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STRANDED IN HALIFAX: Shabbos Food Rushed, After El Al Flight From Newark Makes Emergency Landing

El Al Airlines flight LY26 from Newark to Tel Aviv was forced to make an emergency landing in Halifax, Canada, late on Thursday night.

The Boeing 777 was scheduled to depart Newark at 9:00PM Thursday night, and arrive in Israel at around 1:20PM on Friday, but the pilot declared a “Mayday” and a requested a diversion to Halifax Stanfield after reports of smoke in the cockpit.

Spokesperson for the Halifax International Airport Authority, Tiffany Chase, said the pilot declared an emergency just after 11:00PM and landed safely.

According to Channel 12 news, it was decided that the plane required a full technical inspection, leaving passengers stranded in Halifax as the airline does not fly on Shabbos.

Passengers on the flight told YWN that the airline kept them for many hours on the plane and then in the airport until they were told that they would be accommodated and put up in a local hotel. They were given a minimum amount of food, and passengers said they were starving. The plane made the emergency landing at around and were first allowed to get off the plane at around 2:30AM. The group finally arrived at their hotel at around 6:30AM.

“El Al’s flight from New York (Newark) to Tel Aviv had to land in Halifax, Canada, due to the smell of smoke from the back kitchen area of ​​the plane,” the airline said in a statement. “All passengers are being taken care of by company representatives and we apologize for any inconvenience caused to our customers.”

YWN notes that El Al could’ve easily had the passengers flown back to Newark or Montreal for Shabbos, instead the entire flight is stuck in a hotel in Halifax.

Jews sprung into action from various location to help those stranded.

Thanks to Montreal Hatzolah, Kosher food for Shabbos was arranged and being flown by members of Montreal’s Jewish community. Photos provided to YWN on Friday morning show carloads of food being taken to the airport for the flight to Halifax. A volunteer was flying the food, and planned on staying in Halifax with the group for Shabbos.

Meanwhile in New York, massive amounts of food were quickly put together by Gourmet Glatt of Cedarhurst and Chap-a-Nosh to be flown to Halifax (see videos and photos below).

Additionally Chabad of Halifax is assisting in accommodating the passengers.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

33 Responses

  1. Wow. מי כעמך ישראל

    There were flights out of Halifax this morning that would have made it to Toronto or Montreal well before shabbos. I wonder if any passengers did that. I would have.

    Also, why Frum Jews are still flying Thursday night to Israel in the winter is beyond me. But I’ll be דן לכף זכות.

  2. “YWN notes that El Al could of easily had the passengers flown back to Newark or Montreal for Shabbos, instead the entire flight is stuck in a hotel in Halifax.”

    Firstly– the phrase you are looking for is “could have”.

    Secondly– how do you know what El Al could have easily done? Do you have contacts in their operations team? Do you know how many spare aircraft they have lying around? Or how much it would cost to purchase last minute tickets for hundreds of passengers on other airlines?

    Bottom line is, if you don’t want to risk a situation like this, don’t take an international flight on Thursday night. The reason why these flights tend to be less expensive that the ones earlier in the week is because most people are cautious enough not to take these flights, hence less demand. However, for that same reason, there are always some people who will risk it in order to save some shekalim, and then play victim when these situations occur.

  3. I’m just curious. I don’t fly alot but from time to time.
    Why should a Heimesha yid risk on such a long flight to Israel when to arriving time is 1:30pm just 3 hours before the zman?

  4. I respectfully disagree. El Al could not have easily flown a planeload of passengers from Halifax to Newark or Montreal on short notice. They did not have a functioning aircraft. They supplied the food that was available, possibly saving some meals in case they could continue their trip. El Al possibly could have taken more responsibility for arranging, and bringing in, kosher food for the passengers who were stuck in Halifax. And, while he was probably not a Jew, Murphy’s law seems to apply way too often to passengers who undertake a long trip that close to Shabbos.

  5. I just flew my son to EY, landed at 10:30 am Friday, which wasn’t great.
    To land at 1:30, just 3 hrs for Shabbos is simply asking for trouble.
    we’re lacking in proper appreciation for kedushas Shabbos

  6. “the pilot declared a “Mayday” and a requested a diversion to Halifax Stanfield after reports of SMOKE IN THE COCKPIT…”
    “El Al’s flight from New York (Newark) to Tel Aviv had to land in Halifax, Canada, due to the smell of smoke IN THE BACK KITCHEN AREA OF THE PLANE”

    Perhaps they have a special glatt kitchen in the Cockpit for mehadrim VIP passengers or the El Al pilots have unique olfactory skills and were able to smell the burning tzimes from the galley all the way in the back of the plane.

    Either way, as many here have noted, over an over again, either travel earlier in the week or carry several packages of tuna fish and a few slices of challah in your carry on bags.

