Reader Question: Does El Al Owe Compensation For The Flight 8 Diversion? [El Al Responds: No, We Do Not]

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Update: El Al has told customers that they will not be paying out the mandatory Israeli delayed flight compensation for Flight 8 as the flight left on time and was diverted due to uncontrollable circumstances.

Of course that’s highly debatable as seen below and in the comments. However Israel doesn’t have the equivalent of a DoT that enforces actions against airlines, so seemingly the only other option would be through the legal system.

El Al says that they will pay for out of pocket expenses. I’d assume that includes roaming charges, missed hotel reservations, etc.

Originally posted on 1/15:

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This is going to be a hot button topic.

Several readers have emailed me asking how they can go about getting compensation for their 27 hour flight from JFK to Tel Aviv with a 16 hour technical stop in Goose Bay, Canada.

I’m sure many people will be offended by the topic of compensation. After all, I wrote that El Al seemingly handled this incident very well. They even gave passengers a box of chocolates after landing. What more could you ask of them in this situation?

But I’m certainly not the morality police and will give some background to the question.

Israeli law requires airlines to pay 3,070 shekels, or about $900 USD, in compensation for long-haul (4,501 km+) flights delayed over 8 hours. Medium-haul (2,001 km-4,500 km) flights require 2,050 shekels and short-haul (1-2,000 km) flights require 1,280 shekels in compensation.

The law applies when there are staffing issues, and when there are mechanical delays. The law does not apply when there are special circumstances not under the airline’s control. That excludes weather delays, etc.

The full law can be found here in all of its glorious legalese, but Delta’s website has a page on the law and a PDF with a good overview of the law.

Still, the topic of whether a mechanical problem discovered in-flight that leads to a diversion seems to be a grey area. Had the problem been found on the ground and caused a delay then clearly compensation would be owed. But is it considered not under the airline’s control if it happens in the air? Or could a better maintenance program have caught the issue earlier?

I asked on DDF if anyone had experience making a claim for a diversion and “yandmk” responded that he filed a claim for passengers he had booked on an El Al Up flight from Tel Aviv to Kiev that had to return to Tel Aviv due to a damaged tire. El Al paid out the full claim without questions.

I have heard of other times where airlines have dragged their feet on paying a claim, but have been forced to pay in Israeli court. There is a cottage industry of companies that offer to help file a claim for you, though they’re not needed unless the airline rejects a claim.

I reached out to El Al yesterday, but they have not responded to my question about whether this flight will qualify for compensation under Israeli law.

Again, I’m not going to advise anyone morally on whether or not you should file a claim.

Nor do I have any opinion on whether this diversion does or does not fall under the law’s requirements.

But if you do want to file a claim, you can click here to contact El Al, click on “after the flight”, click on “other”, click “continue”, and then fill in your personal details and write the circumstances of the claim with a reference to the law that requires a 3,070 shekel cash payment for delays over 8 hours on flights that are more than 4,500 kilometers in distance.

Were you on El Al Flight 8? Will you file a compensation claim for the delay?

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164 Comments On "Reader Question: Does El Al Owe Compensation For The Flight 8 Diversion? [El Al Responds: No, We Do Not]"

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sure they Owe Compensation, the problem was with there aircraft, not something like weather that is not in there control


Completely…Not their fault!
So i would not take advantage of them!
Put yourself in their shoes..

ElAl Misnaged

Really?? Not Thier Fault??

Did you ever fly ElAl or eat their Plane food??

They seen to have no problem taking advantage of me! They have a billion other issues that they do not seem to care about, when they do take advantage of me. Don’t talk about fault when it is finally not their fault.

I did put myself in their shoes!

Also, You pay for incidentals like this in every ticket fare. They know eventually something like this will happen. So you actually pay to be reimbursed for incidents like this.

Now’s not the time to have Rachmanus.


I flew them and all this bad mouthing of Jewish airlines make me sick there the best airline in the sky so cut your attitude and be happy we have an airline


That El Al is a Jewish airline doesn’t make them the best. Have you not eaten the food? Had a broken entertainment unit on a cross Atlantic flight?
Try one of the other airlines like Turkish, Korean, or Singapore. I bet you’ll change your mind.

Moshe Fuld

when u run among the oldest fleet of planes in the industry, you can not use as an excuse that the planes break down. Either get newer planes or suffer the consequences of your stinginess. They cant have it every which way!


I don’t get the argument why their are not required to pay compensation. Based on everything you explained in the post, it seems obvious that they do.


Even if they gave compensation I wonder how many award tickets were on the flight and if they would be entitled


I would be concerned about the creation of a corporate atmosphere where pilots are pushed to make decisions based on the possibility that a diversion may be cause for huge payouts. This pilot probably avoided tragedy. Compensation, if any, should be bound by existing regulations.


No they don’t have to give compensation, they made the emergency landing for the sake of the passengers, they kept them locked for the sake of the passengers because there wasn’t security there


I don’t agree with you. If Elal didn’t take off from a airport for 8 hours + because it seemed like there was a fire in a wheel well that would also be 100% for the sake of the customers and yet they would still need to pay in full, I don’t think that having them locked in the plane has anything to do with it, the discussion here is about the delay.


