This Morning’s Strike At Ben Gurion Is Just Another Reason Why You Should Avoid Thursday Evening Flights To Israel

TLV Ben Gurion Terminal 3 GeorgeDement / CC BY-SA
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At 3am this morning I got messages from several readers about a sudden IAA (Israel Airports Authority) strike that threatened to halt outbound and inbound traffic. The IAA wanted a firm date when Israel would allow foreigners back into the country, but with COVID-19 cases there spiking, that seems unlikely anytime soon.

I quickly took a look and saw an Air Canada flight 80 from Toronto had just landed, but the strike potentially threatened United flight 90 from Newark, El Al flight 14 from JFK, and El Al flight 108 from Los Angeles that were due to land Friday afternoon.

I suspected that the timing was an IAA ploy. Threatening to divert multiple planes from the US on a Friday would be a PR nightmare for Israel.

The IAA was asked to negotiate and they allowed the flights to land and take off.

But I know that lots of Sabbath observant Jews were on those flights. In fact if you want a nonstop from LA to Tel Aviv this month, El Al’s only option is on Thursday arriving some 4.5 hours before Shabbos. El Al has also made Thursday flights from JFK a priority.

Don’t get me wrong, I get that it’s convenient to fly to the US on a Saturday evening and have a full work week before flying back to Israel for Shabbos.

But today’s passengers could have easily wound up being dumped in another country and being put into quarantine upon arrival.

A couple of years ago I implored religious Jews to rethink taking flights close to Shabbos after several El Al Thursday night diversions and late arrivals. Passengers think they can just get off the plane in case of a delay, but I’ve been forced to fly after long tarmac delays.

An El Al pilot even once lied to passengers about returning to the terminal before taking off and being forced to divert to Athens for Shabbos. That was done so the company would be able to fly the plane back to Israel on Shabbos and then operate its Saturday evening flight back to NYC. Going on a Thursday evening flight to Israel certainly increases your odds of being diverted.

Today’s close call is just another reminder of the risks you take by choosing a flight arriving in Israel on a Friday.

Do you take Thursday evening flights to Israel?

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8 Comments On "This Morning’s Strike At Ben Gurion Is Just Another Reason Why You Should Avoid Thursday Evening Flights To Israel"

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Yes, Friday flights should be avoided.
But, this time they did serve the flights that were in the air.


My sister was on LY14 and I was due to fly, but refused boarding as they didn’t accept my documents re the Boarder Patrol exemptions. She arrived on time, and no problems.


What’s the future of elal flights for June moving fwd

Kavod Shabbos

Whether they did indeed have delays or issues is irrelevant. Dan’s giving us good advice and we should take it. Once we get on the plane we’re not in control of the situation anymore. Shabbos is no joking matter and the more indicators that show us that there could be an issue should convince us to take that precaution.


why are they only flying from NYC to TLV on Thurs landing on Fridays, its making it basically impossible for Yeshiva couples with permits to return to Israel


Chabad’s Shabbos-mobilization/bailout would be that much more complicated during this pandemic…

Kavod shabbos

Elal does not like the Frum. they will automatically do things that will make it bad for us.