EL AL passengers have been receiving offers for vouchers worth 125% of the ticket price they paid and did not use because the company has suspended operations over the pandemic. The voucher is valid for purchasing tickets until the end of 2021 for flights that will run until the end of November 2022, as well as purchasing all EL AL products.
Customers who choose to receive a full refund instead of the voucher will also receive 30 frequent flyer points, a gesture meant to appease regular passengers, many of whom have been waiting for their money for more than half a year.
The new controlling shareholder in El Al, Eli Rosenberg, must comply with the requirements of Israeli law, according to which by October 1, the company must return to passengers about NIS 1 billion ($290 million) for flights that have been canceled in recent months.
October 1 is a date set by the Knesset Economics Committee after granting deferrals to the airlines, and committee chairman MK Yaakov Margi (Shas) has already announced that he will not allow further postponements.
The recently amended Aviation Act allows airlines to offer vouchers instead of refunds, but the choice of whether to accept them is up to the passengers. The amended law eliminates the payment of compensation in addition to the refund and stipulates that the refund will be given after 90 days and not after 21 days, as was the case before the amendments.
The Aviation Act also addresses cases where the vouchers would not be redeemed and stipulates that if a passenger does not redeem the voucher he received by the end of the redemption date, he will be entitled to a full refund, that is the amount they paid and not the increased value of the voucher. In such a case, the customer must contact the company and demand a refund.
Here are a few more Q&As for the benefit of our readers who have been sitting on their El Al tickets and are now searching for them all over the house (after 6 months in lockdown):
What if I canceled the ticket?
Customers who canceled their flight tickets on their own initiative during the period the company was grounded will be entitled to choose only the credit voucher alternative instead of a refund. Eligibility to select the credit voucher alternative will only be given to customers who have booked their flight by September 20, 2020.
What if the ticket was purchased as part of a group or through a travel agent?
Customers who have purchased airline tickets as part of a group of 10 or more passengers will not be eligible to choose the voucher alternative. These customers will be treated through the travel agent through whom the booking was made. Customers who have purchased a flight ticket from a travel agent (not as part of a group) can choose the credit voucher alternative through the interface on the EL AL website. If they want to get a refund, they must contact the travel agent through whom they made the purchase.
If I only used one direction on the ticket but the return flight was canceled, am I eligible for a refund?
The credit voucher alternative is not valid for customers who have used one or more sections of the card.
And what if it’s a bonus ticket which I purchased using my points?
Those who have purchased a “classic” bonus ticket will not be eligible to choose the credit voucher alternative and will only be eligible for a refund in the same way they made the purchase (either points only or points and a cash bonus).