[Israeli Media Reporting United Will Return] Why Is United Still Selling Flights To Tel Aviv Next Week?

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Update, 2/21: United will indeed resume flying to Israel on 3/2, initially via Munich and then nonstop. See here for the full details.

Below is a brief recap of aviation in Israel since the war and (a rant on) how United has been dealing with it. To say it has been frustrating to all parties involved, would be an understatement.

Foreign airlines cancel flights

Just about every foreign airline canceled service to Israel in the wake of the horrific October 7th attacks.

That was due to multiple reasons, including the inability to insure their planes in a war zone, crew refusing to fly to Israel or overnight in Israel, and a lack of demand.

Insurers are once again covering planes in Israel and customer demand is back. El Al can’t add flights fast enough and seats can be hard to come by. European airlines have returned to Israel, though some are making technical stops along the way to switch crew so that they don’t need to exit the aircraft in Israel.

US airlines postpone their return to Israel

El Al has been the only airline flying between Israel and the US since October 7th.

American already threw in the towel for the entire summer season, canceling all flights through at least 10/27. But they have struggled to make Israel work for them even in the best of times, so that’s not a big surprise.

Delta canceled all flights through at least 4/30, though they can still offer customers flights to Israel through their new partnership with El Al.

And then there’s United. They didn’t fly to Israel before the Continental merger, but inherited the strongest Israel position for a US carrier through that merger. They were scheduled to operate 28 weekly flights to Israel from Chicago, Newark, San Francisco, and Washington DC.

During COVID, the airline proved to be a lifeline, operating the only continuous service in and out of Tel Aviv.

But while other airlines have canceled flights with advanced notice during this war, United has failed to do so. That means that ticketed customers can’t request a refund to make alternate plans, leaving them in limbo. It’s been a very frustrating situation for many United loyalists.

United cancels flights close-in to departure

Here is a history of when United has been canceling flights:

  • In mid-October, United canceled their Newark-Tel Aviv flight through 11/3/23.
  • On 10/30/23 United extended their Newark-Tel Aviv flight cancelations from 11/3/23 to 11/11/23.
  • On 11/1/23 United extended their Newark-Tel Aviv flight cancelations from 11/11/23 to 11/17/23.
  • On 11/9/23 United extended their Newark-Tel Aviv flight cancelations from 11/17/23 to 11/24/23.
  • On 11/19/23 United extended their Newark-Tel Aviv flight cancelations from 11/24/23 to 12/15/23.
  • On 12/4/23 United extended their Newark-Tel Aviv flight cancelations from 12/15/23 to 1/9/24.
  • On 12/19/23 United extended their Newark-Tel Aviv flight cancelations from 1/9/24 to 1/31/24.
  • On 1/11/24 United extended their Newark-Tel Aviv flight cancelations from 1/31/24 to 2/14/24.
  • On 1/26/24 United extended their Newark-Tel Aviv flight cancelations from 2/14/24 to 3/1/24.

United was first to remove their change waiver

Making matters worse, United was the first airline to remove its Tel Aviv flight change waiver, which was announced to employees back in November in a leaked internal memo published on DansDeals, but was never announced in advance to the public.

In the meantime, many media outlets and blogs have cited United public relations and employees as saying the airline would restart service, but that has proven false every time.

There were also rumors that the airline would restart service to Tel Aviv via Europe, but the airline has denied those as well.

Will United operate flights next week?

There is just over a week until United’s next scheduled flight that they are still selling seats on. DansDeals reached out to the airline once again to ask if the flight would operate.

The media team coldly referred DansDeals to “please see our statement below that we’ve been issuing for some time now. Our Tel Aviv flights will remain suspended until conditions allow them to resume. That’s all we have to share at this time.”

That statement is only missing, “Do not pass GO, do not collect $200.”

Frankly, this pattern of last-minute cancelations shows disdain and disrespect to United customers.

United’s employment of Ibrahim R Mossallam

The airline has also refused to provide further comment on their employment of pilot Ibrahim R Mossallam, who justified Hamas’ October 7th massacre of Jews and kidnapping of babies and Holocaust survivors as “resistance by brave people.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be flown by a pilot that is pro-terror. United partner Air Canada quickly suspended and fired a pilot with anti-Semitic views. (They also still maintain a change waiver for Tel Aviv flights and continue to cancel flights in advance).

It’s shocking that United won’t even comment on his current employment status.

Will your flight operate? Who knows.

Personally, in April 2023, I booked travel for my family to fly to Israel in March 2024. But with United continuing to sell travel on the flights, there aren’t any options to make changes to flights that will operate and that makes it hard to plan a trip.

