If MK (Ta’al) Dr. Ahmed Tibi has his way, and judging by the support which pushed the bill through its preliminary vote, airlines landing in Israel may be compelled to make monetary compensation to travelers for prolonged delays. Tibi stated that to date this is not the case and airlines generally do not offer any compensation, but at times pay in response to legal action. He feels this is not proper and is seeking to compel airlines to make compensatory payment for passengers if they are held over.
Payment to stranded passengers will vary according to one’s destination, between NIS 1,250-NIS 3,000. Passengers delayed overnight and stranded in the airport overnight traveling to Turkey or Cyprus would receive NIS 1,250, to a European destination NIS 2,000 and to N. America NIS 3,000. Tibi told the Knesset plenum that he is tired of seeing passengers sleeping in seats in a lounge or on the floor and the time has come for airlines to be held accountable.
A delay exceeding one night will compel airlines to ensure passengers are fed and placed in a hotel, as well as seeing to transportation to and from the hotel and airport.
The bill also includes charter flights, as well as clauses addressing compensatory payment for passengers who are downgraded for one reason or another.
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz stated the government supports the law, but it will require some fine tuning. He thinks the idea of compensating travelers is fine, but the bill must also address the airlines in a fair manner.
El Al, Arkia and Israir all praised the bill, stating they remain committed to passenger rights and service.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)