David, I assume part of the delay was due to their location. Had they been on the ground in NYC when this happened, they would have had more options available to them so that it wouldn’t take as long.


it’s possible that had they inspected the plane better prior to takeoff they would have noticed the issue thereby preventing the dangerous situation in the first place. Passengers can have significant financial losses from an extended delay. It’s not so simple.


I still don’t get why they didn’t continue the flight upon landing in Goose Bay and discovering the issue was not serious but rather just a faulty sensor. Why would such an issue require waiting for a repair?


Was the inspection done properly? Either way this was an issue with the aircraft and while things can happen with any product, people’s time and comfort should be compensated and flights are expensive. I was on the flight in the summertime when a cat was let loose in the cargo. I was told that it wasn’t the airline’s fault and nothing could be done for compensation. That was after waiting about 4 hours and this weekend’s flight was way worse.


There was over an 8 hour delay in Canada due to technical problems so that would give you the right to claim compensation. They should have sent a plane right away.


Absolutely , no question about it . Problem was eight aircraft problem, and if they don’t owe compensation for this, what would they owe compensation for ?

Five TownsYid

On the one hand…. you don’t want to encourage the Airlines to pressure the pilots to push the limits of safety for fear of losing $.
On the other hand…. Why did they not give them any meals for 9 plus hours?
On the other hand… even if they did have to get a replacement plane… is it reasonable to take 12 hours to get them back in the air again.
On the other hand… wait I don’t have that many hands.


To your first point, please keep in mind that airlines have insurance to cover this kind of payout, so I suspect that the notion that airlines will “pressure pilots to push the limits of safety for fear of losing $” is off the mark.


I assume that sending out a new plane empty to Goose Bay and cancelling other flight and all the dalays involved, costs the airline much more than the compensation they will be paying for those passengers that claim it. If the pilots will have to make safety decisions based on money, this compensation wont make it or break it.


I doubt they have insurance, or insurance with a deductible that allows for several of these 747 events every year. Do you know for a fact that they are not self-insured? Are you an El Al employee?

A better way to look at it is that the cost of delayed-arrival compensation is built into the ticket price, just like the cost of a meal and checked baggage. When you buy a lottery ticket, it’s not the state’s fault if your numbers are drawn, but they still have to pay you.


Insurance isn’t free. The reason malpractice insurance costs a fortune is because of the large payouts. The more airlines use such insurance the more it’s going to cost.


Box of chocolate…yeah one piece of chocolate in a box.


Absolutely, the problem was with their aircraft. If they don’t owe compensation for this, what would they owe compensation for?

I hate goose bay

As someone who was on the flight on the one hand I have to agree that El Als crew did a fantastic job. Professional, patient, calm. Really exemplary.

But on the other hand this is their business and the key part of their business is their equipment. A company that has faulty equipment did not deliver the product they promised to their customers and should feel like paying compensation is the right thing to do. If you buy an Apple product that brakes would you be ok if Apple said sorry it was an equipment malfunction that commercial didn’t expect?

I am not saying it should be 700 dollars but there needs to be some recognition that some chocolates and an apology postcard (which by the way is weird to have those pre printed handing ready to be handed out when you get off the plane) does not cut it either.

Lastly until you have sat on a plane for 14 hours with nowhere to go please don’t judge how others react.


People seem to be feeling bad for elal check out eu rules much tougher on the airlines… I predict elal will offer a whopping 500 matmid points!!


My assumption is that airlines take out liability insurance for issues like these. Is that not correct? I’m sure they have many more expenses over this case and will fole one big claim.


Any reason as to why tonight’s flight is cancelled?


Personal feelings aside about El Al and it’s aging 747 fleet, since this is a gray area not spelled out in the law, one needs to take a step back and look at the intent of the law. The intent of imposing compensation on the airlines for delayed flights is to compel the airline to either re-book the passenger on alternate flights or expedite the repair/replacement of aircraft. Similar passenger rights laws in other countries, including the US, have similar intent – to guide the airlines into making certain decisions taking into account the customers’ perspective and interest and not just their own financial interests.

During a mid-flight mechanical failure like this, where the airline acted safely, responsibly and promptly under the circumstances, I believe it falls out of the intent of this law.

What an airline CHOOSES to do in this situation from a customer service perspective is a different story. Points/miles, vouchers, upgrades, it’s anyone’s guess. A box of chocolates sounds about right for El Al.


Businesses entail costs. One of the costs of operating an airline is the obligation to compensate customers who are subjected to unusual delays. Time is valuable and most travelers incur all sorts of costs associated with delays: lost deposits, prepaid rentals, vacation time, learning time, work time etc.

My father-in-law took off time from work to spend 4 days learning at the Yarchei Kalla in Eretz Yisroel. He lost 18 hours of his trip, which is worth far more than a $1000.

The purpose of the compensation system to provide a standard rate of reimbursement for passengers’ time and out-of-pocket expenses.

Airlines have the option of insuring this risk.

