The Odd Tale Of American Airlines Flight 145 From Tel Aviv To JFK That Spent 29 Hours In Rome

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The tale of Tuesday’s AA flight 145 is an odd one. The plane departed Tel Aviv on time, at 12:50am and seemed like it would be an uneventful red-eye flight to New York.

Like most flights to and from Israel, it was just about completely full, with 271 passengers and 13 crew members on the 777-200 that has 273 available seats.

DDF member momo613 was flying with his wife and 5 kids on the flight, connecting in JFK to get home to Los Angeles. He wrote about his experience on the flight and why it was diverted on the DansDeals Forums.

Rafael Chemtob also posted updates on the flight situation to the DansDeals Facebook Group.

No announcement was made asking for a Doctor, as would be typical in diversions for a medical situation.

Many passengers only noticed something was up when the in-flight map changed their destination to Rome. I am curious as to why Rome was chosen over Milan given their position at the time, though as far as flight diversions go, those are not bad cities to wind up in.



The pilot finally made an announcement about 10 minutes before landing in Rome that they were diverting due to a medical emergency and that they would figure things out after landing and passengers would be met by American Airlines agents. Momo613 noted that the Hebrew announcement on the plane had more detailed information, including that they would be sent to a hotel.

While most medical diversions are met with EMTs and an ambulance upon landing, that didn’t happen here. Instead everyone deplaned as they normally would after a flight. The crew went on their way, leaving all 271 passengers waiting for their bags with no agents in sight.

The plane landed at 3:46am local time.

About an hour after landing a Rome airport agent said they were trying to get an American Airlines agent to come to the airport, but in the meantime, people should wait for further instructions.

Passengers wait around for information:


No water or food was provided to the bewildered passengers while they waited. And there was no communication from the airline. It was never made clear to the passengers why they couldn’t drop the passenger off and continue on their way.

After some 5 hours of waiting, everyone’s bags came out and an airline agent said they would provide bussing to a hotel. The agent said that accommodation on earlier flights would not be possible and that the same plane would take them to JFK at 7:30am the next day, some 28 hours after landing in Rome. momo613 asked the agent if they could also arrange for kosher food, as there were many kosher observant passengers on the flight and says the agent tried calling, but wasn’t able to reach their local kosher caterer.

At first, momo613 said he was actually excited to land in Rome, a city he had always wanted to explore. But as the hours ticked by, that excitement turned into agravation.

DDF member sb5917 had a friend on the flight and asked for help from DDF as other flights from Rome to NYC were all full and he had to get home that day. DDF member ckmk47 found flights available to purchase via London that day and sb5917 booked his friend on that flight.

After everyone had their bags, it still took hours longer for buses to arrive and bring passengers to the hotel that American contracted with.

Making good use of the time waiting in the airport:


I asked for comment from American. I was told the diversion was due to a medical issue onboard, but they wouldn’t provide comment on why it took so long for passengers to get back to NYC. I’d assume that the crew timed out and couldn’t continue the flight, though there have been plenty of diversions where the plane has continued onward, but that likely boils down to timing.

Once finally at the hotel at about 10am, passengers lined up to check-in, but they were told that rooms wouldn’t be available until 2pm and to check-in then. There was still no water provided to the passengers.

At the Ergife Hotel:


Rabbi Hillel Dovid and his wife ⁨Sarah Krinsky were on the flight. Mrs. Krinsky grew up in Milan and noted that it would have been so convenient if they just landed in her hometown!

Her father was Rabbi Gershon Mendel Garelik, the long serving Shliach and Rav in Milan, who passed away last yearafter 6 decades of service to that community. Mrs. Krinsky called the local Chabad House and sponsored plentiful kosher food for all of the exhausted passengers, to be delivered to the hotel while people waited for their rooms, in merit of her father. The Hazan’s and the Lazar’s, the local shluchim, delivered an incredible spread on short notice that fed everyone, along with plenty of leftovers to bring back to their rooms once passengers were able to check in.

Chabad shluchim are truly a kosher traveler’s best friend and I hope people donate generously when they utilize their services while traveling!

Boxes and boxes of food were sent from Chabad of Rome for the passengers on the flight at the hotel:


Sidebar, but I can’t help but also note that Mrs. Krinsky’s son, Levi, was with me on bochur shlichus, when we spent a year together volunteering at a school in Sao Paulo, where I started this website. He was one of my original partners in crime in travel, as we used vouchers from American that provided free worldwide travel after taking 2 flights from NYC to California or Florida. We used those vouchers to fly from Brazil to Tokyo, with stopovers in Dallas, Los Angeles, NYC, and Miami, while spending our month-long winter break helping out shluchim in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kobe, Japan. For the real old timers, that’s also why there weren’t many posts in January 2005 😀 .  Levi now owns the delicious Brooklyn Artisan Bakehouse (don’t miss the cream cheese frosted cinnamon bun!)