What is United’s motivation for close-in cancellations?

With United canceling many flights close-in to the flight departure date, it creates additional uncertainty for passengers who need to travel to or from Israel. Passengers assume United will cancel, but don’t want to book travel on another airline as United won’t offer a refund until they actually cancel the flight.

United gets an interest-free loan on a flight it will likely cancel, but by the time United cancels flights, prices to book alternate travel skyrocket. Sometimes there are rebooking options, but many passengers have been told by United that a refund is their only option.

During the pandemic, the airlines really did need those interest-free loans until US taxpayers bailed them out, but is that really United’s motivation for last-minute cancellations in 2024? I’m open to any theories, but haven’t heard of any other plausible ones yet.

Is this a deceptive and unfair practice in the US?

During the pandemic, United tried claiming that flights weren’t canceled if they could find you an alternate flight within 25 hours and that passengers would have to wait a year for a refund.

The DOT announced in April 2020 that airlines had to provide timely refunds for US flights that they cancelled. The DOT announced again in May that fines would be coming for airlines that failed to come into compliance with timely refunds. The DOT specifically highlighted United’s new policy as being deceptive and unfair.

That forced United to resume its pre-pandemic refund policy for canceled and changed flights.

If you find yourself in a situation where United didn’t cancel your flight until it became cost-prohibitive to book an alternate option, and they refuse to offer alternate flight options, I’d recommend filing a DOT informal or formal complaint against the airline. The DOT is slammed with informal complaints these days, so you might need to file a formal one to get a response.

Is United violating the law in Israel?

United is also likely in violation of the Israel Aviation Services Law, which requires airlines to cancel flights at least 14 days in advance of a flight. Every other airline in the world has been doing that except United.

According to some reader reports, United has refused to pay the statutory compensation of about $950 per passenger for canceling flights within 14 days, but it may be violating Israeli law in doing so. While United is claiming extenuating circumstances, how are they the only ones with extenuating circumstances of failing to cancel flights in a timely manner?

Claimed extenuating circumstances shouldn’t only be happening to one airline in the world. There are Israeli companies that can help pursue a case against United for that.

I understand that United is eager to get back to Israel. But the way this situation has been handled since October 7th is bizarre and off-putting.

What do you think of United’s motivations and actions and how will they affect your loyalty?

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79 Comments On "[Israeli Media Reporting United Will Return] Why Is United Still Selling Flights To Tel Aviv Next Week?"

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

Ellen Felder

Can you explain the delta partnership? Can you use miles. When I try book on delta from Mia it shows no flights available and el Al isn’t mentioned under their partner airlines.


I think the only way to get united change course is by getting politicians involved.
Congressman can pressure United to supply better answers.
No, I know politics and politicians aren’t always the best, but in this case where united is dependent on regulators. Congressman can bring things in front of the FAA faster than individuals


To understand their logic, it can probably be done through someone who has business relationships with the higher-ups at United.
To change the pattern may require politicians getting involved.


Have you checked with UA about that Pilot? From what I heard he’s still on the seniority list and has not been fired…


The service I got from united is a disgrace to humanity! They wouldn’t even offer to me to fly With partners although I was ready too.


I had the exact same experience


Does anyone think there is a chance that United will actually start flying in March? I am looking to book tickets for the second week in March and their prices are enticing..


How does it work when booking Delta direct, if they cancel the flight will they give me an Elal flight direct?


I booked delta premium from tlv . They rebooked my departing flight to elal dirct premium after an hour of fighting with them . But my return flight they said they can’t change cuz they didn’t cancel it yet.

David D

They take your money up front but it takes at least 2 weeks to get it back. This amounts to an interest free loan for them.


this is what i got after tryin to claim the israel aviation law’s compensation:

We have again reviewed your request for cash compensation and maintain that our response complies with the provisions of the Israeli Aviation Services Law. Your understanding of United’s position is appreciated.
Although compensation is not forthcoming, we sincerely hope that you will choose to fly with us again in the future, and we welcome the opportunity to regain your confidence.

David D

You are using the wrong credit card. Had the same issue my cc came through no problem. Besides never ever travel outside the US without added insurance. My family uses a company called travel guard. They cover everything from late and lost luggage, doctors and hospital stays, new meds. They even covered my mothers plane ride back from Israel to the US. Remember better to have insurance and not need it than to need it and not have it!


I just tried getting insurance for my flight in august and the big companies said that they are not insuring flights to israel


Was a strong united loyalist for many years now. But this gets me seriously rethinking.


