duty free - Haaretz - July 12 2011
Duty Free Shopping Photo by Haaretz
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El Al no longer holds planes for passengers who arrive late to the boarding gate after being called over the airport's public address system.

According to the airline's new policy tardy passengers will not be allowed to board, and their luggage will be taken off the plane.

However, the carrier will arrange for such passengers to board a different flight.

El Al began enforcing the policy last month. Prior to that, passengers' luggage was only taken off a plane for security reasons.

Tardy passengers, it found, had been through security, checked in their luggage and gone through passport control. They were late to the gate because they were busy with last-minute duty-free shopping or were at the airport coffee shop.

"El Al views operational promptness as of the highest importance and invests great resources in keeping its flights on schedule. According to company policy, passengers who do not arrive at the gate on time will have their luggage removed and the flight will not be delayed," a statement from El Al said.

According to figures provided by the Israel Airports Authority, El Al flew some 354,300 passengers in June, an increase of 1.5 percent over last year's figures.