Whither El Al?

24 Heshvan, 5777 Hanoch Ne’eman, Jerusalem, Israel

When one flies El Al, as I often do, you hear their slogan “El Al: It’s not just an airline, it’s Israel”. 

Well, I think that is recently been shown to be somewhat true, in the negative sense that the airline’s management is showing the stupid attitudes which afflict a lot of the Israeli corporate world.

I am worried about the airline. They have nice staff for the flights, but something is sorely amiss in the boardroom. I have loyally flown them for the past 20 years, but my most recent flight, which I just booked, was on another airline. The current management is incompetent and foolish. They are doing everything to squeeze more money out of customers, and are unable to keep their pilots happy enough to show up for all their flights.

When I went to check on tickets for my upcoming trip, the website said that they “sincerely apologize from the bottom of our hearts” for recent flight disruptions. Well, I am sorry to say that I don’t believe the bottom of their hearts are a very deep place, and any Airline CEO who says, as the current one has, that they will fight the pilots “to the bitter end”, besides being a fool, is unfortunately going to likely achieve that; the end of his airline in its current configuration. He is going to run a good airline into the ground, excuse the expression.

Moreover, one of the pilots’ main complaints is fully justified. El Al has been severely overbooking flights, and then bumping people to other airlines. When I fly El Al, it is because I want to fly EL AL. I am paying more for the things EL AL has and others do not. Serially over-booking to insure full flights is a deception to customers. When I flew in for my Uncle’s funeral at the end of the summer, the flight was so overbooked that they did not even assign me a seat when I bought it or checked in. In the end, there were passengers sitting in the flight attendants’ seats, and the flight attendants were standing up. I was there.

What a contrast to a well run airline like Southwest, which I fly between states when I am visiting America.

Let us pray the owners of El Al wake up and smell the galley coffee before it is too late. Amen.

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