I do not see any morality question in making a claim.

Fault or no fault, this is a question of assumption of risk of loss. Where the airline has assumed the risk of loss, whether by law or by contract, then regardless of whether there has been fault or not, the airline should provide the requisite compensation.


Why didn’t they at least let the Canadians off?


I think the problem is letting people back on the plane they would have to go through security especially elal’s extra security did not exist


I am sorry but I cannot help but think the fact that this is EL Al that we are even discussing the “morality” of this. Would we have an easier decision to file for compensation if this was Aeroflot or Delta or Lufthansa? (Answer to yourself honestly)


As much as I have been critical of El Al in the past, I have to ask: WHY are people going to “demand” compensation? To punish El Al? “Teach them a lesson”? I strongly suspect that the nature of the failure could NOT have been detected during the Pre-flight inspection (because the failure of a sensor is somewhat of a random event). So… had it been detected before take-off, then you can claim that El Al should have done “Something else” — e.g., provide another plane, let passengers off, etc. and — in the failure to do “Something else”, there should be compensation.
However, a random event — not under El Al’s control — seems to fall into a different category. Had the crew been obnoxious, had the crew acted in a non-professional manner, I could ALSO understand requesting compensation….
HOWEVER… let’s be clear:
Crew acted professionally
Food was “conserved” for a legitimate reason
Turn-around was as quick as could be expected — given the need to provide a second 747
The “failure” could not have been detected on a normal pre-flight inspection
So, there was NO “negligence” — this was — literally — an “Act of G-d”….
So, all those people who want “hard cash” — instead of complaining to El Al — maybe “complain” to the One responsible for this…. and demand “compensation” from Him.
This especially goes for the one flying to the Yarchei Kallah — Maybe the One had a “reason” for delaying this person…… I do NOT claim to “play G-d” here — but when dealing with something CLEARLY not under El Al’s control — I think that one should REALLY think about this.
I am sure that El Al will offer SOME sort of compensation in terms of an “ETC” (electronic travel certificate) and / or Matmid points for those who are members… but I would think twice before telling the airline to “pay up” — regardless of Insurance (remember: Premiums are based upon Claims Experience and may well rise because of this).


What happened to the days when people were happy to have survived the experience?


That was probably before deregulation 😉


I think we should be happy that were all alive. The pilot did the correct thing and lets congratulate them instead of figuring out how to make money off them.


I don’t think anyone is trying to “make” money off of them. I think that people are upset that they landed in this really unfortunate set of circumstances and feel like they lost out because of it, whether from lost time, plans, etc. they’d like to feel that it wasn’t for naught and that it was not just Mazal that caused it. Will people think twice before flying El Al after this incident? In all honesty, possibly yes. Depends on their take on the events. If someone thinks the experience was handled excellently then they’re probably impressed with the service and grateful for having chosen to fly wth them. Probably not so much others who feel like this is indicative of a poor airline with faulty equipment. And despite the efforts on behalf of the airline they’re left with a bad taste in their mouth. In laymans terms the question isn’t how to take advantage of the incident and what is objectively owed but rather, what would it take from the airline’s vantage point to make their customers feel “whole” again.
A box of chocolates consisting of two pieces of chocolate just doesn’t feel like it would do the trick for most people. Probably the opposite but I wouldn’t know since I wasn’t on the flight.
In that respect Dan’s post I think strikes the right balance. Those who feel upset by the incident despite the way it was handled might want to seek some kind of compensation. Others might be content to just be glad things turned out ok. Let the airline decide how it’s going to handle it but by all means, let people’s voices be heard.


If there is a Goose bay, shouldn’t it have like a Maverick delta?


How about a simple suggestion…why not take the time to fill out the claim form and instead of “demanding payment”, thank ElAl and the crew for swiftly recognizing the issue, landing safely in Goose Bay, and being professional and calm during the entire event. Let them know how much you appreciate the airline and all they do on a daily basis to keep passengers safe and secure. And then, in a calm fashion, mention that if they are offering compensation for time lost, you’d love to be able to benefit from that.

This way the CH”H is avoided, if anything it’s a K”H the way we are submitting our “claim”, and that would make ElAl much more willing to pay out knowing that hundreds of passengers appreciate and recognize the fact that this was an unavoidable situation that was handled very well by all involved.

Could it have been avoided with newer aircraft? Perhaps. Could the replacement place had gotten there any quicker? Perhaps. The bottom line is you are all safe – there’s nothing more important than that. Let ElAl know that you recognize that. If they are offering compensation, fantastic, and that’s why you are submitting a claim.

I think the above is the best approach.


Was Air France passengers compensated?


747s use baggage/cargo containers, right? does goose bay have equipment to offload/reload this cargo? did checked baggage transfer to rescue flight in goose bay?


