United Airlines Cites Nonexistent ‘Curfew’ in Flight Delay to Israel

United Airlines employees at Newark had initially said that ‘the pilots are refusing’ to fly to Israel, but later explained the 24-hour delay was based on a supposed curfew over Gaza fighting

Jonathan Shamir
Jonathan Shamir
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A United Airlines 787 Dreamliner prepares to land.
A United Airlines 787 Dreamliner prepares to land.Credit: REUTERS
Jonathan Shamir
Jonathan Shamir

United Airlines justified a day-long delay of a Saturday flight from Newark, New Jersey to Tel Aviv based on a nonexistent curfew that Israel had imposed in light of the escalating situation with the Gaza Strip.

The cabin crew from the U.S. aviation giant had initially informed passengers that “the pilots are refusing to take the flight at this time,” as shown in a video taken by passenger Gil Eyal.

However, United told Eyal in a correspondence over Twitter that the cancellation of “the flight was due to a curfew in TLV and security concerns

Israel had rerouted outgoing flight traffic from Ben-Gurion International Airport to the north in light of the rockets and imposed special restrictions on residents of the Gaza border towns, but no such curfew has been declared, despite the barrage of rockets from the Gaza Strip.

The airline told Haaretz that “United flight 84 from New York/Newark (EWR) to Tel Aviv (TLV) on August 6 was rescheduled and departed the morning of Sunday, August 7. Customers were provided hotel reimbursement and meal vouchers for the inconvenience,” saying that the flight was pushed back due to a “maintenance delay.”

Last year, during the military conflict between Israel and Hamas, several major European and American airlines cancelled flights to Tel Aviv due to the security situation. During the fighting in May 2021, more than 1,300 rockets were fired at central Israel, where the country’s main international airport is located.

In contrast, during the current operation taking place in the Gaza Strip, only a few rockets fired by Islamic Jihad militants have managed to bypass the Iron Dome defense system and hit their targets in central Israel.

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