Nov 25, 2018

more El Al Shabbos problems

While the saga continues from 9 days ago, Haredi passengers are upset once again with El Al as this weeks Thursday night flight that was due to land at 13:15 on Friday afternoon landed but without some of the luggage. Some Haredi passengers had to go home, or to wherever they are staying, and experience Shabbos without their Shabbos clothes and shtreimels.

It seems there was a technical fault that caused a delay with one of the machines loading luggage on to the airplane, and instead of delaying takeoff, they decided to just takeoff without that portion of the luggage and send it later on another flight.

During the week this would not be a problem at all - either they would slightly delay the flight, get the issue resolved, and then off to Israel, or they would send the luggage on the next flight. On the Thursday night flight they run into Shabbos problems, so they cannot easily delay the flight even for a tiny bit, risking landing on Shabbos.
source: Kol Hazman

It seems to me that the solution is to not take these Thursday night flights that risk chilul Shabbos with any slight delay. To avoid chilul shabbos with these flights, everything has to work like a Swiss clock, and how often does that happen? Can anyone really expect El Al, or any airline, to always have perfect weather, no technical problems, no backups on the runway or whatever else might cause a delay? Many rabbonim have repeatedly called similarly upon the public to not fly on these flights scheduled to land right before Shabbos.

I get that people want or need to maximize their trips, taking advantage of the entire possible weekday schedule for their fundraising or business or leisure and want to come back at the last possible moment - but that treats Shabbos so casually and disrespectfully compared to the importance they give to their other involvements.

The solution to all these problems is to NOT take these last minute flights. Take Shabbos into consideration and take a flight scheduled to leave earlier that day or the day before, or after Shabbos.

Nothing I said is meant to absolve El Al of the need to treat all their passengers, including the religious and Haredi passengers, with proper respect and appropriate service and to do everything in their power to run the flights on time and without difficulties. The reality, unfortunately, is that flights are often delayed a bit for many reasons out of the control of the operators.

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  1. I think everyone would agree that flying on a Friday is not ideal, but not everyone has the option of taking an earlier flight, sometime a last-minute trip is needed, or there is a simcha or work obligation that you cannot miss, or this is the only way you can work in the States and still spend Shabbat with your family.

    For people that need to travel on Friday, El Al is the best option as is is the only airline that takes Shabbat into account, as it did in this flight, and with the unscheduled landing in Athens last week. With any other airline, you would be stuck if there is a delay, and may need to forfeit your ticket and/or get stuck in an airport.

    1. obviously there are situations in which it cannot be avoided. Those should be the exceptions..

  2. Talking of flights landing close to Shabbat, I wondered why Kfar Chabad, which as the crow flies is only a few hundred meters from the terminal, doesn't open a small hotel or guest house near the terminal, and make arrangements with the airport to have a gate which can be opened to the airport compound in special circumstances.

    Alternatively, why is there no hotel within the airport grounds.

    That would mean in the case of a delayed flight that arrives extremely close to Shabbat, or even on shabbat (which happens periodically), passengers could have an option of spending Shabbat in Kfar Chabad instead of sleeping and eating in the airport terminal. It could also be an option for people to stay who have flights right after Shabbat, or in general want a place to stay near the airport.

    In many other parts of the world, there are hotels inside or within walking distance of the airport terminal.

    1. if I had to venture a guess I would suggest it is out of security concerns

  3. So the options were to experience Shabbat in chutz la'aretz with their Shabbat clothing, or in Erez Yisrael without (assuming they didn't have a second set at home, or couldn't borrow).

  4. I'm sorry, but when you put things in your luggage, you're taking the risk that they may not arrive at your destination at the same time you get there. Simple common sense - and not a new concern. I feel bad (it's happened to me, and it inconvenient), but it's not newsworthy.


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