[Flight Landed, No Entry Issues, But 3 Day Quarantine For Passengers] What Happens When The Airline Doesn’t Get The Memo From Israel? Behind The Scenes Of American Flight 146 From JFK To Tel Aviv

Foreign nationals waiting after being denied checkin for AA Flight 146 from JFK to Tel Aviv tonight
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Update: The flight has landed and passengers have entered Israel without issue. However, Israel is emailing vaccinated passengers that arrived today that they will need to quarantine for 3 days followed by another PCR test to leave quarantine. That requirement wasn’t disclosed until landing.

And for now, we wait for when Israel will open again…

Originally posted on 11/28:

Some countries make decisions with advance notice and time for everyone to get on the same page.

Israel is known as startup nation and they have the same “move fast and break things” philosophy when it comes to decision making. Rules are made on the fly, websites are rarely updated in a timely manner, and partners don’t always get the memo.

Israel decided to close to foreign nationals last night and there was lots of confusion in the wake of that decision. What would happen to student visa holders? Did people need to arrive in Israel before 11:59pm Sunday, depart for Israel by 11:59pm Sunday Israel time, or depart for Israel by 11:59pm Sunday local time? Those were all unknown factors last night.

Chaim V’Chessed and Amudim reported this morning that the requirement would be that flights need to depart by 11:59pm local time, before walking that back with a correction that flights would have to depart by 11:59pm Israel time. El Al in JFK also confirmed to me that all flights from NYC would not be able to accommodate foreign nationals as they departed after 11:59pm Israel time. However El Al was changing their Los Angeles flight time from 2pm to 1:55pm to beat that deadline.

But then an El Al executive tipped me off that Israel would be changing the deadline from 11:59pm Israel time to 7:59am Monday Israel time-but only as an exemption for flights from North America to allow for Sunday evening departures. Chaim V’Chessed and Amudim later confirmed that change.

That memo was supposed to go out to all of the airlines flying from North America to Israel, but especially on a holiday weekend, things don’t always go as planned.

Foreign nationals had no problems checking in for Delta, El Al, and United flights, but passengers trying to checkin on American at JFK were told that foreign nationals would not be flying on American tonight.

Without any information published on Israeli government websites, American was not budging.

DDF member and travel agent yandmk alerted me at 8:50pm about the situation unfolding at JFK, with long lines of people arguing with American to be allowed to checkin.

I still have PTSD of dealing with American in JFK and it’s one of a long line of reasons that American is not my top choice of airlines. And I haven’t even gotten around to writing about my nightmare experience on American stranding me overnight yet again earlier this year.

I reached out to Chaim V’Chessed and they confirmed that American has been very slow to get current rules and this was far from the first time that they were an outlier in getting the correct information. They suggested that passengers insist that American call Israeli immigration to get the updated information.

I reached out to a local Cleveland travel agent and DDF admin, Chaikel, who recently met up with American in NYC. The airline is actively working to better serve the Frum Community in order to expand their Tel Aviv market share and wanted to learn more about what they could do and what passengers are looking for. Chaikel reached out to Lourdes Nunez, American’s Eastern Division Sales Manager, to see if she could intervene with the unfolding situation at JFK.

American asked for anything official that was published by Israel, but that didn’t exist and unsurprisingly they didn’t want to make any decisions based on posts on Chaim V’Chessed or DansDeals.

When asked why Delta, El Al, and United were allowing foreign nationals to board, the response was that those airlines will be fined, but American isn’t going to make any exceptions. The JFK station manager was not going to give in based on other airlines and they weren’t able to make contact with anyone official in Israel.

Was American really willing to burn bridges with travel agents and passengers on a critical last flight for foreign nationals to get to Israel?

But just then, yandmk wrote to me that American in Miami had allowed foreign nationals to board their evening departure to Tel Aviv. Surely they must know something that JFK could rely on?

Chaikel got ahold of Ralph Susca, American’s District Sales Manager late at night on a holiday weekend and got the ball rolling with the Miami angle. The JFK station was insisting that they wouldn’t board passengers, but American’s managers and Miami station were waking up their higher-ups up to get authorization to overrule the JFK decision and allow passengers to checkin before it was too late.

It was made clear to the JFK station that if they continued to refuse checkin to foreign nationals, and it turned out that they were mistaken, that heads would roll.