@dan I remember reading that a judge forced them to pay when they had an emergency landing due to a cracked window midflight. Stating that this is not an out of control incident as they could’ve had better equipment


This is a ridiculous argument. If the law requires ElAl to compensate passengers, then it must do so. There is no moral dilemma or question here. If I miss my flight because my car breaks down or there is some crazy car accident that delays me, and have to pay an exorbitant amount to rebook (setting side the unwritten “flat tire” rule that an airline may or may not follow), I will have to pay because that is the rule. Its not my fault. If I tell the airline that I could have made my flight if I sped really fast put others in danger by doing so, and that because I didn’t speed and missed my flight, they should accommodate me, they would laugh in my face. If the law requires compensation for mechanical delays, then the consumers should get the benefit of the law that is in place for their benefit. This is no question here. ElAl should check and re-check all their sensors before flying if they want to avoid having to pay in the future.


hi Dan,

is there a difference in compensation $ if you flew Business class or First class vs. Economy?



This article makes no sense. You’re asking the question of whether the failure of El als own aircraft is the responsibility of El Al or not? Compensation for a mechanical failure is an inherent cost of doing business for any airline. Also I would not be surprised if there were several passengers that were financially damaged as a result of the massive delay. That’s why the compensation is there.

Finally what would you do if your rental car broke down and you were stranded in the middle of nowhere for eight hours. Would you not ask for compensation even if the rental did everything possible to rescue you quickly? I think most people would expect something for the huge inconvenience.


If a bird had knocked out an engine mid-flight forcing a landing and an extended delay would you expect el al to compensate?
And to those who talk about compensation because el al has insurance you know ,of course, that you also had the ability to buy insurance to compensate for this very type of event at a really nominal cost.


Hi, Dan. You suggest that one should always have extra food and drink on hand. But
when departing Tel Aviv for NY just before boarding all passengers are always ordered to get rid of all liquids and undergo a compliance check of their carry-on bags!

Not always so.

I flew from TLV to LHR on 2nd January… I was fully expecting them to take my water away before boarding, but they did not. There seems to be random enforcement of this.


First of all El Al has a policy that they accept complaints by email only.Next they have policy not to answer complaints for 30 days,In the meantime if you forget about it and don’T follow up they’re off the hook.If you do follow up they will give you a voucher hoping you won’t use it and it will expire.
Out of the 400 maybe 40 will end up getting compensation and using it.


I have a separate question. How is the cellphone/data coverage at Goose Bay?


Surprised at how many good friends El Al has here.

Delta diamond frequent flier

El Al should make a quick decision and announce that they will pay the claims of everyone that file – if everyone files a claim it will cost them $400,000 – they can turn it into a public relation victory – announcing that they “take care” of stranded passengers – it may also protect them from individual claims of passengers that will seek more than what the law provides
Also paying now will save them Legal Expenses of going to court to argue against paying


What I love about this forum is that people whine and complain about LY but still have no problem flying them even with all the other options that are available.

Dan has tried to point out multiple times that LY actually did a decent job here compared to how other airlines have handled similar situation. In order for a small airline, let alone any airline get a replacement aircraft to the middle of no where is not an easy feat. This involves having properly cleaned, fueled and available aircraft. These planes are run so tight on schedules that it can be very difficult. Then include flight crews that are legal, just another cog in the wheel.

With that said, I truly believe this was out of LY control and they shouldn’t have to offer anything, but they will offer each passenger $500 as a gesture if good faith.

Alen Kalati

What if it’s not El Al but Norwegian? What if the delay was 28 hours , and then they changed the flight number, and then the new flight took off with another 4 hours delay?
Is it moral then to demand compensation? 🙂
Also, does it make sense to claim directly with Norwegian as oppose to an agency?

40 hr Delay- LY026 1/6/18

After being delayed 40 hours last week Jan 6th (including cancellation of the flight at 3:30am after sitting on the plane for 3 hours), on LY026 from EWR due to 787 mechanical malfunction here is the “reponse” to my repeated requests and CC of management for compensation:
Dear Mr. W…,
Thank you for your email to El Al’s President, Mr. David Maimon, who has asked me to review it and reply on his behalf.
Firstly it is indisputable that you and Mrs. W… were inconvenienced, for which we are sorry.
At the same time, we must clarity that the aircraft that was scheduled to operate El Al flight LY026 from Newark on January 6, 2018 was grounded due to damage to an essential part due extreme cold condition. The aircraft was grounded and necessitated transporting an alternative part from our hub in Tel Aviv, as it was not available locally. The circumstances are considered weather related, unforeseen, extraordinary and not under the control of the airline. We, therefore, are unable to comply with your request for compensation. From customer relations and as a token of our regret, we offered $200 in a form of a discount vouchers for a future El Al travel that is which is valid for one year from the date issue. Please confirm and we will issue and send the vouchers.
Thank you for understanding. We thank you for your continued loyalty. We look forward welcoming you on our future flights to your complete satisfaction.
Ronnie Solson – Customer Relations
English Desk manager


there 100percent correct

Motty Klein

EL AL has a lousy maintenance record, they fly very very old planes (very few are new), I think they get away with this because they know that flying EL AL is part of the Israel experience.

