The Matzav Shmoooze: Why I Never Give Up On El Al

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Dear Editor,

As an Ultra Orthodox woman, I feel the need to voice my opinion, one which might seem unpopular right now.

Ive learnt in life that the most beautiful path for me is one with extra precautions and religious adherence ;Lifnim meshuras Hadin.. That is why I guess I fall into the category of being chareidi. That identity puts me into a constant mode of responsibility and vigilance towards anything I hear, see , smell or taste. But as as someone who loves people and doesnt want to burden those around me; whether its shlepping up my carriage alone or trying not to waste time in traffic while others wait behind me… I am also fully aware that my religious precautions and burdens are solely on me.

We all have different standards of living and noone likes to be made to feel less or uncared about because of others needs…especially when its religious. That being said, I have never and should never take for granted that an airline who serves a nation and many races cannot possibly always be perfect at accomodatimg all my religious needs but I appreciate how they try. I appreciate how they try to kindly and subtly ask the male passenger next to me if hed like to switch seats for me.. I know its not regular protocal but I realize the staff wants to please me. I know that having 10 plus men crouching into one wing of an airplane can be bothersome for most and I realized we were given permission because the staff and airline want to please..

I have seen myself suddenly get an empty seat next to me because myself suddenly get an empty seat next to me because I didnt have a bassinette for my baby; I understand that was an extra service. I DO NOT EXPECT ALL THIS but I appreciate it immensely!!!!

I understand that my personal religious adherences are noone elses problem or burden besides for mine. I chose to keep them, I chose the merit and therefor choose the inconveniences. I take extra steps not to be in the way of those that dont understand. I make up for it with a smile and a good word. I try to lend a caring hand. Every time I do something extra for godsake I make sure to do it in a way that it doesnt infringe on others comforts.

That is why I will NEVER give up ELAL.

My safety is more important than anything else. Yes, when I sat business I was treated like a princess and when Im in economy I dont feel better than a chicken in his cage on an overloaded truck. But Id still be sitting on this airline knowing that most bare (regardless of their religious standards); a Jewish soul. My mom lost a suitcase with $5000 worth of clothes on UNITED two years ago. After showing them every receipt they still only sent her an $1800 check…. I got bitten on both Delta and United by bed bugs too.. Im prone to it.

On an Elal flight: I lost my diamond earring almost a ct big , an hr later the Elal maintenance crew returned it to me. ..My mom left $14000 on the flight only to remind herself a day later in jerusalem… in less than a day after that, she had it in her hands… THATS ELAL!!!! Complainers will be complainers… be complainers… I have this to tell all those chareidi people complaining: As Ive mentioned here; if you are choosing chumra in your life , you should choose to do it in a way where it will work for you and only u are affected…

WHY DO YOU PLAN A FLIGHT OUT OF NY TO TEL AVIV SO LATE ON THURSDAY when great chances are especially during a snowstorm that it will be delayed???????? Shouldnt you be the one to plan and manage your life Lifnim Meshuras Hadin? You live your life that way dont you? You made a bad decision by flying during a snowstorm and on thursday evening which had more chances to be mechalel shabbos than not and you are blaming others? Yes, Elal made some mistakes but a big part of the burden of this mishap and this story sits on you. If you are going to live your life with chumra; then decisions like these will be of utmost importance… Especially if youre considered a Rabbi. dont try to block your guilt by blaming others…. I would like to personally thank ELAL for their great service all these years!!!I will continue flying Elal.

In the name of many chareidim like me: THANK YOU ELAL!!!!

M. Luria

23 COMMENTS

  1. I guess you are doing something ElAl was not prepared to do. Dan Bekaf Zehus. There are two things they did that I can’t forgive them for.

    One was their barefaced unashamed lying and the other was covering up by blackening the name of charedim in the secular press. The negative response by chilonim and non Jews all over the place, is irreparable.

    So for the forseesable future I won’t be flying
    El Al.

    By the way barring an emergency I don’t travel on Erev Shabbos even from Brooklyn to Lakewood or other nearby localities.

  2. I do not fly as often as you do so who am I to take sides. However, when I flew EL AL a number of times during the last few years, they were very accommodating to the minyanim that are clearly annoying to non shommer shabbos people. In fact, one of the stewardesses who was not frum asked us to daven for her to get her ZIVUG which we gladly did. After reading all the comments back and forth regarding last week’s trip, EL AL was clearly at fault for not informing the passengers what was going on. They could have avoided this fiasco but so to, the frum travelers. They were playing with fire by trying to get out of town during a snowstorm on a Thursday night. The blame game will subside eventually until the next time.

  3. Mrs Luria,
    If you feel that you should go ELAL by all means. However they are the rudest airline to religious Jewish people. Maybe because you are a female they are not as rude to you. I would also suggest do not fly on Thursday anytime as they are not ready to accomodate your religious beliefs should a situation arise.

  4. This is a beautiful letter and a great perspective from a different view. And the truth is that a soft approach causes anger to subside; if we want ElAl to hear us and not be resentful, we would do well by showing them this letter and telling them that while upset, we are very appreciative.

  5. Your hakoras hatov to the El Al flight crews and other El Al personnel is appropriate and commendable. I too chimed in, defending their treatment of frum people and their accommodating us in a story a couple of weeks ago.

    Unfortunately, in the latest incident, their conduct was indefensible. Lying to the passengers, refusing to allow them to disembark, falsely claiming the frum passengers physically attacked the flight crew – this behavior is abhorrent, disgusting and inexcusable. I was dismayed when reading this story and hoped it was a fabrication by a few disgruntled passengers, but it seems that isn’t the case.

    The actions of the El Al crew were very different from anything I ever encountered. Hopefully it was a one-off incident that will never be repeated.

  6. Please explain why at 8:30 people STARTED boarding a flight seeing a snow storm (which caused the crew to come late)which was delaying virtually All other flights at jfk
    Even if theoretically the plane could have taken off pretty quickly they still would be airborne for 10 hrs 25 minutes and wouldn’t land till well after 3
    They still would have to exit the lod airport …. and get to wherever they were going well after the zeman
    Why don’t we just face up to our foolish mistakes and thank El al for stopping and accommodating us in Athens when they could have made excuses to continue on to Ben gurion

  7. Dear M. Luria,

    While I appreciate your explanation of why you think El Al does not deserve the blame here, your letter does not address a few things nor explain why El Al is in the right. The suit filed against El Al is very direct in the following:

    1) El Al’s pilot lied to the passengers when they requested to deplane due to the delay. The delay was caused by the weather and by the pilots arriving late to the plane.

    2) The media / El Al led everyone to believe that the delay was caused in part by the Chareidim causing a ruckus and chaos on the plane in order to get them to turn around. That is unacceptable!!

    You improperly blame the passengers for taking a flight on Thursday evening scheduled to land early Friday morning with plenty of time until shabbos. While I personally would not risk doing such a thing, I would not blame people for booking such a flight. I think the passengers acted properly when they realized the delay CAUSED BY THE WEATHER IN NY (which every forecaster got wrong and underestimated the severity!).

    It is time that El Al should be taken to task for blaming the passengers, Lying to them, not providing properly in Athens etc. I am glad you and your mother had positive experiences with El Al but that does not negate what is at hand HERE AND NOW.

  8. I must say that I always felt the same way you did. i never felt that the flight attendants gave me attitude. I treated them with respect and dignity, and they did the same. My issue has become, however, that ELAL does a LOUSY job of maintaining their fleet of planes. (broken seats, broken tray tables, video screens). Also, after last year’s disaster with the strike, I had enough. And finally, I get fed up with them pandering to SOME demanding chareidim that insist that a plane ticket ENTITLES them to sit next to the people of their choosing. I have found that ELAL is taking us for granted and not providing 21st century service,accomodations and equiptment. Having said that, if they improve, I’d be the first one back.

  9. To mo…
    There was a young niftar on that plane… That explains why some people were traveling to E.Y.
    We never know what is going on in other people’s lives.

    • Trust me.. noone is meant the young niftars livuyim when putting blame on taking a flight out so late and under these conditions..

  10. Could not DISAGREE more!!!!

    Elal is rude in general – let alone to “chareidim”.

    I’ve been asked to switch seats so a boyfriend and girlfriend CAN sit near each other – no one has a problem with that.

    I’ve seen a 99% religious flight, get permission from all the surrounding passengers, as well as the crew , to daven, only to have a female crew member intentionally push thru the men- in middle of shmoneh esrei!!

    The whole security thing is way overrated. BH ( Halevai viter) no other airline has had any hijackings to ISRAEL IN 40 yrs.

    Ps. The recent incident is not the only time ELAL lied about charreidim. This past year they also LIED that a flight was delayed because a man didn’t want to sit near a woman. LIE

  11. My first experience with El Al was many decades ago.
    We boarded late at night. Shortly after boarding they served a meal. After being skipped when the meals were given out I asked the stewardess for my kosher meal. She replied that they ran out of kosher meals. SO I turned over and took a nap. Upon awakening I had a chance to ask a steward about my meal and he seem surprised. He promptly went to the galley and brought me my “non-existing” meal.
    Great first impression!

  12. Do other airlines accommodate shemiras shabbos more the El Al?????????

    Please let me know which airline that is????

    Am i missing something??????????

    • Trust me.. it’s all talk. As a frequent flyer to and from israel.. All these people will fly Delta or United maybe a few times and come running back to ELAL. They’re not perfect but they are the best there is from Israel and back.

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