An El Al contractor earlier this week made a mistake, opening up the ability to book flights from the USA to Israel for prices roughly 60-80% lower than the average regular fares. Once the hole was plugged there was some apprehension regarding the mistake and whether the carrier would try to get out of it. Given the recent rules changes by the US Department of Transportation it seemed unlikely that they would actually get away with cancelling the tickets but the concern was still there, in part because the carrier publicly stated that they were trying to figure out what to do.
On August 9th they released a statement indicating that they would be honoring the tickets.
The carrier has also indicated that they will allow passengers to switch from the booked connecting itineraries on partners to non-stop flights on El Al metal. This change will cost $75 per ticket and a decision on that must be made this month by calling in.
The opportunity to switch to the El Al flight is a smart move from the airline, allowing them to control their costs a bit, assuming anyone switches. Flying some of the 5000-ish folks who got these tickets on their own metal will reduce the costs for carrying them versus paying out to the partner airlines. And nonstop flights are usually more convenient for the passengers. That said, depending on which version of the debate in the Orthodox Jewish community you listen to, taking part in this deal is only kosher if you aren’t flying on El Al so maybe that won’t work out. There’s also a question of how that works when flying on partners even when the El Al is actually getting more screwed than not when the partner flights are involved.
Also, for folks looking at earning points with the flights which are useful, I’d say that flying on El Al is likely to not be the best approach. Unless for some reason you’re often flying on El Al anyways.
As for the deal being honored, no real surprise there. Good for consumers that they are being honored and given the option to change or cancel should they want to.
- Is there such a thing as too much consumer protection?
- An about face on a mistake fare
- What is the real impact of 49 CFR 41712 § 399.88(a) for travelers?
- New consumer protections on offer from the DoT
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