Levi and 20 year old me in Tokyo, January 2005:


After finally getting hotel rooms, some people went to explore Rome, but many were exhausted and took the opportunity to nap. momo613 asked for 3 rooms to have space for their party of 7, and that was granted.

Rafael Chemtob went out to dinner at Baghetto Milky, where he had the amazing pastas that I wrote about in my Rome Trip Notes.

momo613 went for a nap and went out at 9pm to see the coliseum and the Roman forum.

He blames American for the unwarranted diversion and the lack of communication, but acknowledges that it was a freak occurrence and if American is the least expensive option next time, he wouldn’t hold this against them. He does wonder if he should have just separated from the group and booked his own hotel room instead of waiting around for hours. I noted that the airline very likely would have reimbursed him had he done that, and if he paid on the right credit card, that would also be an option for obtaining reimbursement.

Rafael Chemtob also faulted American for leaving them for hours without any information on what was going on, for refusing to rebook people on other flights, and for failing to provide any water or kosher food. He also said the airline never communicated how or when they would get back to the airport, but the hotel told everyone to be ready to depart at 3:30am and the group traveled on buses in the early morning hours to the airport.

Unfortunately they got to the airport to find it locked as the terminal doesn’t open until 5am and had to wait outside until it opened..

They flew to JFK on the same plane, with the flight renumbered as AA9600, which departed Rome at 8:14am. American had obtained some kosher meals for the flight, but many people didn’t receive their kosher meals, which American agents blamed on the local caterer.

Rafael asked me if they’re entitled to compensation. Israeli law does require airlines to pay 3,180 ILS (about $951) to passengers on flights that were delayed 8 or more hours. It’s unclear to me if it would apply in this case, but that’s where I would start. I’d also ask the airline or the credit card used to pay for the flight to cover any incidental charges caused by the delay.

The flight finally arrived in JFK at 11:11am yesterday, nearly 42 hours after the flight departed Tel Aviv and nearly 30 hours more than scheduled. But not everyone’s journey ended there, momo613 along with his wife and their 5 kids still had to fly to Los Angeles, which left them with a 50 hour flight home.

I’ve flown on thousands of flights and thank G-d have yet to be diverted, which is saying something considering my luck with American. Here’s hoping that streak continues, because doing this with overtired kids sounds like the stuff nightmares are made of.

Do you think this diversion was justified? Could American have done a better job here?

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39 Comments On "The Odd Tale Of American Airlines Flight 145 From Tel Aviv To JFK That Spent 29 Hours In Rome"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.


That’s what a $287 flight will get you sometimes


Every airline sucks with diversions. This doesn’t sound so bad. Not sure why there was so much complaining. They don’t exactly plan for diversions and it is peak summer travel season. People should be happy they got home safely, got a hotel room and kosher food. Make lemonade out of lemons and tour a little bit. It sucks but it is always a risk.


Now I read about the FA’s behavior, this is a problem with AA that I have experienced in the past. It is a power kick for senior flight attendants who probably get paid extra if the airline diverts and they time out.


Surely you jest when you write ” Could American have done a better job here?”…
I am sure you’re being facetious…
Because OBVIOUSLY any airline could have amd SHOULD HAVE done better…..

Chaim Ber Finkelstein

If no ambulance met them it means that one of the pilots was too ill to fly.



It’s a crapshoot really, some trips I’d welcome the diversion. A full day all expenses paid trip in Rome + hopefully compensation.

That’s if they landed normally and got bags + hotel asap

If airlines handled freak incidents normally, most passengers would be ok


Pun intended?

Addy Davidoff

I was on this flight and this article does not accurately represent JUST HOW HORRIFIC it was.

I heard flight attendants say to eachother that it was the worst flight they’d ever seen. When we landed finally at the hotel, there WERE NO ROOMS AVAILABLE and pregnant women, children, and elderly were denied food for almost 10 hours.

They claimed they landed for a biohazard because the man soiled himself and needed to be separated in case it was contagious, but he sat with us in a small waiting area for 5+ hours.

Additionally, multiple passengers alerted the crew BEFORE the flight that this man had a fever and was unwell and shouldn’t be able to fly.

But they said it was fine and as the article says no doctors medics or ANYTHING were called. We were treated with no basic decency or respect.


