MAILBAG: Disaster For Many El Al Passengers Returning From Israel To NY


Dear Editor,

I am writing this email out of sheer frustration about how I was treated today by El Al. My family and I were on flight LY27 scheduled to leave at 12:30AM Monday morning (Sunday night). It then got changed to 4:45AM, and now to 6:00AM. Making matters even worse, is that I and many others had already checked out of our apartments and hotel rooms that we rented for Pesach. We literally have no where to go. El Al has no call center, and no one to talk to. There is a joke of a WhatsApp business account that sends “auto replies” and does absolutely nothing to assist frustrated travelers.

It’s  now 1:00AM, and I am spending the night with my family in the airport. Friends of mine managed to get places to spend the night in Yerushalayim, and were unable to get Tenders to drive them to the airport at 3:00AM. They will need to take 3 taxies instead.

And want the kicker? On one of the emails from El Al (written in the most horrific English I have ever read) there is an attachment. Guess what the attachment is? The email addresses and cell phone numbers of most of the passengers on the flight!

I am appalled at this dangerous breach of security.

And if you are wondering, the answer is no. This is not the only flight delayed for many hours without any reason given. How does El Al expect to keep their clients satisfied? Definitely not like this, when we have many alternate airlines to choose from now.

The worst thing is the lack of normal communication with passengers left (literally) in the dark. Maybe I’ll spend my night emailing my fellow passengers – now that El AL was kind enough to provide me with that information.

Heads need to roll at El Al.

Name withheld upon request

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.


(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. Serious question. What is the toeles of this letter? Do you think everyone reading it is flying ELAL and needs to know this? And every other airline is functioning perfectly? I don’t work for ELAL, but this is pure Lashon Harah. If you need assistance in Israel because you’re stuck at the airport, then say so without the drama. I understand you’re frustrated. I got kugels this year that tasted awful. Should I write a letter to the editor naming the Heimishe company and whine about it? We’ve all had delays and been stuck. Kacha Ze Chaim. Appreciate that you were zoche to spend yom tov in Eretz Yisrael. You’ll be home soon.

  2. @emeslaamito – Always one person gutranteed to throw the “lashon hara” line out there.

    You must have missed where the Chofetz Chaim in Sefer Shmiras halashon specifically writes that if someone asks you if a person is a good shoemaker, and he is not, you are REQUIRED to tell him. Not to mention the other open halacha that when someone is dishonest in business, you are required to warn people.

    Not everything is “LASHON HARA”.

  3. “when we have many alternate airlines to choose from now”.
    Why did you choose Elal?
    Many other great choices without dealing with the usual “balagan”.
    I stopped flying Elal years ago.

  4. Hi, thanks for the personal insult about what I missed. Maybe I did, I try and learn and review as best as I can. Let’s try and be mature here. Number 1: You yourself said that it applies ‘if they ask’. I didn’t ask. This was posted without me asking. Number 2: Who said this is stemming from dishonesty? All airlines are struggling recently. Is this any different? Again maybe I missed it, but I think the Chofetz Chaim is quite clear that you must know first hand all the details. Was this maliciously planned? Maybe, but unless you know you can’t say. A five hour delay is normal right now. No customer service is par for the industry right now as well. Annoying, frustrating, but expected. Does it warrant a public trashing of a Jewish owned business?

  5. Did El Al violate its terms of service? Was there any legal or contractual requirement for them to provide lodgings? Or is this a customer service complaint?
    Every year, people who book Pesach vacations have problems important enough to be publish. Some are foreseeable, some are unfortunate, and some are really just the typical inconveniences any traveler needs to be prepared for.
    I hope to be able to afford to take my family to Israel someday. And I hope to have the grace to appreciate the oppretunity and not complain about being “forced” to spend another couple of hours in ארץ הקדושה.

  6. Ferd – The Chafetz Chaim was talking about somebody asked you. Here, no one asked the OP his opinion, so the Ch. Ch. would certainly not have allowed.
    Besides, unfortunately many other airlaines also have this type of Customer [dis]Service, so if given the choice between El Al or another airline this might not even be a consideration, both may be equaully as bad/good.

    What may be missing to readers is the fact that El Al now belongs to a frum person/family. For many years this was not the case, and it may well have been permissible to speak Loshon Hora about the company. The new circumstances mean new halochos….

