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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘El Al’

An Israeli Italian Strike

Friday, May 9th, 2014

A number of El Al pilots didn’t show up for their flights on Thursday evening, calling in “sick”, apparently protesting against the side effects of El Al’s creation of a budget airline service called “Up”.

The Israeli version of the Italian strike left hundred of travelers stuck at the airport with long delays, and one flight to Munich was completely cancelled.

The pilots claim they are flying too many hours, and have too many last-minute itinerary changes as of late.

They’re demanding that El Al hire more pilots to lighten the load.

El Al recently cancelled their point sharing agreement with HAS Advantage Visa card holders, leaving angry and surprised card holders with many tens of thousands of points that can no longer be applied towards El Al flights.

Breaking: HAS Visa Points Now Worthless for El Al Flights

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

In a story the details of which are just beginning to dribble out, Israeli airline El Al and the credit card company Heritage Affinity Services (HAS Visa) are no longer in a cooperative agreement.

HAS allows owners to designate Israel-related charities as beneficiaries of their purchases. It also provides – or at least provided – the opportunity to collect “points” towards the purchase of many goods, including El Al airlines tickets. As such, it is a highly valued card in the American Jewish community.

The severance occurred without any advance notice. Customers in El Al’s frequent flyer group, “Matmid” received an email notice on Thursday morning, April 24, with the peremptory note that: “The point conversion program with HAS credit cards has ended.”

One HAS client, Helene from New York, who was collecting HAS points specifically for a flight to Israel told JewishPress.com that she was shocked by the email, and feels that El Al just robbed her.

HAS points which have already been converted to use for El Al tickets will be honored, but no other HAS points – including those already collected but not yet converted – can be used towards El Al ticket purchases.

El Al customer service representatives told frustrated customers that the divorce was a “mutual decision,” while the HAS service representatives were not even initially aware of the severance. According to HAS, after consultation with management, the decision was made by El Al.

Many American Jews use the HAS card especially in order to collect “points” which can be used towards El Al airline tickets. At least one card holder explained to The Jewish Press that the El Al arrangement was a major reason why many people became HAS cardholders.

Some customers have already been told that collected points will not be redeemed by the airline, although they will continue to be eligible for the many other discounts and services offered by HAS.

One Israeli, much of whose family lives in the States, wants El Al to, at the very least, provide a grace period for customers who have been collecting points in good faith.

“I think El Al has an obligation to honor the points for the next few weeks, so those of us who have collected enough for a ticket, can convert them now. This is very unfair and unethical.”

El Al Plan Will Carry Vatican Logo for Pope’s Return Trip

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

The familiar symbol of the Israeli flag that adorns El Al airplanes will be accompanied the logo of the Vatican when the airline brings Pope Francis back from Israel to the Vatican after his visit in May.

A specially selected crew will man the plane, which will carry the pope, 30 church officials and dozens of journalists, Globes reported.

Incoming El Al CEO David Maimon said, “El Al is proud to have been chosen to provide its services for the pope and his delegation on his historic visit to Israel, and will provide the delegation a special flight at the end of the visit. We will meet all the needs of pilgrims who will accompany the Papal visit to Israel, including special aircrews for the flight.”

The pope will visit Israel at the end of his Middle East tour that will begin in Jordan and continue in Bethlehem and then Jerusalem.

El Al Rabbi Alienates Passengers with Loudspeaker Traveler’s Prayer

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Passengers boarding El Al flights in recent days have been surprised to hear the traditional Traveler’s Prayer (Tefillat HaDerech) over their plane’s public address system, as they entered the plane and once again as the plane was taxiing to its takeoff position, Yedioth Aharonot reported.

An airline employee told Yedioth that, about two years ago, the company placed a sign with the text of the Traveler’s Prayer at the entrance, and passengers did not complain because they barely noticed it.

“But now we’re receiving complaints from the air crews and the passengers. The company employs many non-Jews, and it’s certainly unpleasant,” the El Al employee said.

A non-Jewish El Al passenger told Yedioth that in the U.S. airlines have switched from the “Merry Christmas” greeting to “Season’s Greetings,” to spare the feelings of non-Christian passengers. Although, as Bill O’reilly correctly argued, this year, with Hanukkah falling on Thanksgiving day, there’s nothing but the C holiday in the season, which should free those airlines to return to the more parochial salutation.

El Al responded to the complaints by saying the public address system Traveler’s Prayer was initiated by the company chaplain, Rabbi Yochanan Chayut. They also announced that the prayer would be removed by the end of the week.