You’ll forget about this after a week. I don’t think it’ll have a long term affect on loyalty.


Not completely true, my father has been flying United the past few years 1-2 time per month always in Business

And he flew the last 6-7 times with Elal
And he’s already a Platinum by them

He will most likely stay by ELAL even if united restarts service


I don’t think I’ll be flying with united after what they put us through. We were supposed to fly from israel to NYC for a wedding in November and they canceled and rebooked and canceled and rebooked and canceled ……we ended up flying elal and saving the flight to use for this pesach and now they wouldn’t rebook us without additional fees and just sent us a refund without explanation……


I called united 1k line about a flight I booked for March and they said it’s flying and it’s actually booked with a lot of cargo so there selling limited seats due to weight so sounds like there flying but I guess will see


Same here. I originally had a Swiss flight scheduled for March, but they more or less after putting me on hold for 10m, told me the flight can be booked and intends to fly. I switched (probably stupidly), and hope that it goes my way. We’ll see.


I was on a United flight this week to Zurich with a connection to Swissair in Zurich. My flight was delayed 2 hours making it a very tight connection with Swissair so United changed me to a later flight on ElAl from Zurich to TA. I am scheduled to go back next week from TLV-EWR on nonstop. I have a theory, currently United is only selling coach tickets for next week with very few biz class seats remaining and they are only operating flights 84 and 85, which means plane stays in Israel for 2 hours and flies right back. Could it be that United plans to fly a non-working crew on 84 which will sleep in the biz class seats on 84 and then fly the working crew back in those biz seats on 85 so no crew needs to stay over in Israel?


No, the crew won’t be legal to work it. They need a 24 hour rest even after seating in a seat.


I don’t believe you are correct. The attached is FAA requirement. As the crew is not on duty on first flight or return flight I think, my suggestion would work

In most cases, if you have a scheduled duty period of 14 hours or less, you must have at least nine consecutive hours of scheduled rest after your duty period before you have another duty period. However, under certain circumstances, our regulations allow a rest period of only eight consecutive hours.


I booked a flight from TEL Aviv to America for April 4 with United but Brussels airline is doing the TLV to Brussels leg is this also dependent on United resuming flights to Israel?


If United starts flying, you can get rebooked on the nonstop if Brussels cancels.


No. Why would it? You’re not flying out of Tel Aviv on United. You’re flying out of Tel Aviv on Brussels and Brussels to Newark on United, both legs which operate currently and are not affected by United’s flights to or from Israel.


Online looks like they are selling seats nonstop from March 6 and it’s 1025 round trip. So looks like they going back


March 2

Moshe the Flying Jew

I was booked for Biz Class United paper…TLV ZUR EWR on Swiss…moved my flight one day earlier…didn’t work for me…so they booked me direct on 4/2 United Flight in Biz direct TLV to EWR…really hoping this flys.


Was it a cash ticket ?


We need to stick with El Al over United going forward whenever the opportunity presents itself. They earned loyalty from us in a way that no milage program ever can. Am Yisrael Chai.


I gave up on United. I had round trips booked for Nov ‘23 and Jan ‘24. Took the refund on the November tickets. For the Jan ‘24 trip, I kept postponing to the next available flights. With an hour on hold each time while they got supervisors to make the approvals, I just gave up and booked on El Al. I won’t say I will never fly United again, but I will cancel my credit cards with them and choose El Al for tlv flights going forward. When we tried to cancel our United card, they gave us a $100 credit (to cover the $95 fee) so we kept that one. I doubt they’ll cover the fee on my United quest card that will be up for renewal soon, so they’ll lose me on that one.


so if i booked for purim it most likely wont go correct


What do you expect from another “woke” casualty… They only are hiring blacks and muslims.


Your comment smacks of disgusting racism and is completely inappropriate.


Why aren’t ppl boycotting united


United has been very good to the Israel market. They flew through COVID and, if the news is accurate, are returning to Israel way before other airlines. What have they done to deserve being boycotted?


I wonder if its true this time
“United Airlines informed the Israel Airports Authority (IAA) on Wednesday of its intention to return to Israel in less than two weeks.
United Airlines is expected to take off from New York to Tel Aviv on March 2nd, with the first flight from Tel Aviv to New York scheduled for March 3rd”

Chaim Green

BH i had an incident and left Untied for El Al when they merged with Continental. Since then I realized that every time I use El Al, I am doing mitzvos , V’chai achichah and Chesed.
Supports kosher caterers and suppliers, supports others like us, they facilitate transferring God forbid ill people to different parts of the world, they are the only carrier to accommodate needs of Camp Simcha, they carry our deceased respectfully to E”Y, and avoid chilul shabbos unlike the others who makes their employees including non observant Jews to work on shabbos for observant Jews, which its questionable in halacha. And the list goes on…


nice post!