  7. I have never flown El Al except on business where an Israeli client is providing the ticket. I always fly Business (or first;) ElAl is a disaster compared to United, Delta, British, Turkish or Iberia. With new management who have no airline experience, i did not expect improvement. I prefer a stop-over to a direct experience on ELAl.

    but then again, Israel does not understand service delivery except in a very small number of exceptional companies.

  8. Rabbi Ferd (I like how that sounds!),

    ..”Always one person gutranteed to throw the “lashon hara” line out there.” Yeah, that’s a Jewish Jew. He cares about HaShem’s mitzvohs. And one is about not talking (or writing) Lashon Hara. B”H we are guaranteed to have Jewish Jew visit this site.

    Now to some of the finer points: Maybe, could it be YOU missed where the Chofetz Chaim writes of the conditions needed before broadcasting such a public letter. As you wrote ” someone asks you if a person is a good shoemaker, and he is not, you are REQUIRED to tell him.” Right on. If someone asks you.. and then five to seven conditions too. Whereas in this case I think NONE were fulfilled.

    On to the next Perek.. “Not to mention the other open halacha that when someone is dishonest in business, you are required to warn people.” Have you done your daily Chofetz Chaim reading? (I didn’t) Again, five to seven conditions are required before you convey this information.

    Third Perek.. Not everything is “LASHON HARA”. That’s a true statement. Some things are not. Like saying a good thing about someone. In this case as pointed out before, it probably IS Lashon Hara. And multiplied by the amount of readers…

    There used to be someone here who had a sub-title under her name “Tell it to me, I’ll tell you if it’s Lashon Hara” !!!

  9. How about feeling sorry for the thousands of people who worked and toiled for Pesach and didn’t just hop on a plane and spend a luxurious yom tov in Israel? People who spent money that they do not have and had to worry about how to pay their bills for the huge inflated yom tov expenses. We are supposed to feel sorry for you? I am sick and tired of these rich snobs who have the liberty of spending a crazy amount of dollars on unnecessary vacation trips and then kvetch and whine when something doesn’t go their way on the trip.

  10. ” I got kugels this year that tasted awful. Should I write a letter to the editor naming the Heimishe company and whine about it?

    Of course you should. Why should another Yid have their yom tov ruined by an awful kugel. Simply post a truthful review on Airline flight delays are to be expected but a bad kugel can leave lifetime scars and inflict deep emotional trauma.

  11. What can I say? I was booked to fly on פורים-קטו from Ben-Gurion to JFK on a 1.30PM El Al flight, and duly arrived at Ben-Gurion at 9.30 as per instructions of 4 hour advance check in. Upon arriving to security, I am told that flight was changed to 4PM, & hence too early to check in.
    So also got messed up, and had rushed in for nothing, on what was to become an even longer non-ending day.

  12. I agree with emeslaamito (although not necessarily about the lashon hora part).
    Why are your frustrations and difficulties with El Al more significant than anyone else’s experience with having bought a burnt kugel or burnt matzoh?
    I didn’t resent (in my case) the box of burnt matzah even one bit and never thought I should write a letter to the internet to seek sympathy for my plight (one box of hand shmura vs the two I would have liked to have had). (Actually, it didn’t bother me at all.)
    Do I hear a sense of entitlement here, coming from the privileged class that has the incredible privilege and wealth (Ashreicheim!!!!) to be able to spend Pesach in EY?
    “Disaster?” — That you had to spend 5 1/2 more hours in EY (at the airport) than you intended?
    You call that a “disaster”?
    How many Yidden wouldn’t trade places with you anytime, if that’s the worst and most difficult thing you experienced in your life this Pesach?
    My friend, treasure what you have.
    Treasure that you could spend Pesach in EY.
    Treasure that you had 5 1/2 more hours in EY, even at the airport.
    (How many Yidden haven’t been there in decades — or not at all?)
    Treasure that you’ve been blessed with the kind of life where this mild inconvenience (and which would be a blessing for many others) is to you a ‘disaster.”

  13. Mr Ferd
    The emes lamito is that no one asked him so the comparison to the shoemaker is a bit flawed. Secondly, he does not write of dishonesty- just lack of civility and no communication. it is a Bain Adam Lachaveiro issue, not Choshen Mishpat issue he writes about. That too does not fit the description of the Chofetz Chaim. no?
    I appreciate the frustration…. but is this the chofetz Chaim approved way to handle it?? Time for me to start to review so I can know the answer.