Rabbi Chayut was ordered to attend a hearing on his decision, before the company brass.

My first reaction to this story was: El Al has its own rabbi?

Should Egged, the national bus company, have a rabbi, too? What about the trains? Car rental companies? Large parking lots? major intersections?

I called Rabbi Chayut’s office, where a very polite gentleman answered me that El Al uses the services of 11 kitchens worldwide, and so it requires a Rabbi to monitor their kashrut standards.

Yes, I would concede that El Al needs a mashgiach—kashrut supervisor, for sure. But the great thing about a mashgiach is that the parameters of his or her area of authority are limited to food purchase and preparation, including, I’m sure, Shabbat and holiday related food preparation issues.

But as soon as you promote your mashgiach to company rabbi, he’s bound to seek other things to do once all the kashrut procedures had been taken care off for the day.

Like playing the Traveler’s Prayer over the loudspeaker system.

This gesture may sound harmless enough, and I’m sure the majority of the passengers were not deeply scarred by hearing some Jewish guy asking God to protect them from the dangers of the road (including from wild animals, which is always a bonus).

It’s highly problematic, though, if one promotes it as being a prayer. It isn’t. It’s some text a guy is reading over the PA system. Prayer must be uttered by the individual—or the group—with intent. You’re talking to God, for heaven’s sake, it’s not a commercial.

Just as hearing the shofar blown over the radio does not constitute fulfilling the mitzvah of hearing a shofar on Rosh Hashanah, so is hearing a recorded prayer entirely worthless.

But it has many negative effects, such as being loathed by a few passengers, who are now armed with one more reason to hate their forefathers’ tradition.

It would have worked better if the captain, or one of the flight crew were to read it, just before the exit door speech. Then he or she would be actually asking God to protect them, and the recitation would have value.

Or maybe, after landing, as the crew ineffectually asks the passengers to remain seated as the airplane taxis to the airport, the crew can add Birkat HaGomel, the Thanksgiving Prayer, the prayer one is mandated to say after completing a dangerous journey, traveling overseas and getting out of jail.

But, of course, as these things tend to evolve in work places, the entire thing would become a mockery in a short time, like everything spiritual that’s forced by decree.

Incidentally, I’m hiring a rabbi for my car. It’s a 2011 Chevy which could use spiritual guidance, for sure. Traveler’s prayers mandatory.

Israel to Renew Flight to Turkey

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

After a half decade hiatus due to security disagreements, Israel is set to resume Israeli flights to Turkey in Summer 2014.

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz announced today that the disagreement resulting from security arrangements in Turkey have been resolved.

The agreement to resume flights was signed today after Turkey acquiesced to Israel’s security requirements.

Turkish airlines did not halt their service during this 5 year fallout period.

Chief Rabbi Yosef: Don’t Pray on Plane at Expense of Others’ Sleep

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Praying in a minyan on an airplane is forbidden if it robs others  passengers of their sleep or interferes with the duties of stewards and stewardesses, ruled newly elected Chief Sephardi Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, son  of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

Replying to a congratulatory letter from El Al CEO Eliezer Shkedy on the election of the rabbi to his new post, he wrote, “If there is going to be any interference with other passengers or aircraft crew, one should not organize a minyan but should pray alone.”

The rabbi also cautioned that \praying in a minyan violates Jewish law if it robs others of sleep. He added that he usually prays alone when flying.

Rabbi  Yosef also assured the airline’s CEO that he flies El Al whenever we can.

El Al Grounds Flights to Eilat Again, Fears Missile Attacks

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

El Al announced it will halt all daytime flights to Eilat starting Thursday, two weeks after resuming flights based on an understanding with government aviation officials that a solution would be found to a new landing path that El Al considers too dangerous to use.

Terrorist attacks from the neighboring Sinai Peninsula have occasionally targeted Eilat with missiles, and El Al stated Tuesday, “We will not compromise the safety of our passengers. The new flight path to Eilat does not offer the proper safety level for civil aviation.”

El Al said it will continue its nighttime flight and will provide bus service to daytime passengers or refund their money for tickets already bought.

El Al suspended and then resumed flights to El Al two earlier this month after the Civil Aviation Authority allowed the airline to use the regular landing paths while a study was carried out on the new path.

Aviation officials have not changed the route, and El Al is standing by its position, although other airlines are using the new landing path.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/el-al-grounds-flights-to-eilat-again-fears-missile-attacks/2013/09/24/

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