Even their cabin experience is lousy compared to the other major airlines that fly non stop from the west (United, Delta & Air Canada)

I feel like their maintenance problems are not a matter of that wasn’t expected, but more of when it will happen (hopefully there won’t be to much of an inconvenience)

The right thing to do would be to fully compensate, and reward the passengers for something that they probably knew was bound to happen


We were on that flight and it was really tough. My father also got frostbite when we had to change planes and he now has doctor’s bills because of it.


wow from going down steps in to a bus for 30 seconds wow thats scary

40 hr Delay- LY026 1/6/18

Their motto and mantra displayed everywhere captures it all:


I would have thought they would muster up the courage to offer me slightly more than a worthless $200 voucher after a 40 hour delay on a paid premium economy tkt!


someone I know was on that flight and en route to bury his mother in EY (she was on that flight too). obviously el al did the right thing, but that doesn’t mean doing the right thing shouldn’t cost you money. they protected their passengers, hooray, they did what they were supposed to. but still delayed passengers by many hours. it was a mechanical issue, doesn’t matter if it happened in air or on ground. I think they should pay claims if they are filed, but maybe they don’t have to outright say “we are offering x compensation if you were inconvenienced by flight 8”. I also think the reason it was such a long process was because of weather, they may have had trouble getting a plane to goose bay due to weather there. but the originating cause is mechanical, and that warrants a payout


Hey Dan:

I just came back from my first business class trip last week. I took United’s new Polaris 777-300ER to Tel Aviv and Swiss back. I wanted to say thanks for your site, the flight reviews and helping me get the points.

The trip didn’t go without issue though: on my ZRH-ORD return flight, my seat was broken (wouldn’t lie-flat), so I couldn’t sleep. The flight attendant was extremely helpful and apologetic, but there were no extra seats, so she gave me a compensation card worth $300 towards a future Swiss flight. I think that should get more compensation for a $3000 ticket, don’t you? Any advice on how to go about this?

By the way, they actually had kosher wine for my meal on Swiss, too! Really impressive.

Moshe W

Think this answer this question and a few more…
From a Facebook post of one of the passanagers on board the flight Barbara Zachodin:

EL AL Flight 008/1008
As one of the 400 or so passenger on this Jan.13, 2018 flight from JFK to TLV, feel compelled to let the world know that as scary as “our engine is on fire and we must land in 15 minutes” sounds, it wasn’t.

Hollywood directors have it wrong. Everyone listened to the crew and very quickly followed directions (go to/remain in your seat, open window shades, etc.). The pilot kept us updated with numbered announcement (even announcement 9 and three quarters–no relation to Harry Potter). The view from the windows (yes we were in the plane for more than 17 hours before a replacement plane arrived) of this -38C military base in out-in-the-nowhere-wilderness closest landing runway was sparse and stark but beautiful.

We landed safely, and on an icy runway at that. That is not the only amazing thing about this experience. I want to set the record straight as I found out there is some fake news out there:

What I found amazing was that at no time was there a sense of panic or even fear from the passengers, even after the 15/16 minute mandatory landing time for “survival” was past. One assumption of why no panic/no fear is that we were flying El Al. We were in good hands by its pilot and trained crew. The pilot kept us updated and informed throughout. The crew kept us warm and fed and entertainment channels working.
The replacement plane finally arrived, but guess what, the transportation buses did not…makes sense!!! All this time in the plane (no accommodations available) and guess what… we took it in stride. No complaints. Comments, jokes, yes, but no complaints.

The crew made the very slow (the pilot warned us it was treacherous out there and to go slow and help each other) transfer a very easy experience. It was treacherous to go down the stairs and hold on to the never felt such painfully cold stick-to-your- hands icy metal rails. I, for one, found that using my airplane/hospital socks as mittens helped a lot, but as having to take a picture became a priority of the moment I also felt the horrid pain that most passengers, who were gloveless, felt. I was walking with a cane, but felt so protected and fearless. We were surrounded by crew helping us out the plane and down each and every stair as we took our necessary time. Good warning by the pilot. Did I mention it was minus 38 degrees Centigrade (Celsius)!!! And most of us were not exactly dressed for the part, so pilot and crew told us to use the planes blanket. Well I think they may have save a life or two as some did not even have coats.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not recommending this experience, but if it had to happen I am glad I was in El AL’s hands. I am also glad to have been stranded with this group of passengers who were so good. The pilots told us we were THE BEST passengers in the world, and we were, but so were they.


Thanks for your nicely written story!


-38 Celsius is -36.4 fahrenheit. Not much difference.


Thank you for sharing.


That’s such a cheap shot. They are asking to be in the news and on the negative side of it. In my opinion it is cheaper for them to just pay out the compensation.


Rightfully so. No airline should have to pay for an emergency landing that might wind up saving the plane and its passengers from disaster. A better question is will the flight delay insurance I get from my Chase Reserve credit card will reimburse me.

Not sure that is entirely accurate....

I don’t think anybody is questioning the unscheduled landing or even A delay. The compensation from an airline is for a LENGTHY delay. It was El Al’s choice to leave passengers stranded for 16 or however many hours it was. Just because El Al didn’t have their own equipment available doesn’t mean they couldn’t have paid another carrier to pick up the slack as they were doing last year when they were wet leasing the Spanish & Portuguese airlines to do the TLV routes. Was there even an attempt by El Al? Even if they had to fly (multiple) planes directly from TLV to YYR to pick up these pax, I think it would have taken less time than 16 hours, and probably no shortage of equipment at the home base either. They just chose to do what was cheapest for them while grossly inconveniencing their passengers.


Do not agree on this at all. There were many factors, and people involved in making this decision. Not just El Al.

Also on the flight.

El AL should be responsible for their equipment. They let a plane with a faulty sensor take off. If they aren’t responsible for their equipment, who is?

Joe Barnathan

Just the opposite the passengers should reward EL-AL


EU law generally requires compensation to be granted where the delay is caused due to a technical issue. Although obviously not binding Israeli law, perhaps use this can be used as a persuasive argument. After all, the text of both laws are somewhat similar and aim for the same outcome.

See the following extract from

Compensation in case of technical defects

An airline can be exempted compensation in case of a long delay or a cancellation if it can
prove extraordinary circumstances. The ECJ clarified that a technical problem which comes
to light during aircraft maintenance or is caused by failure to maintain an aircraft cannot
be regarded as “extraordinary circumstances”. Moreover, the fact that an air carrier has
complied with the minimum rules on maintenance of an aircraft cannot in itself suffice to
establish that that carrier has taken all reasonable measures to relieve that air carrier of
its obligation to pay compensation.

See Case C-549/07 (Wallentin-Hermann):


ElAl is arguing the flight was not delayed. It took off from NY timely.

Five TownsYid

someone posted it was NEGATIVE 38 Degrees? Whoah.


Why didn’t El Al charter a small plane to just fly mechanics there as soon as the plane diverted to Goose Bay?


Was anyone expecting a different outcome?


I was on flight Ly030 from YYZ to TLV Dec. 2016. Engine malfunctioned shortly after takeoff and needed emergency landing back in toronto. A replacement plane was sent only the next day (more than 24 hours). They kept the passengers on the plane for no reason for 4 hours after landing. Hotel vouchers were issued for those who needed but no compensation was offered. Some passengers did tell me that they were successful in getting a $200 voucher for future elal use. I wouldn’t expect any full compensation this time. (I did however get them to pay for a british airways flight (business) the next day instead of getting rebooked on their replacement plane)


I personally know if people who suffered frostbite during the transfer. I sure hope El Al doesn’t just turn their backs on them.


I only flew with United for the past 8 years using chase points, but since I was eager to fly the new Elal Dreamliner 787-9, and thanks to my sapphire reserve I bought a flight on Elal from Newark.
This was one of the biggest traveling mistakes I had made in recent years.
1. They hire real Jerks to be Jerks.
2. The Economy seats are smaller than a seventh-grade school desk.
3. No water until three hours in too the flight. (especially that you can’t bring your own)
4. At boarding, every third person was stopped for “seating issues.” (and of course, they make you stand in the middle of nowhere, so you can be in everybody way. And G-D forbid to ask an Israeli what he or she are doing… it takes away from there ego. So the next thing she will do is yell to make you feel stupid in front of people. WHAT JERKS.
5. By dinner, the Pita was frozen. And by breakfast, the bagel was a round piece of ice with flour. The person next to me said it’s like that all the time.
If you were at Goose Bay please sue them. enough is enough. I am sure you will be able to raise enough money if you make a chat with most of the 400 people on the flight, and sue them in the US and Israel once and for all.


If you would have read DansDeals, you’d know that the 787 is bad for Economy class. Additionally, one of the united flights is now also terrible for economy. Newer plane = more cramped economy.

Dan\'s the Man

Roaming charges? People still pay those? I haven’t paid those in years since I switched to T-mobile.


At a minimum, would have expected each passenger to be given a Canadian Goose coat as a momento.


Someone should come up with a research that shows how many flights had emergency diversions caused by mechanical issues per 1,000 flights on all airlines. As well there should be some research of how long of a overall delay it caused. I’m sure EL-AL will rank in the bottom 5 or bottom 1.


Everybody who was on the flight should contact, i have dealt with them in the passed regarding an issue with elal, and they came thru and i got 3700 shekel ($874 that was the exchange rate for that time) . they know every law, and being that elal has corporate offices in Manhattan, they said they can go thru the american justice system if necessary, Time for a class action!
One thing if this is the first time elal doesn’t want to compensate. However, elal consistently tries to get out of compensating, they try to get away with a few matmid points, or lounge access on your next flight.



1- why is El Al liable?
2- if they are liable, can you sue them in America under Israeli law? If the class action is based off of Israeli law, can the American justice system provide relief or would you have to sue in Israel?


I was on an Austrian Air flight last summer and we had an indicator come on that said we had no brakes. We had to return to Vienna instead of heading to St. Petersburg. In fact it was even worse what those on this El AL flight went through as the pilot was going to have to use the thrusters to brake which would cause the wheels to burst. Therefore we had to do a REAL EMERGENCY LANDING. Which involved going to brace position and light attends yelling “BRACE BRACE BRACE!! HEADS DOWN STAY DOWN” over and over. That was a real emergency landing.