    I never realized that El Al prepares its meals in the cockpit.

    their are plenty of flights they could have flown everyone to nyc or canada instead of leaving everyone stranded in canada in middle of nowhere . its ridiculous to always fall back on the rachmonos of jews and chabad to take over the responsibilities that ELAL ALWAYS IGNORES

    a)these passengers should sue ELAL for leaving them stranded their is no other choice
    b)ELAL should be boycotted or at least never fly with them on THURSDAYS !
    c)flying on thursdays should be a last resort not relying on having enough time to arrive before shabbos (that is unless you dont mind being stuck in some far flung isolated dingy hotel in middle of nowhere)
    by el-al its always about saving money, its not about you its about their bottom line
    and hey the food is free they dont even need to be worried about logistics or $$$ because chabad and frummies always take care of their own
    until we speak up and fight back by suing and boycotting ELAL things will never ever change!

  8. Just want to thank everyone who sprung into action. This will definitely a Shabbaton (albeit unplanned) that m’usband will remember. He was on that flight. Buchashem everyone is safe and ok. And as for flying them back to Newark it would have meant getting a new plane there first. And then everyone would have to rebook. This way they can all just get back on motzash which is the plan as they are due to leave at 9pm tomorrow night.

  9. When are people going to understand to stay away from this flight? There is no room for error, since its not an American airline if something happens there is no replacement plane, and El Al has a history of delays and cancellations.

  10. The tremendous Chesed response notwithstanding, who departs for Eretz Yisroel on a 9.00 pm flight on Thursday? This is russian roulette! The slightest delay can mean chilul shabbos.

  11. Meanwhile in New York, massive amounts of food were quickly put together by Gourmet Glatt of Cedarhurst and Chap-a-Nosh to be flown to Halifax Something doesn’t sound right:- Meat and fruit and fish and vegetables cannot be imported thru Canadian Customs into Canada:- Not even from the USA.

  12. YWN writes “YWN notes that El Al could’ve easily had the passengers flown back to Newark or Montreal for Shabbos, instead the entire flight is stuck in a hotel in Halifax.”. Do you have the details to back up this claim?

  13. Once again (and everyone here can check with their rov) it is absolutely אסור to take this flight. Period. I’m glad this happened to them because the more this happens the more people will learn the Halacha. When you don’t respect shabbos (and it’s not about “keeping shabbos” it’s about respect) then you end up getting stranded in some strange place. Hashem had mercy on them and picked a place not too strange where there is a frum community nearby. Maybe next time they won’t be so lucky. People please pay attention!! The last flight out of New York to Israel is Thursday 1:00 pm. You land at 6 am Friday morning. Anything after that is pshia. Period.

  14. as per flight aware
    they arrived canada @ 1:23AM they disembarked @ 2:30 (why it took so long only g-d knows)
    and why it took 4 hours until they arranged a hotel is even more puzzling
    guess they were trying to figure out the cheapest way to make it work for them (not the stranded customers of course)
    and reading some of the comments its no wonder ELAL gets away with it
    no other airline would treat their customers the way ELAL does and im very very familiar with this route
    its not about the chesed here thats all nice and good its about why ELAL doesnt feel responsible
    its as if theyre doing you a big favor by letting you fly with them, instead of realizing its the other way around!
    their are plenty of flights out from nova scotia to the ny metro area or canada but ELAL doesnt want to shell out for 1 WAY TICKETS ON OTHER AIRLINES
    i just checked the scheduling their were flts at 5:30am to montreal toronto and flts to jfk as well which is actually a 4-5 hour flt
    the choice and option should be offered to flying customers whether they want to stay put or fly elsewhere for shabbos thats the least mentchlich thing to do
    ELAL l knows good & well what shabbos is and what it means to people. we arent talking about JORDANIAN AIRLINES HERE, THIS IS EL-AL ISRAEL’S airline for them to treat people like they do is disgusting and so unprofessional
    and i would never write this if it was only one isolated incident . THIS HAPPENS EACH TIME THEY HAVE A FLIGHT THAT GETS DELAYED THURSDAY GOING INTO SHABBOS
    LAST YEAR THEY EVEN BLAMED THE FRUM PASSENGERS is this the way you treat paying customers??to ignore their requests and just treat them like DELAYED LUGGAGE??? i hope people finally wake up and smell the coffee its time for el-al to get their act together

  15. Its not the airlines problem that they have orthodox jews as customers. If this was any other airline flying to any other destination Nothing would’ve been done by the airline. Maybe an overnight stay in a cheap hotel and some fast food from any local burger or pizza joint. Please stop expecting EI Al should have spare food and especially Shabbos food onboard their flights.

  16. Yankelle is 100% right.

    If ELAL has no interlining agreement with Air Canada and another carrier then maybe something could be done. However Halifax is not a major airport, and you can’t fit everyone from a 777 onto a DHC-8.

    And conditions of carriage are not usually Shabbos-oriented

  17. With all due respect, Halifax is the capital of the Province of Nova Scotia. That is NOT the “middle of nowhere”.

    I you want to talk about being stuck in yenavelt, try spending a weekend in Gander, Newfoundland. Now that’s yenavelt (as I’ve discovered twice over the past 20 years on flights from NYC to Europe). If I recall, there was also a movie made about the thousands of people stranded there right after 9/11 when all inbound flights to the U.S. were cancelled.