Decades ago i used to commute with Swissair Milan (LIN) to Zurich to EWR with a tight connection at Zurich. The transfer desk was well operated as many times I missed the connection. They always had me set up with a Hotel room and further flights, all in minutes. So, some airline could do better. Swissair died and the routes are operated by LH group.

Prof. Perowitz

“Do you think this diversion was justified?”

Is there anything G-d does in your travels to be questioned?


If the issue indeed was the person that soiled himself and was understood to be sick; then it was truly a bio hazard risk. That does not excise the poor ramp up by AA in FCO. The station manager should have woken up, rushed over and made things happen.


I honestly think that AA acted very well here, and we’d be lucky if all airlines handled diversions this well. Not everything requires a complaint.

The airline provided food, transportation and lodging for the passengers, and apparently was even generous in the number of hotel rooms they offered. I certainly won’t hold it against them that they couldn’t arrange for an hundreds of kosher meals in Europe without notice– I think it’s nice that they even tried. As for the lack of water, the passengers were allowed off the plane into a large and modern international airport and then hotel. Anyone who is able to take the flight should also be able to find hydration. I can’t comment why the chose Rome over any other city, but it’s definitely one of the better options in Europe.

Lastly, as you mentioned yourself, the crew likely timed out and were unable to continue the trip by law. Having a plane sit on the ground in a foreign airport is quite costly to any airline, and I’m sure that AA would have avoided it if possible.

Overall, I’m impressed.


Very nice Purim Torah, but where were all the AA representatives? Where was the communication? Etc. Etc. Etc. I’m not one to get excited over much, but seriously, some empathy for a pathetic situation that could have been dealt with much better.


I don’t know how large their operation is in Rome, but maybe they don’t have enough free agents to both update the passengers and make hotel and transportation arrangements. Clearly someone was working behind the scenes to make it all happen, which is the more important job. Sure, it would have been nice to have an AA agent provide some updates, but maybe they themselves weren’t clear on the situation. And even so, if that’s the biggest issue with this diversion, then it was handled pretty well.

My bigger complaint would be diverting the flight over a passenger who soiled himself. I imagine that they would have been able to find wipes, a change of clothing (maybe first class pajamas), and an isolated seat (maybe ask a first class passenger to voluntarily downgrade and provide generous compensation). The aggregate cost of this diversion (including compensation and system delays) will probably cost AA in the high six figures (if not more) figures when all is said and done, so I can’t imagine that it was the best course of action.


I was on the flight.

The plane had too much fuel when we landed. Maintenance in FCO only opens at 6am. By the time they would be able to check the plane the crew would clock out. So obviously like a good senior crew… they didn’t even bother taking off on Tuesday.

The whole thing was the crew’s fault.

For the people on the flight it was a real horror story. If someone would send this story to the media it would look really bad for them.


I was sitting in row 7 right by the door. There was a senior FA who said I’m not letting him fly on my plane.

She told the pilot and that was the end of it. They had to divert because of the FA refused to keep flying.

EXP Flyer

FCO makes more sense for AA as they fly there and not to Milan so have Pilots/Crew etc


Aa flies to Milan…


was trying to get my friend on a air Canada flight out @ 12pm they didn’t want to give it.
in the and i booked him on 3pm ba flight via lhr.

tom bradley

simple question:
Why did the genius agent at AA(even the other AA has better people-heh) only try calling kosher food hours after knowing about the diversion?
Absolutely no excuse they know how many kosher passengers there exactly are based on meals ordered!
Also i assume there would be enough seats between jfk-fco clt-fco and BA IB to fly 250 passengers, why couldnt they just do that, they had hours to arrange it!!


What is it with the Rone airport and lack of water? About 20 years ago we flew from Florida to Rome to Israel on ElAl. In the gate area, there were no stores to purchase water or snacks. I don’t know if that has changed.


Airlines prefer diverting to an airport where they service, flying in new crew inhouse and gate agents on premises is cost efficient. (in the event of mechanical issues aircraft can turn back after midway point -fuel and safety allowing- to have the issue in their own hub) hence AA choosing Rome over Milan.


Dan, you say they didn’t provide water or kosher food. If they didn’t provide water, I suspect they didn’t provide ANY food.


