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:
- El Al Is Sending A New Plane To Take Diverted Passengers From Goose Bay Air Force Base To Tel Aviv
- El Al Flight 1008 Has Just Taken Off From Goose Bay To Tel Aviv; Listen To The Audio Of The El Al Mayday Call!
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.
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?