  18. My travel agent found a great deal on a flight from Tel Aviv to London, landing yesterday, erev Shabbos, at 1:30 pm – not El Al.

    I’m not stupid. I’m paying more to fly Monday morning, but a lot less than if I would have gone on Thursday (post holiday prices.) I would never risk being stuck for Shabbos because of unforeseen problems. Why people do this is beyond my comprehension, & then as usual, good people are scrambling to help them, when they have to get ready for Shabbos! Shabbos in Jerusalem yesterday was 4:14. How were they expecting to get to their destination by then?? Use some common sense, people!

  19. Who said that ElAl want involved in preparing or paying for the food?

    If you are traveling for vacation, avoid this flight. Business travelers often have very limited options and this flight did not have issues over 99% of the time. I have asked a shayla and was told I can take this flight during the winter, and each person should ask their own rav. We only hear about this every few years when there is an issue, but I know people who take this flight every other week and have dinner so for years without every having an issue.

    ElAl did the right thing and tries to do the right thing even though they are not a frum airline. They did not fly in shabbos though this would have saved them a fortune. No other airline in the world would do this. None. These guys aren’t always tsaddikim but in this case it sounds like they did what they could.

  20. Sound so ridiculous that I wonder if these comments are typed by adults or 10 year old kids.
    “. . . El Al has a history of delays and cancellations.” My dear boy, El Al has no more or less a history of delays and cancellations than any other major airline. I understand that your Rebbe holds the internet is assur, but try to do some basic research before you spout off about things which you obviously know nothing about.
    “. . . their [sic] are plenty of flights they could have flown everyone to nyc or canada instead of leaving everyone stranded in canada in middle of nowhere .” Really? How many flights land in Halifax that could have taken more passengers? El Al had no responsibility to fly anyone anywhere except to the flight’s stated destination.
    “YWN notes that El Al could’ve easily had the passengers flown back to Newark or Montreal for Shabbos, instead the entire flight is stuck in a hotel in Halifax.” How does YWN have any idea what El Al could or could not have done? Why are you editorializing in the middle of a “news story?”
    The bottom line, of course, is that anyone who truly cared about Shabbat would not be on this flight. Even in the flight had landed on time, it still takes an hour or so to gather luggage and get thru passport control. The you have to pray there’s no traffic or blockages on the road between BG Airport and your final destination.

  21. The length of the flight makes no difference. Longer flights are no more likely to be delayed than shorter ones. A 3-hour safety margin gives you the same safety whether the flight is 1 hour or 16 hours. Whether 3 hours is enough is up to you, but remember that most of us get home from work less than 3 hours before Shabbos, or drive to nearby towns with less than a 3-hour margin, and every so often people do get stuck on the road and have to find hospitality or make do at a motel somewhere.

  22. People do not learn they’re lesson. Unless absolute emergency situation you’re not allowed to fly to EY on Thursday night!! Especially in the winter! If arriving so close to Shabbos does not mean enough to you good luck spending Shabbos in some hotel in Halifax Canada or some other hotel in Athens. These stories have happened dozens of times but ppl keep flying so late.

  23. Dwkl1, it’s not el al’s responsibility to fly people back to nyc. No airline would do that.
    Their are responsible for putting you up in a hotel locally. You think they have all these empty planes and crews just hanging around?
    Would Delta or United fly you to Montreal or NYC,? Of course not. Either grow up or don’t fly on Thursday.

  24. What assistance exactly did Chabad of Halifax offer to these yidden? In the past, I know the local CHabad steps up to the plate and supplies food and all shabbos needs. I am always moved to send a large donation to those Chabad Houses to help cover the expenses of their chessed. Seems here, everything came from the Montreal kehillah. Any purpose of sending a large donation to CHabad of Halifax? Who in Montreal should get my donation to help cover the expenses? I always want to partner in this amazing chessed!

  25. I just made out a check of $18,000 US to Hatzalah of Montreal but maybe it should be split among others who participated (mentioned in article:Gourmet Glatt of Cedarhurst and Chap-a-Nosh). I want to be a partner in such chessed!

    What exactly did Chabad of Halifax do? Article says: “Additionally Chabad of Halifax is assisting in accommodating the passengers.” Does that mean Chabad simply provided a list of phone numbers to local hotels or actually made calls to local hotels? Did Chabad host the stranded passengers in the Chabad House (beds, linen etc)? Did they arranged minyan and kriyas haTorah?

    I need to know who to send a check to and appropriate amount.

  26. Correction: I spent much of shabbos with some of the group flying on El Al. No one complained about El Al. They were happy with the arrangements that were made on their behalf after an unusual stopover. EL AL sent a manager from Newark for shabbos to make all the arrangements. The passengers were all very thankful to him. He did what he could in a timely fashion. Overall, after talking to many passengers and some personal interaction with El Al myself on Friday, I would rate their reaction at close to perfect, if not 100% perfect.

  27. Yakov: There are some who have an “agenda” with El Al. While certainly not the best in terms of customer service, they do a good job given the unique constraints governing their operations that no other airline has to deal with.

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