EL AL Is Reportedly Refusing To Pay Compensation For Flight Delays

Unfortunately in most parts of the world there are limited government regulations when it comes to how airlines have to compensate passengers in the event of flight delays or cancelations. The EU is an exception, as they dictate the compensation that airlines owe passengers in the event of a flight delay (these rules are known as EU261). This can get costly pretty quickly, and the compensation is based on the distance you’re flying and how much you’re delayed.

For example, if your flight covers a distance of 3,500km and is delayed by four hours or more, you’re entitled to 600EUR cash compensation, which is a lot. Airlines are required to pay this if you ask, though they don’t have to pay this proactively. Rather you typically have to write the airline, and sometimes they make you jump through some hoops, but usually it works in the end.

As reported by GlobesEL AL Israel Airlines is outright ignoring EU261 regulations, and is refusing to pay passengers for flight delays, in direct contradiction of EU laws.


EL AL’s 787 business class

For a long time EL AL allegedly only followed EU laws for non-Israeli passengers, arguing that Israeli passengers were subjected to Israeli laws. In other words, if a flight was delayed by four or more hours, non-Israelis would be compensated, while Israelis wouldn’t be.

A year and a half ago a German court ruled that EL AL had to pay the proper compensation to Israeli passengers as well:

The change that Pais identifies stems from a case against El Al a year and a half ago, in which a German court ruled that it was liable to pay compensation to Israeli passengers for delays to flights that took off from Europe. The lawsuit was filed after El Al said that it would pay compensation under EU law only to EU passengers, thus discriminating against the Israeli passengers. At that time too El Al argued that relations with Israeli passengers were governed by Israeli law.

They apparently honored that court order for a while, but have now reversed course and gone to an even stricter policy. Now EL AL is apparently ignoring EU regulations altogether, and arguing that all passengers (both Israeli and non-Israeli) are subjected to Israeli laws:

In response letters to passenger demands that “Globes” has obtained, El Al’s changed approach is clear. So, for example, is response to an approach by Claim it over a delay to a flight by El Al subsidiary Sun d’Or from Ljubljana to Tel Aviv in June 2017, the company stated that it would pay compensation as required by EU law by means of a bank transfer.

This week, in response to a claim concerning a flight that took off from Rome on April 8, the company’s approach was somewhat different. It claimed that since the delay was less than eight hours, it was not liable to pay compensation, since it operated under Israeli law.

“The court ruling led to a change at El Al, which started to abide by EU law. In the past two weeks, however, the company has made a 180 degree turn and has decided to claim that EU law does not apply to it. This time round, El Al is not just discriminating against Israeli passengers, but depriving foreign passengers, who it claims are not entitled to compensation.”

This isn’t a gray area, or anything, but rather EL AL is very clearly violating EU laws with this. Presumably the airline isn’t about to stop flying to the EU, so I’m not sure how they think they’ll get away with this. My guess is that they’re just avoiding paying for now and hope people will give up and go away, and then they’ll comply again once they’re forced to by the courts.

I’ll be curious to see how this plays out, since I’m sure there will be plenty of court cases shortly regarding EL AL’s new “policy.”

Comments

  1. Corrected it for you:

    “Fortunately in most parts of the world there are limited government regulations when it comes to how airlines have to compensate passengers in the event of flight delays or cancellations.”

  2. Israel, like the US, has a long history of flouting international law, so why should they listen to the EU?

  3. It’s sad that a simple post about El Al customer service, or lack, thereof, has to bring out the obnoxious comments.

  4. That’s El Al for you. I know you recently flew them and tried to paint them in a nicer light than they deserve, but as an Israeli-Australian who flies in and (thankfully) out of TLV at least once a year, I absolutely refuse to fly with them for the past 15 years. They are the absolute worst, with their over the top racist profiling, Thesbian security theatre, decrepit old planes, pandering to misogynistic attitudes towards women on the planes, and complete and utter disregard to the passengers.

    Please stay well clear of this horrible company. When I book my trips to TLV I am willing to pay hundreds of dollars more if it means avoiding El Al – but thankfully their pricing is so terrible they are always one of the pricier options…!

  5. Israel should never have been considered any part of Europe anyway. Remove all benefits and treat them as any other non European nation with all the penalties associated. Sorted.

  6. @ Easy Fix — This has nothing to do with whether Israel is considered part of Europe or not. These regulations apply to airlines flying to the EU, regardless of where they’re based. US and Asian airlines would be subjected to the same rules.

  7. Israel is a great democracy with a top legal system and great respect to international law. These ignorant comments about israel is a reflection of general ignorance.

    Elal is a different story… a “shitty” corrupted company which many Israelis despise. I would avoid flying elal if you can. However
    I would highly recommend any of you to visit beautiful israel , it will change your life.
    Just don’t fly elal.

  8. @Amit:

    “Israel is a great democracy” – no, it is not. With millions of Palestinians living under Israel’s control and without basic democratic rights, Israel can not pretend to be a democracy.

    “…with a top legal system” – top, unless you are of a certain ethnic/national background, at which point you are referred to the military judges with a conviction rate of 99.7%.

    “…and great respect to international law” – so when is UN resolutions 194, 242 and 338 being implemented? when is the wall being torn down as per the decision of the Hague international court? etc etc.

    “These ignorant comments about israel is a reflection of general ignorance” – mate, I’m born and raised in Israel, lived there most of my life and still visit my family and friends there regularly. These BS claims just don’t fly with me (pun intended). Israel really do have a systemic problem of ignoring International law, and having absolutely backwards attitude to customers/ passengers.

    It is telling though that even the most ardent, blind supporters of Israel despise the flag-carrier. It really is THAT bad of an airline.

  9. Typical middle easterners think they rule the world lol. Hence why I avoid that shit hole region

  10. @amit Israel is a top democracy? Only because a right wing nutcase is taking away all freedoms. Sounds like India.

  11. Some people do live in an island of ignorance regarding israel. For whatever interest , they will persist Attacking the only democracy in that part of the world , a country that is a flegship of innovation and civil rights.

    These people will kidnapp every talkback with antisimetic agenda. .. Same as been done here by same few..

    Elal is a completely private company and should be differed from a discussion in regards to israel.

    The fact that some of you connected both into an opportunity to attack israel is very sad .

    Attack elal = ok.

  12. Some people do live in an island of ignorance regarding israel. For whatever interest , they will persist Attacking the only democracy in that part of the world , a country that is a flegship of innovation and civil rights.

    These people will kidnapp every talkback with antisimetic agenda. .. Same as been done here by same few..

    Elal is a completely private company and should be differed from a discussion in regards to israel.

    The fact that some of you connected both into an opportunity to attack israel is very sad .

  13. I really hope someone who is owed 600EUR gets a judgement to seize and El Al plane until they are paid. That would be great. A law firm could get dozens of clients and do this day after day with each one or seize all of El Al’s planes in Europe on a single day.

  14. There is an Israeli regulation – the Aviation Service Law 5772-2012 that mirrors eu261 in most respects apart from delays where compensation is due only after 8 hours

    Eu261 would only apply for departures ex EU.

    To claim Israeli passengers are not covered by EU law is the same as EU citizens saying Israeli law doesn’t apply to them whilst in Israel

  15. @ lucky you are incorrect

    Eu261 only applies to Eu Carriers flying to the EU

    It does *not* apply to el al on flights from Tel Aviv to the EU. The Israeli ASL would prevail. Eu 261 applies to all carriers from the EU

    You cannot claim eu261 on el al from Tel Aviv to London , emirates from Dubai to Frankfurt , United from Houston to London

  16. It’s obvious that Israeli haters and antisemitic bigots take any opportunity to bash Israel,even and it has to do with a private company in Israel.
    If you are looking for a real democracy that respect gay rights,women rights,animal rights,minorities rights,Isreal is your answer.But since you are full of hate ,you bash the country.Before you critizes Isreal about the ‘Palestinian’ a fictious nation that was created by UNRAW and other Israel haters to bash it on daily basis.After you check their staus in Lebanon,Syria,Jordan or Egypt,come and tell us who is and who is not a democracy.Keep it Aviation,you anti Isreal readers.I flew hundreds of times with European carriers that were 100 times worse than ELAl,but I did not conclude their country of origin to be the same.Only their employees.

  17. Indeed @Icarus is right.

    For nonEU carriers, compensation is only payable on their flights LEAVING the EU. All flights to the EU, except on EU carriers get no compensation

  18. Totally agree with Amit on every point.
    Don’t fly El Al
    Don’t use this as an excuse to bash Israel, this is not the proper forum for it. Even if you’re not antisemitic, you sound like one.

  19. @Icarus
    Correct! EU261 applies to EU carriers on all routes, and non-EU carrier departing from the EU.

  20. @AMIT yeah great democracy when it comes to the chosen people of GOD.
    With Trump at white house EL AL like Israel will get away with violating any international law;BAN EL AL simple.

  21. Someone should have some fun. Sue, get a judgement, put a lien on one of their airplanes. I seem to remember someone did that here in the US and they were paid whatever the court had ordered pretty quickly.

  22. Germany is not reluctant to seize planes to satisfy debts; it confiscated a 737 being used by the Thai Crown Prince ( now King) a few years ago ( over a debt for construction work at DMK).
    Probably more reluctant over a few hundred €s, and particularly involving Israel , in the context of vergangenheitsbewaltigung.

  23. They don’t care about human rights, why would they care about some European regulations?

  24. @John @Bob, no Israel doesn’t violate international law. Israel doesn’t agree with political opinions from around the world concerning the legitimacy of Israeli civilian presence in the West Bank. Please note the difference between being illegal, and being considered politically undesired. Otherwise point to the law that you claim Israel is violating.

    @LongWayAround Which democratic rights do Palestinians lack exactly? Those Palestinians with Israeli citizenship have exactly the same rights as Jewish Israeli citizens. The Palestinians living in the West Bank under PLO control have been given, just as they wanted, a significant level of autonomy. They have their own elections, their own parliament, which decides on their own laws, which they implement themselves. They basically almost have their own country in the areas which the PLO governs, with the exception of the times at which PLO’s Palestinians resort to initiating violence against innocent Israelis and the PLO is unable or unwilling to deal with this security threat, only then does Israel come in and deal with the security issue.

    As to the issue of military courts vs civilian courts, this has nothing to do with your ethnic background, but with the fact wether or not you are a citizen of Israel. I remind you that the Palestinians themselves wished to gain a high level of autonomy with possible future independence. Of course you fall under military law if you then come in and engange in war acts against Israel (using terrorist methodology instead of “conventional” war methods doesn’t change anything).

    As to the UN resolutions, they are NOT law. They are the political opinions of the majority of the UN member states.

  25. Well, Swiss (LX) does the same and has refused cash compensations for delays for quite a while. They just offer the in kind part (e.g. food or accomodation). I think it’s even worse than the ElAl (LY) case, because the Swiss government unlike israel has ratified EU261 … but no consequences whatsoever for LX, which is sort of a “holy cow” in Switzerland.

    So those expecting consequences for LY will most certainly get disappointed.

  26. It doesn’t surprise me. Iberia Regional doesn’t pay the flight delay compensations doesn’t matter from where you are. I had 2 flights delayed more than 6hrs each las year, and after trying to solve it with them I ended with AESA (the Spanish Comercial Airlines Agency) and the company didn’t follow their rule, so we ended in court. Now is not anymore about the compensation itself, it more to try to make the things right so other in the future can (hopefully) get their compensations on a reasonable time.

  27. @ Andy

    The courts in each EU country will hear cases for their jurisdictions. The courts in some EU/EFTA countries are more assertive than others when it comes to passenger rights.

    Despite spending God knows how much, Ryanair couldn’t persuade the English courts to shift by a penny in their judgments in favour of passenger rights under EU261. I don’t think ELAL has a hope in Hell’s chance of winning in the English courts.

  28. @Andy LX is accepting EU261 (i.e. in case of cancellation or IDB they’ll still pay compensation), but not ECJ rulings that clarify it.

  29. Amit says: “I would highly recommend any of you to visit beautiful israel , it will change your life”

    Does that apply to Palestinians seeking to return, too?

  30. @ sinc: who are the “Palestinians” and where is “Palestine”? I looked on a map and couldn’t find it.

  31. While I appreciate the commentaries I can help but wonder which other countries set an example of human rights respect? Syria? Saudi Arabia? Iran? Just wondering..

  32. @joshg – yes years of wasted American tax payers money propping up Israeli military occupations have made sure there is no Palestine on the map.

    Ben – why would you make a post about Israel – you had to know that any discussion regarding this would not end well.

  33. Please note that I don’t at all hold the opinion that Israel has no right to exist, but I thought I could add a little historical perspective. This morning I happened to be reading a New Yorker article about a revisionist Israeli historian. It contained this extract:

    “Morris described how and why sixty per cent of the Palestinians were uprooted and their society destroyed. It was a far more complex picture than many Israelis were prepared to accept. The book features a map that shows three hundred and eighty-nine Arab villages, from upper Galilee to the Negev Desert. Morris revealed that in forty-nine of these villages the indigenous Arabs were expelled by the Haganah and other Jewish military forces; in sixty-two villages, the Arabs fled out of fear, having heard rumors of attacks and even massacres…”

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2008/05/05/blood-and-sand-books-david-remnick

  34. @Lucky: Forgive me if you’ve already covered this before, but I think a post covering how to request EU/261 compensation could be very helpful. Especially since lots of people will start their summer travels soon. Thanks.

