A group of Haredi Jews have claimed that Delta Airlines tried to cover up their own mistake of overbooking and instead blamed Haredim for a 75-minute delay in take-off, according to the Kikar Shabbat Haredi website.
As reported here on Wednesday, several Haredim left the plane after the airline crew refused to allow them to sit in unassigned seats to avoid having to travel next to someone of the opposite sex.
That is not the what happened, claimed travelers who spoke with Kikar Shabbat.
“The airline messed up and threw their mistake on Haredi passengers,” one of the sources said. “Delta overbooked with 25 extra passengers, and when the company realized the embarrassment, they offered people a credit of $1,000 and a hotel room. A number of passengers jumped on the opportunity and disembarked, but it took around two hours before they could get their luggage off the plane.”
The source also claimed that the allegation that Haredim refused to sit in assigned seats is misleading because the overbooking caused a mix-up on where to sit. Yeshiva students on the plane wanted to sit with their friends and probably did not want to sit next to women, but this was no reason for the take-off to be delayed, they argued.
Several passengers who talked with Kikar Shabbat said they were prepared to go to court to defend the Haredim. “It appears that Delta goofed and decided to place all of the blame on Haredi Jews,” they asserted.
The company stated, “Delta Airlines flight 468 from New York, which was expected to land at Ben Gurion Airport at 14:35 pm, arrived an hour and a quarter late due to passengers who alighted from the plane before take-off. We had to delay the departure of the aircraft in order to locate their luggage and return it to them. “