And sure enough, at 10pm tonight, just over an hour after he first contacted me, yandmk sent me the good news from his travel agent group. JFK agents had just announced to the waiting passengers that they would be allowed to checkin for the flight to Tel Aviv!

Chaikel apologized to his contacts for taking up their holiday weekend, but they insisted that there was no need to apologize at all. Had he not reached they would not have known about the situation and would not have been able to throw their weight into resolving the situation.

I have to say, I didn’t think this story would have a happy ending, but I’m happy to have done my part. Kudos to yandmk for the heads up, Amudim and Chaim V’Chessed for their help, Chaikel for his help and contacts, and American for doing the right thing and taking care of their passengers!

Or as yandmk wrote to me at the end of this, נס חנוכה! It’s a Chanukah miracle!

Nesiah tova to the passengers, hopefully there are no issues when everyone on tonights flights arrive in Israel tomorrow!

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97 Comments On "[Flight Landed, No Entry Issues, But 3 Day Quarantine For Passengers] What Happens When The Airline Doesn’t Get The Memo From Israel? Behind The Scenes Of American Flight 146 From JFK To Tel Aviv"

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Even though I’m sure it caused many people to have their plans changed, I think it’s beautiful thing that Israel is taking people’s lives so seriously. I think if it might spread in the u.s. the government as well should follow coumos Smart policies weather it’s mask mandates or not allowing indoor minyanim or having Yeshiva via phone.


You sound like a real yevoni.
Liking the goyim and the non religious Israelis.
If vaccines work then don’t worry, since you got it already.
If it doesn’t, what’s the point of closing minyanim and Yeshiva, if at one point or another your going to be exposed to it?


I hope I’d rather not step foot in a Yeshiva or shul my whole life if it can cause someone to die.

Sir Drew

This has to be a troll.


Not a troll at all! Chamira sakanta maisurah!!


Not a troll. Must be someone benefiting from the greatest wealth transfer since the beginning of time.


In my humble opinion, life is worth more then money


The point is that the measures you listed don’t save lives.


Explain how the vaccine facilitates the biggest wealth transfer. It is the trumpster fraudsters that somehow frum jews support blindly that have overseen that since reagan.


Honest question. Can’t many things “cause someone to die”? Driving a car, for example. It’s unhealthy to just stop normal life because of a potential risk. We take risks every day, it’s part of living. The risk of dying from Covid is extraordinarily low, thank gd.


Interesting that you mention driving car because I once heard a psak that you can’t go in a car just for the fun of it. It’s only mutar for a tzorech. I didn’t confirm it but that is what I once heard.

Texas Totty

This guy is a famous troll on TLS. I guess he finally found DD


They only care about PR.
I live in Israel & wherever there’s no media there are no restrictions.


Wow! Thanks to @Dan and everyone else that helped with this!! Truly insane.


Caring Dan comes through!


Dan thanks for helping out all these Yidden.
Sounds like a Chanukah miracle to me.


This is an awesome story 😀 Great job by all involved!
Their biggest mistake is clearly that “they didn’t want to make any decisions based on posts on Chaim V’Chessed or DansDeals.”


Chesed personified!


What inspires me is that you guys exercised your valuable connections for no revenue – just to help out another Yid! Mi Ke’amcha Yisroel!!!


Wow super cool! Yasher koiach and a lichteger Chanakuh!


כל הכבוד Dan!


To be fair to AA, I can’t really blame the employees at JFK for not budging without some sort of *official* correspondence. From the story, it doesn’t seem like this was some power hungry manager being obtuse for the sake of it – they legitimately were trying to get an official answer but were unsuccessful. That’s on Israel, not AA – if you’re going to enact travel restrictions, they need to be clearly communicated? And to not be “able to make contact with anyone official in Israel”? What? How is there not people standing by in Israel considering how eminently predictable travel chaos would be tonight?

As much as heads would roll if they didn’t let passengers on the flight who should be allowed, they would roll much more if they let passengers on who shouldn’t have been.

They were in a no win situation, and Israel tourism officials are at fault for that.


If they still have the same manager they had 2 weeks ago @ this time, then I can testify that he is a power hungry official.


@dan, I am surprised AA doesn’t have a repaid respond team available 24/7 and they would have access to upper management for blitz decisions like this


FlightAware shows AA146 left JFK at 12:12am. Too late? Well, at least it’s not like all the flights that American has canceled recently. Scheduled departure time is 11:55pm.

