El Al Cancels Flight to Avoid Another Shabbos Disaster


Following the recent turmoil over a flight that left passengers stranded in Athens for Shabbos, it appears El Al decided to play it safe this erev Shabbos, canceling a flight from Kiev to Tel Aviv.

Passengers on flight 2652, which was scheduled to take off on Friday from Kiev Airport to Ben Gurion Airport, were compelled to spend Shabbos in a local hotel due to a malfunction with the plane. The problem first led to a delayed takeoff and ultimately, El Al officials realized the flight might not get to Tel Aviv before Shabbos and the decision was made to put up the passengers in a hotel for Shabbos rather than risk a 2nd ‘Shabbos flight’.

The flight was supposed to take off at 10:00AM, and after numerous delays, a number of chareidi women who were on the flight asked to get off, not wishing to be on a flight that lands after or too close to Shabbos.

The captain informed passengers that due to the fact that it would not be possible to land in Israel before Shabbos, all passengers would be forced to stay at a local hotel for Shabbos and they would return to the airport on motzei Shabbos.

“Following a technical malfunction that was discovered on the plane before taking off from Kiev, Flight 2652 from Kiev to Tel Aviv was postponed until tomorrow evening, and all the passengers are being cared for by EL AL representatives and will stay at a hotel in the city,” said El Al, who apparently learned from the storm of the first Shabbos flight. “We apologize for the inconvenience caused to our customers,” the message concluded.

Guy Shir, one of the passengers on the flight, told Ynet that “the flight did not leave because even if they had landed in Israel before Shabbos, Shomer Shabbos passengers would not have been able to get to their home before Shabbos started.”

According to him, they decided to stay here. El Al’s plane crew was fantastic, but all the ground crew’s conduct was awful – we stand here like sheep to the slaughter, people marched into a room in rows, it was prohibited to bring in duty free items, and all kinds of nonsense. They put us, 150 people outside a door, and we waited.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. Once again, a true Chareidi would avoid at all costs traveling so close to the Shabbos even when there are good reasons to do so. With the latest delays it would seem that a Shomer Shabbos person wouldnt fly to arive Friday afternoon when Shabbos comes in so early. Chochom Aynav BRosho. ElAl should avoid scheduling flights coming in Friday afternoon. Delays are a part of traveling esp in the winter.

  2. Ohevet Yisroel, if you really love Jews, try to judge them favorably! Just about every single family who goes away for Shabbos travels on Friday. Consider that this flight was scheduled to take off at 10:00 am and land in Israel at 1:15 pm – early afternoon. Did you yourself ever travel anywhere for Shabbos by car leaving Friday morning? What about the possibility of a road accident on the way, lanes closed due to construction or just plain weekend traffic? Do all Jews who want to go away for Shabbos travel only on Thursdays? Are there delays only on planes or also on the road? True, delays are a part of traveling and the risks in the winter are higher, but being scheduled to arrive at one’s destination at 1:15 does leave a bit of leeway (preferably only taking hand luggage), not all that different than the risks that your average family takes when going to family for Shabbos by car. One should definitely be cautious and if one does not have to travel on Fridays, it would be better not to. But there are circumstances for which people go away for Shabbos even in the winter (simchas, kibbud av v’eim, etc.) and leaving work early so as to have reasonable leeway for traffic, etc. is done all the time. Try to live up to your username and start by giving other Jews the benefit of the doubt. And make sure that you ALWAYS light exactly on time or earlier to prove to yourself that your standing up for kovod Shabbos is 100% sincere…

  3. Ladler, I guess my frum family is the exclusion. My parents, in laws, siblings, and my own wife and children go away for shabbos and we don’t travel on Friday. If we are discussing driving an hour by car (Brooklyn to queens or Miami Beach to north Miami Beach) and planning to arrive 3- 4 hours before shabbos, then fine. 1. My frum family will not take international air travel on Friday. 2. My frum family will not take long road trips on Friday 3. My frum family will not risk being Mechalel shabbos regardless if it’s a simcha, visiting parents, etc. we know that it’s better to forgo a simcha than traveling on shabbos. We know that leaving a 3 hour window until shkiya for international air travel is risky and can carry huge consequences. Concluding, I don’t believe that just about every family who goes away for shabbos travels on Friday (maybe I am the rare exception to your rule, to which I applaud myself)

  4. The Shuchon Aruch States very clear times for departing on a trip before shbs. I don’t remember what it says but there is an equation regarding how much time you have to leave earlier than expected arrival.
    Im happy that the event of last trip made el al more cautious as many non frum people ( crew etc ) who are abvioulsy not preoccupied by the Halacha of Leaving with enough time are now less likely to take this a chillul shsb Flight.
    Maybe someone who does know the Halacha can tells us what the psak of the shulchan haruch is so that we don’t need to debate it whats permitted and what’s not here.
    I personally don’t write an email on Friday to a non religious person who is likely to only read it on shbs..

  5. tgi shabbos very well said! i would deffinitely not fly or drive long distance on fridays. always expect delays or traffic, and regarding this flight arriving 3 hrs to shabbos (without any flight delay) is way too close for my comfort.