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Kuwait Airways dropped NYC-London service, rather than sell tickets to Israelis.

Every once in awhile the bad guys suffer the consequences of their wrongdoing.

A very recent example is an airline which refused to allow Israelis to travel on its planes and ended up having to cancel its NYC to London flight because the ban violates U.S. anti-discrimination law.


A passenger with an Israeli passport was prevented from purchasing a Kuwait Airways ticket on a New York City to London flight in 2013. That passenger, Eldad Gatt, brought a discrimination claim against Kuwait Airways with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The Department found that the airline’s denial of service to Gatt was an act of discrimination in violation of U.S. law.

“It is our duty to ensure that the transportation system is free of discrimination. Period. I know how important protections against discrimination are, and our Department will stand firmly against it. Today, we are saying “no” to discrimination against Israeli citizens on flights between the U.S. and the U.K.,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Sept. 30. Any airline that wishes to operate in the U.S. should know that we will not tolerate discrimination of any kind in our skies,” Secretary Foxx continued.

The department informed the counsel for Kuwait Airways of its decision, informing the airway that it agreed to be bound by U.S. law when it sought its foreign air carrier permit from the United States.

On Oct 29, the Department ordered the Kuwaiti airline to end its discriminatory policy.

But the airline could not do so because of a Kuwaiti law which forbids its citizens from entering “into an agreement, personally or indirectly, with entities or persons residing in Israel, or with Israeli citizenship.”

So, rather than continue its presumably lucrative route flying passengers from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport to London’s Heathrow Airport, Kuwait Airways had to drop that service because of its country’s boycott of Israelis.

“Today, Kuwait Airways informed the U.S. DOT that they will be eliminating service between JFK and London Heathrow,” Namrata Kolachalam, a department spokesperson, said Tuesday, Dec. 16.

Perhaps passengers inconvenienced by this loss of service will petition Kuwait to drop its egregious ban.


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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: