Moti Milrod
Your time is now worth money. Photo by Your time is now worth money.
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The next time your flight out of Israel is delayed, you may be able to get something for it, other than aggravation.

The Knesset has approved a law that will require airlines to compensate travelers whose flights are significantly delayed or cancelled.

The law will entitle passengers to different benefits, depending upon the length of their delay. These include food and drink, two telephone calls and a fax or cell phone text message. If the delay involves an overnight wait, airlines must provide hotel accommodations and transportation to and from the hotel.

In the event of a flight cancellation, travelers will be entitled to their money back and additional compensation, depending on the passenger’s intended destination. ‏(The further the destination, the greater the amount the traveler will receive‏).

However, passengers will not be entitled to compensation if their flight is cancelled because of a delay that would have resulted in the flight operating on Shabbat. ‏(The provision is particularly relevant to El Al, which does not fly on Shabbat or the Jewish holy days.‏)

Airlines who do not provide the required compensation will be subject to paying exemplary damages of up to NIS 10,000. The legislation, which was sponsored by MK Ahmed Tibi ‏(United Arab List-Ta’al‏), is set to come into force on August 16.

A representative of one Israeli airline, who asked not to be identified, complained about the financial cost the airline will have to bear, as a result of the law. “Delays are inherent to the aviation industry,” he said. Nonetheless he said his company would respect the law. For its part, El Al also said it is making preparations to implement the law.