Its highly probable that they will return in the next few weeks. This is because revenue is down big time by all the airlines. I fly at least twice a week and although the first two months of the year are historically slow I have never seen the airports and planes so empty. The flights are also very cheap. The United flights to Israel as discussed many times by Dan are highly profitable. They simply need the money. Look a AA raising bag fees. They also have higher contracts to pay.

Once this happens El Al will have to drop their prices which is not a bad thing, They can both fill up close to 100% as I personally know many many people who are not going as they cant afford tickets over $1500


Either United sold out of flights on March 3rd and 4th or they stopped selling tickets (possibly ahead of cancelling?)



Moshe the Flying Jew

I was booked for the 11 PM flight TLV to EWR on 4/2…looked to book additional tix…flight doesn’t show up anywhere…only the 11 AM. Spoke to Premium desk supervisor who called operations/flights…etc. Said odd the 11 PM flight doesn’t show anywhere…could be loading into system…or could be not flying. Switched my biz tix from 11 PM to 11 AM to play it safer.


As of now they’re only selling afternoon flight. I think this has been the case for a while


Report now that United informed Israel Airports Authority of official return.


United cancelled my son’s return flight from Israel. Is it possible to negotiate or push back on the $ amount that United has attributed to the return segment? It is less than half of the full roundtrip fare paid. Also, I have not claimed it as a refund yet, wondering if there is any value to keeping it as a credit with United as opposed to taking the refund. Appreciate any advice here.

Also, if the ticket was purchased with points through the Chase Reserve portal, would a refund come back as equivalent points (with the 1.5 factor) or would United send a check or refund the credit card in $? Thanks.


I don’t believe you can bargain with them, the fare of the return is based on what you paid when you bought it.
You might be able to switch it for another date if you need to, if you didn’t take the refund.


Thank you


thats what happened to us and they said you get ur points back 🙁 even though they promised to rebook us on elal and then refused and had to buy tickets 2 weeks before with elal in the last minute for more then double the price that we paid on united
but dont understand is there a great lawyer that we can all take together to sue united for what they did – it sounds like sooooo many people had issues with them – they did not have business ethics – they messed up thousands of people with promises that were false etc
if anyone knows of a good lawyer please post we are willing to start the initiative! thnx in advance


It’s now being reported by all Israeli mainstream media that UA officially notified Israeli authorities they will be resuming flights in march. This is major news!
Dan please explain how this can be done without having staff stay over in Israel or will they be the first airline to leave their aircraft and staff in Israel.


They could park the plane and crew in another country after deplaning in Israel, as one option. Then fly back to pick up return flight.


It looks like the plane will only remain in tlv for around 2 hours then fly back to ewr, I’m wondering how the crew is going to work


is united starting march 2 confirmed?

mr silver

any updates


Is there an election soon?


Hey Dan! Thanks for the writeup!

I had a flight from TLV-FRA(Lufthansa)-YUL(Air Canada) booked through United to get home for Pesach (Apr 7).

The TLV-FRA leg was changed to a later time meaning I would miss the connecting FRA-YUL.
United tried to convince me to fly United from TLV-EWR and then AC to YUL.
I quoted your article (@dan) and said it would not be worth the risk that they’ll cancel last minute with no alternatives…

The only thing they could offer me was to keep the TLV-FRA the way it is, and fly FRA-YUL the next morning – Apr 8 (which means staying overnight in Frankfurt).

They said I can try customer service to see if they can offer a hotel for the night….

Any suggestions on what to do?
Am I entitled to anything under EU or Israel law?
How can I get them to book me a hotel room?
If united does in fact resume flying, would they allow me to switch my flight over?

Please help!


I’m not going near United until I see on a FlightAware map any green curvy line labeled UAL from EWR to TLV and that the plane actually landed.

Moshe Gold

United Airlines confirmed to TOI:


“United Airlines confirms the announcement and says it will resume flights on March 3.”


I bought an El At ticket for the end of March because no one else was flying. It was really expensive. If United does really end up flying, and prices do go down, would I be able to get a price adjustment or anything for the El Al expensive ticket? I bought the ticket with chase points. Ty


you can cancel the ticket and then get a voucher .You can then rebook with the voucher and any price difference that it went down will then still be on the voucher for future use .Keep in mind from the time of cancellation until you receive the voucher can be 4-7 days