AA52 from Miami left the gate at 8:17pm, 12 minutes after 8:05pm schedule. El Al Flight 6 left Los Angeles at 2:21pm, but as it turned out the 1:55pm departure change was not necessary.


Yasher koach Dan , Chaikel, and yandmk! נס גדול היה פה!


Shkoyach Dan! This whole story still begs the question how AA in Miami got the memo. Overall it seems to be a JFK culture thing. I flew AA from MIA-TLV 2 weeks ago and it was a very different experience than flying out of JFK. It was seamless and pleasant.


This is why you should book with a travel agent

Mr. CC

+1 thank you to the travel agents that hot this worked out.
@yandmk @Chaikel


Does anybody know if one must show actual vaccine card at the airport before boarding a flight to Israel?

I flew last week with American from JFK. I had all my documents printed, except my vaccine card, which I had a picture of, on my phone. American would not allow me to check in since I did not have the “actual” card.

I had to be rebooked for the next night.

Does anybody if these are the rules? They claimed it’s “per the Israeli government”. Yet on the way out of israel, all I did was show it on my phone and it worked.

Is this American Airlines acting like American Airlines?


I had the same thing.
From what I heard is that it’s only American.

Heimishe Gebrukster

Nes Chanuka? Yet another variant nonsense narishkeit named with the Greek Alphabet. Jews still asleep doing Hail Faucis instead of Shema Yisrael? Jumping through hoops permission to move about freely. Happy Chanuka. Wake up and see the light. Don’t enable evil.

Kat man

Dan Yaasher Kochacha and have a WONDRFUL Yom Tov

AA JFK manager needs to be replaced

I just flew American 2 weeks ago from JFK to TLV. Everyone was especially nice, except for the manager who insisted that I couldn’t board because of a newly invented law, that he made up on the spot.

They rebooked me for the following day, and then the manager decided that infants do not get checked luggage, even though on their website it says that they do get.
To their credit I must say that besides for that manager everyone of them went out of their way to assist $ be nice to the passengers.


I had a multi-city ticket TLV-JFK-ORD-MIA-TLV on AA. What will be the options if I can’t fly the MIA-TLV leg (scheduled for next week)? Any chance they’ll let me change date to future regardless of fare price? Any chance they’d allow this from other US cities or just MIA?


This story should be pinned at the top so the Cyber Monday deals don’t bury the Cyber Travel Sleuth saga.


Has anyone requested permission to fly to israel as a foreign national and gotten accepted? I initially had plans to go to Israel in January with my mother and father (both of whom are israeli citizens) but because of this new variant, they closed it to foreign nationals. Just would like to know what works what requesting permission from the ministry of health, and what do they say ‘yes’ to?


“Without any information published on Israeli government websites”- Horrible decision to close the border. But the worst is that there was no clarity, poor communication and total confusion. Instead of a knee-jerk reaction, the Israeli government should have thought it through a bit, establish criteria for exemptions, and effectively communicated their plan including what they will do with flights in mid-air before the closure rather than either no information or flip-flopping. An extra few hours of thoughtful planning would not have jeopardized the situation. Frustrating




Travel bans don’t work unless you completely shut down all borders. Omicron is already in Israel and the US.
Mandatory quarantines, testing, proof of vaccination etc can work if done properly – something might still be able to slip through the cracks but at least you’re limiting the number of new infections from travel.

moishe stoessel

i believe the siad quite clearly there will be 3 day quarantine, by allowing them to enter they didnt say new regulations dont apply….
anyway as long as you dont plan on leaving the country for most people its not a big issue [unless you need to check into a hotel…]


Even vaccinated Israeli citizens have the same 3 day quarantine requirement so it’s not singling out foreigners.


I was on this flight tonight with United at 4:10 and received no email about 3 days quarantine. Could be because I was on the flight that ;eft before 11:59 israel time.

Fan in Israel

@Chaikel rocks!!!


This flight left before the ban was announced.
They were forced to get on a return flight that landed on Shabbos, without any food.
These Covid stories are turning me into an Israel hater!


Elal will refund less $275 per ticket whole no fly is not pax choice
I don’t want a voucher I want my cash back


So I had tickets to go tonight on american to israel, obviously i cant go now as I do not have israeli citizenship. THey did not cancel the flight and they are offering only airline credit. was anyone successful in getting a refund back on the cc?

Pupa rebbe

@dan did you actually see a email stating 3 day quarantine?

I flew with UA 90 Sunday night and didn’t get any email