A religious airline

The Israeli carrier EL AL is a religious company because passengers are subject to religious rules. The airline doesn’t operate on the Jewish Shabbat and religious holidays (Friday night and Saturday). Women and men don’t have equal rights onboard as the carrier favors male passengers. There have been many incidents with ultra-Orthodox male passengers refusing to sit next to women. Such incidents may result in delays. That is why many passengers interpret El Al as the acronym for Every Landing Always Late.

Apartheid at El Al

Flight attendants facilitate this kind of apartheid. They do so not by offering the male passenger another seat. Rather, they ask the female passenger to take another El Al flight attendantseat because the ultra-orthodox male passenger doesn’t want her to be seated next to him. Interestingly, one of those female passengers went to court in 2017 and won her case.

No refunds

El Al’s customer service is not particularly customer friendly. Due to the coronavirus the carrier had recently to cancel a large number of flights. Many customers try to contact customer service, but to no avail. They are unable to contact any of the airlines' customer service agents and are still waiting for a total of $295 million (€250 million) in refunds.

No non-kosher meals

The carrier does not facilitate passengers with another religion. Passengers only have a choice between a kosher meal and no meal. Non-kosher in-flight meals are simply not served, again stressing that EL Al is a religious airline.

Outside investor

Eli Rozenberg has a controling stake in El Al

Eli Rozenberg

Formally, Eli Rozenberg is El Al’s main owner. When he wants to buy the carrier, El Al dismisses his bid. However, as other investors drop out, El Al decides to issue shares. Rozenberg spends $106 million (€90 million) to acquire a controlling stake of 42.9%. El Al isn’t happy, as in reality Eli’s father, Kenny Rozenberg, is the stake holder. But he is not eligible as he doesn’t hold Israeli citizenship. This is necessary to get permission from the Israeli government to buy a controlling stake.


It seems questionable whether Rozenberg will be able to turn the carrierl into a profitable airline. He has no experience in the airline industry, while the pilots have a lot of power. They can bring El Al to a standstill if they are dissatisfied.

Related: Why is airlines’ customer service poor?

Tags: El Al, apartheid, refunds, poor customer service

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