  14. I get that it is really inconvenient etc.. But such an entitled, demanding letter. This is what America has done to you.. really you need to do a lot of soul searching. I am sure the situation would have been different had you had the gratitude and appreciation to be in the holy land, even in the airport.. and the understanding that possibly you have to be zoiche to actually leave the airport and walk further.. Maybe if you would have been happy to finally leave the sewer or am rica and come into the kedusha, you would have been zoiche to help. Listen there were people who would have driven you even in the middle of the night. and listen I would have let you sleep in my apartment if I had known.. but your ATTITUDE has to be different. NO ONE OWES YOU ANYTHING. This nisayon was from HKBH!!!!

  15. I was shocked, just shocked! to read that a plane load of snobs had to spend an extra 5.5 hours at an airport.
    Not to mention the distress caused to those who for some unfathomable reason saw it wise to take taxis throughout the middle east in a vain effort to avoid being at an airport from midnight to 4:30 AM.
    What is this world coming to of a plane departure is delayed by more than 10 minutes??

  16. My husband and I have traveled 7 round trips to Israel this past years all with ElAl. True, they sometimes have kinks but overall they are a pleasure. All the above nay sayers try Jet Blue to Orlando! ElAl is a serious airline who will work to get better and better. Sure you can go United or Delta. They are so eager to be stickler with weight and laugh as every religious Jew struggles to get the suitcase or duffel un 50 lbs. They hate you and they don’t hide it. The hub in Newark seems to only such employees. Whoever they reject then goes on to American Airlines. Stick with ElAl. At the end if the day you will feel better about your trip. Know also that 10% of your ticket price will likely go to Tzedaka.

  17. STAY HOME FOR PESACH!!!!! Is that too much to ask?? It’s the right thing to do anyway. Pesach is not a time for vacations. If you have any understanding of what pesach is all about. Plan your vacations at other times. I’m case you were wondering why it seems like every year there are various horror stories about various pesach vacations. Between these pesach trips getting canceled or airlines canceling flights all over the world etc. STAY HOME FOR PESACH!! Simple as that.

  18. I flew El Al once time and that was enough for me. I would never fly with them again unless absolutely forced.

    I always wondered why so many people fly with El Al again and again, but after reading the comments here I’m beginning to understand: apparently, many frum people think that a person is spoiled, snobby, and entitled for wanting to be treated the way other airlines treat you. Apparently it is “privileged” not to want to spend 5.5 hours overnight in an airport with a family in tow.

    To be so delayed is NOT normal. Google it and read how El Al is the third most delayed airline in the world, with only Egyptair and Ethiopian Airlines having more delays! If you think being delayed 5.5 hours is normal and nothing to complain about, it’s a sign that you have only flown El AL.

    Finally, many of you are openly jealous that the letter writer was zocheh to spend Pesach in Israel. Work on your own middos instead of attacking his out of jealousy and spite.

  19. Oy! Motzai Yom tov I had major stress as the pizza store was way too expensive with the auctioned pies, the 24 hour Dunkin had a line an hour long at 2 AM, and I could not even eat any bread until 3 PM Sunday when I finally found some stale cookies in the shul kitchen.

    EL AL is the Spirit Airlines of the international carriers, which is why I avoid them.

    A very inexpensive trip insurance policy would of stepped in with all the delays you experienced.

    The 50lb limit has been in place for a long time, and if someone didn’t bother weighing their luggage before going to the airport, it does not make a difference what airline you fly. If anything, I have found that the counter scale shows 2-3 lbs less than what I weighed on my travel scale

    A brand new Dreamliner is useless with the awful seat pitch prevalent with this carrier.

  20. Going back to Israel for יום-העצמאות with El Al, and then again going back to Israel for יום-ירושלים with El Al

    In deference to פיקוח-נפש I shan’t be going to Israel to מירון come ל”ג ב”עומר

  21. You guys obviously never flew elal because there were many true points brought out
    the customer service is horrible and needs to be improved
    i think this criticism is for the benefit of the company so they could better serve the customers and kudos to this person for bringing it up

  22. Agreed. Simple and to the point.
    I recently flew UA from TLV. after flight was cancelled due to mechanical and crew timing out (lack of planning on UA’s part) I received an apology email and compensation.
    Mistakes happen to all. Question is how to they respond andcyry to make it up to the customer

  23. @TheMaven: Please don’t tell me you like burnt Matzoh.
    There I was, feeling just as put upon for my burnt matzoh as the poor baby who complained about having to spend an extra 5 1/2 hours at the airport before catching his non-stop flight from EY — and now you’ve taken that away from me.
    Not fair.
    Where do I send my protest?