I must say that compared to the EL AL flight our pilot was amazing. He sspent 5 minutes and explained everything that was happening for more than 5 minutes and told us what to expect. I think that EL AL pilot should be fired. He never told the passengers what was happening and that noise everyone heard and thought was strange was just them testing the landing gear to see if indicator changed. Instead he tells passengers nothing and that they are making an emergency landing thus scaring everyone for no reason. This wa snot a miracle or anything this is a pilot being irresponsible.

As for compensation – as my situation was exactly like this one( it was also a faulty indicator – but ours was on something that would cause a landing to go bad and it took close to 2 hours of flying thinking about this) the airline 100% paid out the compensation of 500 euros that is due based on European law.


Why anyone ever flies this chillul hashem of an airline is beyond me..



Where in their rules? Dan posted the full pdf of the Israel Aviation services Law and the delta cheat sheet.
Should they offer compensation? Yes…
Are they required to? Not so clear…

Marc F

@Dan – can you suggest companies that work with you to file a claim against El Al, I was on the flight and had a disastrous experience… everyone should speak for themselves, just because you were on the flight doesn’t mean everyone shared the same pleasant experiences as you did. El Al has already refused compensation and will only compensate for lost money such as Hotels etc.
Thank you!

Shlomo Orbach

I generally refrain from posting comments on web sites but having been a passenger on the Goose Bay flight and having read these many comments, some right on and others way off base, I feel I have an obligation to put in my two cents. First of all I am very perplexed by those self righteous individuals who were not on that flight and did not endure the extensive delay and great hardships ( different for different people) who lecture us how we must be so thankful to ELAL for enabling us to ultimately reach our destination safely (albeit 18 hours late). Sure we are pleased to have made it but did anyone board that plane with any other expectation? That is what the airline is supposed to do. Sure the crew was very nice and worked hard to make the experience as least trying as possible. But remember this situation was caused by a failure of their equipment. One could even make a case that their actions of landing on an snowy airstrip not designed for this aircraft when they had ample reason to believe that (as per the tapes that you, Dan, provided that the sensor alert was a error because the temperature gauges on each of the landing gear were normal). I personally don’t hold this view and was happy we did land to check it out but in truth that landing actually did add real danger in the place of perceived danger. Also why didn’t ELAL send a technician from JFK once they learned there was none available locally. We now know that it did turn out to be a faulty sensor after all. The captain in one of his earlier announcements did actually state that was the plan. In the end they waited to get a relief plane with all the crew and everything that entails rather than springing for a chartered jet with just the technicians ? We would have been back in the air in six hour rather than 17. This was a very trying experience for us. When I left the aircraft for the transfer I touched the handrail going down. That was by far the coldest object I have ever touched. Had my hand been wet it would have most surely stuck to the railing.
At this point for ELAL to give us two small pieces of chocolate and say we are even is sheer Chutzpa. At a minimum they should refund the difference between a non stop and one stop flight ( with a very long layover). We purchased one item and received something far inferior. The is a classic case of Mekach Tauos. In any other business deal a credit would due. Come on ELAL, do what’s right. We passengers were very well behaved as your Captain said. Don’t disappoint us again.

Gadi Pickholz

But they are OUR airline! Be a zionist and leave them alone. Don’t ask them to maintain minimum global standards.


I too was on the flight. I would like to know exactly what part failed, when was the last time it was maintained, and what the life expectancy of the part is. I know that the carbon monoxide detectors in my home have a life of 7 years. If I don’t replace them, I get false alarms. Perhaps the sensor that went bad also has a maximum life, or some mandatory maintenance that was not performed. Based on the overall condition of the plane, it would not surprise me if El Al was lax on the maintenance. There were plenty of obvious things that were not maintained such as dead lights and a bathroom sink that did not work (on the recue plane). I don’t think it’s a stretch to suspect that proper maintenance was not done, especially if they are phasing out these planes. If this is the case, they certainly should have to pay compensation.


As a passenger on the plane who only flies El Al to Israel and tries hard to support the Jewish State and their enterprises, here is how I see it: I was told by one of the El Al employees on the plane that the aircraft we were on was very old and was being retired this week. That changes the whole issue in my mind. I paid full fare and expect a safe and well maintained airplane. That includes sensors and other electronics. I had to sit on the plane for more than 24 hours due to El Al’s failure to maintain and their decision to continue to fly an old airplane. Sitting for so long is dangerous and at best an unpleasant experience. If you have not been in a closed environment for 27 hours with 400 people and 10 bathrooms and with little food, you may wish to do so before commenting. Worse was an emergency landing with 30 minutes of uncertainty and no indication of anything from the pilot. To add insult to injury is not being contacted back by El Al in over a week.
But, in El Al’s defense, when we landed an El Al representatives gave passengers a box with 2 small chocolate candies as a token of their being sorry. However, in typical El Al fashion, they said one per family. If you treat customers with disrespect, you do not deserve respect back or rachamis in return. You deserve to be treated in kind with the manner in which you treat others. Now is the time for El Al to step us. We the passengers were well behaved and we endured hardship as a result of their failure. El Al needs to do their part. Let’s see what they do. If nothing, then don’t expect us to fly with them anymore!!! By the way, I was told a class action lawyer will be contacting me. I will tell him to wait a week before I agree to anything.