Well no surprise I flew from tlv to nyc via klm delta on august 2nd after taking off @4:45 am we got to Amsterdam got to the gate and 10:55 flight dl49 was delayed with out reason till 16:00 then at about 13:30 was delayed again till 19:45 and then at about 16:00 the flight was canceled it took another hour till staff showed up and sent us to transfer desks for hotel voucher for the night and we were told we would fly the next day august 3rd with flight dl9889 at 15:15 just after announcing the make up flight that flight was delayed till Thursday morning 8:00 immediately we were not given hotel vouchers for the 2nd night as they claim they will reimburse finally we flew on an almost half empty flight to jfk in total we were in Amsterdam layed over for about 48hours after getting to jfk to no surprise our luggage did not make it we did a baggage claim and we’re told it’s still in Amsterdam welcome to travel 2022 where airlines get away with complete hell .


Your comma and period buttons broken?


American Airlines is to be avoided. They have lost all sense of customer service and customer well being …


It adds up to a “shahn-deh”, Yiddish for scandalous. Mounds of inefficiency and carelessness. The passengers on this flight should sue, and receive generous compensation for all the aggravation and inconvenience caused them by the airline.


My first flight to Israel as a kid in 1978 was diverted to London due to a sick passenger. They simply landed in London and took off a few hours later back to TLV. The problem was, that our flight left on a Thursday night as it was, and the 2-3 hour delay was enough to land us in Israel with barely enough time to get to our hotel in Tel Aviv (luckily it was July) before Shabbat.


You were on that flight…? I was still a Zeidy then…


And now?


Now I’m a Yungerman for the second time….


I would have to imagine these passengers would be entitled to compensation under Israeli law. While the medical diversion was not American’s fault, the fact that they had to wait over a full day was as of a result of American Airlines deciding what was most efficient for their operations. I find it unlikely though that, had they really wanted to, they could not have made something work to get the passengers home earlier.

Back in February, I was on a UA flight from EWR to TLV (UA90) that turned around around 90 minutes into the flight over Canada. The pilot said it was due to some technical issue and that they had been in touch with HQ in Chicago to try and resolve the issue in air. When they couldn’t do so, they were told to return to EWR. When we landed, we were informed that we were going to be rebooked for a flight that was set depart around 24 hours after it was originally scheduled to and subsequently get in a day late.

At first, United merely offered a $200 travel voucher which was a joke. I had no faith that the normal customer service channels would give me anything other than the run around. As a result, I decided to email the CEO of UA and to my surprise I received an email back a few weeks later from someone in his office asking how I wanted to receive my compensation. A few weeks after that, I had a check for around $1,000 given the exchange rate.

I guess United knew that if I lodged a complaint with the Israelis they would lose. Otherwise, I’m not quite sure why they didn’t fight me on it.

Assuming AA does not proactively offer compensation owed to passengers under Israeli law, I would advise passengers to send an email directly to the CEO stating that while the medical emergency was not American’s fault, the decision to have the passengers stay in Rome for over 24 hours was.


I was on the same flight with united and I got the same thing from the regular customer service representative. I choose the $1200 credit instead but I was a little surprised they actually gave it, given that the return was out of their control. Not complain tough. I figured it was just good business sense to make the customer happy. Lets se how American handles this.


Does anyone have the email address of the CEO of AA? That would be very helpful to all of us passengers

DZ the Telzer.

Just throwing this out, would Chabad be able to get reimbursed from the airline. Why would it be different than if someone bought some food l, that I would assume could be reimbursed if you show that they didn’t have food. ( I know that they didn’t do it to be reimbursed, the question is now can they get paid back)


Airlines don’t want to divert. Crews don’t want to divert. Diverts are extremely expensive and just like the passengers the crew are on a business trip and just want to get home.

Airlines don’t use doctors on board to make diversion decisions. There are emergency medicine physicians who are on call and paid by the airlines to make these decisions. They’re trained in the physiology of air travel and are highly qualified to make the correct decision. They’re also paid by the airline so they don’t make a divert decision unnecessarily. If the passenger was indeed walking among the others at baggage claim perhaps there was bad information given by he or his family on his condition and history.

Rome vs Milan appears to be an easy call based on the number of flights the airline has at each station. AA would have many more employees at Rome vs Milan. While it may appear that no one was helping them I’m quite sure there was an army working this diversion. There are no cities that will have airline ticket agents on duty at 3:40 am and if you’ve ever been to Rome you realize how long it would take for an employee to get to the airport from home.

Tel Aviv to NY is too long a flight to allow for a crew to divert. The crew would absolutely have to rest. It is also peak summer travel season and I’m quite sure every flight out of Rome was completely full. The idea that the passengers could have been accommodated on other flights is naive and evidenced by the one passenger who had to go through London to get home.

This seems to be an unfortunate situation for all involved and fortunately a rare occurrence. The malice shown here in unfortunate and unwarranted.