El Al Attendant Attacked in Air

Passenger becomes enraged when instructed to store luggage in overhead bins, assaults stewardess.

A senior flight attendant on an El Al flight from Israel to the United Kingdom was attacked and beaten late last month by a passenger, who was arrested upon landing. Violence in flights to and from Israel and at customs at Ben-Gurion International Airport has been on the rise.

Last month's attack came as the plane was preparing to land at a London airport. The passengers had been asked to clear the aisles and store hand luggage overhead, but one passenger, in his 60s, refused. When the flight's service manager asked him to comply, he punched her several times. Other passengers and crew pulled them apart. After the flight landed, the attacker was arrested by the local police.

An El Al airplane in flight.

El Al commented that it "will not tolerate any kind of violence on its flights, and takes a very grave view of the matter. The company will work in strict accordance with Israeli law to put an end to that violence."

Last October, a tourist couple attacked a manager of an El Al subsidiary, Sun D'Or, after she told them they were late for their flight to Paris and would not be allowed to board. Soon afterward, a brawl broke out between another couple on an El Al flight to Israel, and a passenger rampaged on another flight.

In August, a customs worker was assaulted by a woman trying to smuggle in cigarettes and clothes.