El Al’s Cacophony of “Musical Chairs,” Women Can’t Be Moved!

El Al’s Cacophony of “Musical Chairs,” Women Can’t Be Moved!

Just under a year ago, when I rushed to New York from Israel to attend my brother’s funeral, I was given a “sympathy upgrade” from Economy to First Class. But before I got my seat belt buckled a man sat down in the nearby seat and complained to the flight attendant.
Now, you should know that El Al’s First Class offers a lot of privacy, and the seats are pretty much separated from each other.  But as it was explained to me, the man had bought his ticket with a promise that no woman would be next to him. So I was moved a row back to Business Class, which had the same sort of seat that fully opened to a bed but was closer to the other seats. There may have been other differences in terms of service, but for me Business Class was very luxurious, and I hadn’t paid the exorbitant price. And since this was a free upgrade dependant on availability, as a special favor, I didn’t complain.
My situation was totally different from the woman who sued El Al. She had paid for her Business Class seat, and the attendants should have told the man who demanded that she be moved that he would be moved. That would have made sense!
Instead, she sued them, and now men can’t demand that women lose their seats.
If El Al would have made their policy to downgrade men who complained, then the men would have stopped making these demands a long time ago!


    1. paulas

      Well, when my husband’s father died and we went rushing to the airport, not only did they not tell us about any “bereavement bump up” – they told me we’d have to pay full price PLUS another $120 because we hadn’t given them 24 hours notice in booking the ticket. I walked away from the cashier in utter disgust; my friend managed to get them to cancel that additional cost. I love El Al, but there is a part of me that will never forgive them for increasing our suffering…especially since his mother had died just 12 days before.

    2. El Al doesn’t volunteer the information. The agent I used for getting to my mother’s funeral didn’t ask or couldn’t get it, but then I used a different one when my father died.
      And of course it depends on availability. To get to my mother’s funeral I sat in the back row of Economy by the WCs, but at least no one could grab my head and shake my seat as they tried to stand, which has happened too many other times.

  1. Esther Revivo

    I would like to see the glass half full and for a moment ignore your main point which is 100% spot on. (Why should women be moved????) When on my way to my Dad’s funeral, suffering from a painful infection I asked to be seated somewhere with legroom. I was thrilled and very moved to be upgraded to business class. I got much needed sleep as I NEVER sleep in economy class. I will be forever grateful for El Al’s thoughtfulness in upgrading me. I doubt that other national airlines have such a kind policy for those on their way to funerals of loved ones.

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