    P.S. If you have covered this before, in which post was that?

  35. Quick question . Does EU261 apply in Turkey. I seem to have read that Turkey had voluntaily joined the regime but last year when we had rolling cancellations and a 5 hour delay in IST , AZAL provided no compensation

  36. Germany is willing to ban Kuwait Airways if they do not accept Israeli pax on board…so would Germay ban El Al for not respecting the EU law and therefore underming pax rights??

    And pls leave the Israeli-Palestinian conflict aside..we are talking about El Al and how it should uphold and imply EU laws and compensation to pax..

    Oh Lucky, second time around in letting others misuse your blog as a platform in talking about ignorance and hatred…you should know it is not all about getting blog traffic and therefore earning money..sometimes it is about knowing and moderating the topics you throw in the ring..

    Padawan,you to learn need more!

  37. @prabuddah gosh. Turkey is not in the EU
    The regulation only applies on flights from the EU to Turkey Of course it depends why the flight was delayed Too many people just look to eu261 as a money grabbing scheme even if the delay had no effect on them
    Hopefully other forms of transport are similarly regulated as train companies couldn’t care less of you were delayed even if it was for a few hours

  38. within the EU, several companies have made a business out of suing airlines for a share of the compensation, e.g. flightright.com.

    Actually, courts do grant orders to get the money. See the following story (unfortunately in German, so please use Google Translate or similar), where a court agreed to a debt collector claiming an entire plane from Condor to secure the 600€ for his client – which according to the court of Linz (Austria) was ok and made Condor pay the 600€ VERY quickly: https://www.advopedia.de/news/kurios/beschlagnahme-eines-condor-jets-wegen-600-euro

  39. One of these days, an Israeli ambassador will refer to Taiwan as a country, and a PRC ambassador will retaliate by referring to Palestinians as people. Then the internet will explode as each nation’s troll swarm attacks the other’s in a duel to the death.

    Good riddance to bad rubbish. We can only dream.

  40. After reading the comments, it’s clear that almost everyone bashing either Israel or Palestine have no true knowledge of the complexity of the situation, or of international law in general. Several of the comments are incredibly biased with no basis in fact, but rather in hearsay and dogma. But, some people are idiots. You can’t fix stupid, unfortunately. Why do some insist on hating Israelis or Palestinians on a TRAVEL blog, rather than sticking to the topic, which just so happens to involve an Israeli airline? Someone mentioned “popcorn.” Stupidity is great entertainment, I agree.

  41. Hilarious there are people who have convinced themselves Israel doesn’t break international law!

    But when you allow a country such impunity to break international law in other more serious areas (*ahem land theft*), this shouldn’t surprise anyone at all when they do this in area like this…

  42. (Also those people equating valid criticism of Israel to anti-Semitism, you are an insult to memories of the holocaust and those survivors)

  43. @John – you sound very much like a antisemite and PRO-BDS

    Ate you really that uneducated?

  44. Yeesh, enough with the silly incorrect statement that anti-Zionism = Antisemitism. Also, the BDS movement isn’t a form of Antisemitism either.

    “Those Palestinians with Israeli citizenship have exactly the same rights as Jewish Israeli citizens”

    In theory and on paper, sure. In practice? Eh, not so much.

    “Palestinians living in the West Bank under PLO control have been given, just as they wanted, a significant level of autonomy. They have their own elections, their own parliament, which decides on their own laws, which they implement themselves. They basically almost have their own country in the areas which the PLO governs”

    Except the parts of the West Bank featuring Israeli settlements, checkpoint, certain roads, etc. So, better to say a most extremely limited level of autonomy?

    “Does that apply to Palestinians seeking to return, too?”

    If only they could, but not in this lifetime, sadly.

    “This isn’t a gray area, or anything, but rather EL AL is very clearly violating EU laws with this. Presumably the airline isn’t about to stop flying to the EU, so I’m not sure how they think they’ll get away with this.”

    So what can the EU do to enforce/make sure El Al follows EU law?

  45. I don’t think this is too surprising, and its mostly surprising that people find this surprising. This policy is pretty common around the world, including with US airlines. For example, Brazil also has very strong passenger protection laws, but airlines (US, European, ME3, and Brazilian alike) only compensate Brazilian passengers, even for flights delayed within Brazil.

    Moreover, the vast majority of airlines will not pay statutory compensation of any sort, absent a judgment from a court. That’s why the above is really a non-story. If El Al refused to pay court ordered judgments — and there is no suggestion that is their policy — that would be more interesting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *