israel to be Europe for miles.
Lufthansa considers Israel to be Europe for miles only if you depart from Israel.


I’m an obviously frum Jew, and I’ve never been mistreated in any way on El Al. Nor did I witness any such mistreatment. I’ve generally found the flight attendants to be friendly and helpful.


Good for you. 1,000’s of other heimish looking Jews were mistreated. Bottom line is Elal’s percentage of religious mistreatment beats the other airlines by far

shay peleg

What are the discounted rates for Lufthansa awards ? for Israelis?


I love this post. @Dan for President!


@Dan: In regards to your line “but do you really think that your average Germans today hates you just because his great grandparents may have?” I recently did some research on the basis of not patronizing a nation that has done wrong to Jews and found that according to the Sefer Hachinuch (which was a rishon) when he explains the reason of Zechiras Amoliek, he writes “Kol Hameitzar l’Yisroel hu sanui etzel Hakodosh Boruch Hu”. And just as we are instructed to do with Amoliek the same is true to any nation that emulates them (to the degree that we should remember and harbor their wrongdoing even for generations later).


Lufthansa is one of my favorite airlines, has great service ground and on board. A lot better than United. No base to blame Lufthansa. By the way Lufthansa is most lenient regarding luggage if you ask many instances they will give you second piece free.


Do I look crazy 😉

In that case you should boycott pretty much every European nation, no?


@Dan: There’s a difference between boycotting and avoiding. I personally avoid ELAL as I don’t like to be subjected to the experience. However I don’t boycott them, thus if my family members choose to fly ELAL, I won’t stop them, and will pay for it if it’s my responsibility.

I don’t think we as Yidden engage in boycott. However, we do have our preferences and those we try to avoid (though not at all costs). Unfortunately, as long as we are in golus, we have to always deal with those that would rather see us gone.


I also try to avoid flying Elal when there is an alternitive.
I don’t think that Elal goes out of their way to be mean to frum jews, just that their flight attendents come from a very non-service oriented culture.
As others have pointed out, Lufthansa goes out of their way to help people with special needs and both their hard and soft product are far superior then Elals.

@ shimoni1

@Shimino1: Really? Have you ever tried their old business class?


@Dan: Dan, you are basing your incorrect statement on your own experiences. I pay for first class when needed. Many people pay for first class, many people upgrade as well. Lots of businesses pay for business anything over 3, 4, or 5 hours. Yes there are lots of upgraders and mileage users but if “nobody” would be paying for business then business would have already been phased out a long time ago.


You’re mixing up business and first class.

3 cabin first class on the US carriers is going the way of the dodo.
Business class/2 cabin first class isn’t going anywhere.


I take this opportunity to bless my Jewish brothers and sisters. May the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob bless you all. And I pray for the peace of Jerusalem.


So it is ok for the ME3 to refuse to carry Israelis on any of their flights and break US law while receiving subsidies for their planes as long as they deliver superior service for nonIsraelis.They also state that they will not allow me to bring me tefillin on board


i think a bigger problem is the way the flight attendants dress on Lufthansa


Reading this from the lufthansa biz lounge in fra


False rumors.

The ME3 have no problem transporting Israelis and you can daven on their planes in tefilin with no issues.


come on, we flew Lufthansa with 2 kids. The stewardesses were friendly and accommodating. The flights were great. A good experience overall. It’s stupid and ridiculous to claim anti-semitism when all airlines adjust their baggage policies downwards. I may not like it as a passenger but that’s not because of anti-semitism. These organizations like ZOA make a fool out of themselves. BTW how much luggage can you bring with El AL?

A Canadian

One time I flew Lufthansa’s business class, one of the flight attendants offered me a space to daven! (which I didn’t really need because it was a day flight) compare that to El Al’s service!!


Brave post Dan…. Thanks for your balanced opinions…


Organizations like ZOA are no different than Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton. They require controversy in order to keep the donations coming. So they go out of their way to make ridiculous claims of discrimination with absolutely zero evidence. The ZOA will never allow anti-semitism to go away just as jackson and sharpton will never allow a world without racism. Then they would be out of business. I’m glad Dan isn’t fooled by the ZOA.


@Dan: not true i called them and they told me a)I needed a letter from the Saudi Arabian embassy in order fly and b) they would not let me fly with tefillin YMMV


@Dan: me3 do not under any circumstances allow you to use an Israeli passport this is a fact and the subject of several lawsuits. It is not a rumor!


Hi. I have 63,000 lufthansa miles and more points. I was hoping to use it from NY – Israel once I got to enough miles, however, it seems like the only way to get to Israel is with $600+ in taxes (even with stopovers….). Do you think it makes sense to just use them up from NY-Miami on business for 2 (when I get enough miles). They tell me my miles will expire if I cancel my credit card, but I don’t want to pay the annual fee, so I want to use the points sooner rather than later. Or is there a way to use it for Israel to avoid the high taxes.