Rena Loebenberg (\"Seat 52A\")

I do not want to minimize our appreciation to the pilot and crew for their assistance and concern throughout the ordeal, but I would like to know if this whole experience could have been avoided with more attention to what happened before takeoff. It appeared to my husband and me that the problem actually first evidenced itself when we were still on the ground in JFK airport. My husband was sitting in seat 52A, a window seat above the wing. I was in seat 52C, the aisle seat in that row. As the engines were started on the ground (I don’t know the technical terms for this), we saw large clouds of smoke coming from somewhere under the wing. We have flown many times and have never seen so much smoke as we prepared for takeoff. We assumed that if it was a problem, the grounds workers or the pilot and his crew would have paid attention to it and reacted appropriately. We did not feel it was something that we would have had to point out to a flight attendant. Later, as we sat on the ground in Goose Bay, I mentioned the smoke situation before takeoff to a flight attendant and asked if it could have been related to the problem. She said that as we sat on the ground in Goose Bay, several people had mentioned seeing the smoke before we took off, but noone had mentioned it to the crew at the time of takeoff. My reaction was that it shouldn’t have been the responsibility of passengers to mention it when there were so many grounds people and crew who do know when to check out a problem. I got the feeling that perhaps that smoke condition was the result of the fire in the wheel well that was the problem later found inflight. If that is so, the problem should have been detected and checked out before we took off, and it was not a problem that first surfaced inflight. That changes the circumstances here, and should be the basis for the requirement to compensate the passengers on the flight. This would prove negligence on the part of either the grounds crew or the flight crew whose job is to be sure there on the ground before takeoff.

Did anyone else notice the smoke before takeoff? Did you mention it to a member of the crew?


Here is how I see the equation from El Al’s perspective:

Positives of not paying compensation:

1. Management gets to say “We are tough Israelis. We don’t pay. We got you to Israel safe. We gave you two chocolates. You got two flights for the price of one. We had to feed you two extra meals you did not pay for. It was not our fault that our old plane had a mechanical breakdown— all old planes have mechanical issues.”

2. Management gets to say that it saved the company money.

3. Management doesn’t set precedent of paying compensation.

Negatives of not paying compensation:

1. Strong possibility that one or more attorney(s) takes case or forms class action on contingency—maybe in US, Canada or in Israel or all three.

2. Risk that El Al gets sued and has to disclose maintenance records as part of the discovery process in which case everyone gets to see their dirty laundry. Also, possibility pilot should not have left JFK with smoking engine.

3. Likelihood that El Al has to pay significant legal fees to defend action(s).

4. Risk that El Al pilots and maintenance workers get deposed in litigation. (Note: El Al employees being unhappy may say things not in keeping with what the company wants them to say.)

5. Likelihood that El Al looses some customers to Delta and other competitors.

6. Possibility that El Al will have pay to settle and/or risk of loosing case in U.S. or Israeli court. Possibility Canada also has jurisdiction.

7. Likelihood that El Al continues to looks bad in Jewish publications for not paying and for flying old planes. Customers begin to question their safety.

8. Strong likelihood that the story stays alive instead of going away. This blog is proof.

9. Risk that either U.S. FAA, Canadian authorities or Israel authorities look into situation and assess fine.

With that analysis in mind, the logical conclusion is to announce reasonable compensation now, get some goodwill out of a bad situation and not let the pot boil any longer. Management should have done that while the plane was on the ground at Goose Bay. They could have gotten away with vouchers and paid a lot less than they will now. Bad decisions all around just keep happening. It says a lot about El Al management. Shareholders and customers take notice!

Sharon Lazar

I was on the plane on January 13th with my husband and two kids …quite scary and an ordeal …we are bh thankful to be alive but would like compensation for our difficulties…any advice how to go about this …the link you put up no longer works


Update: After several consultations in shul over shabbos, it seems clear El Al has not responded to any of our requests for information about compensation. I suggest we, all the passengers, set up a WhatsApp or Google page where we can communicate with each other as to future actions we plan to take. Beside applying social media pressure on El Al, we should consider taking out an ad in the Jewish Press and related newspapers that El Al advertises in. Last alternative is a class action suit. So, would a tech savvy passenger please step forward to start a WhatsApp or Google page and tell us how to sign up. Thanks.


I am told a class action is being brought. If anyone has information please share


Please post any update, of about any group or discussion that opens regarding any action against El-Al

I hate goose bay

Interested as well. El Al doesn’t seem to care.

Moshe Fuld

Just Not Fare will be filing a suit against El-AL for the Goose Bay debacle. If you want in, please email me at We already have 25 claimants. This is a no-risk proposition for you if we do not collect, the suit is at no cost to you.

ari fried

Did you file a compliant with them?