El Al Israel Airlines is selling seats on regular flights to several destinations, even though the service on those routes is due to be replaced by the airline's new low-cost carrier.
From March 30 next year, El Al flights to Berlin, Kiev, Prague, Budapest and Larnaca are due to be replaced with flights by the company's new low-cost division, UP Airlines, which El Al announced last week. UP will be offering one-way fares for as low as $69 each way.
But UP’s tickets haven't gone on sale yet - and, until they do, El Al is selling seats to those destinations on regular El Al flights.
Ehud Peleg, CEO of the Israel Consumer Council, contacted El Al CEO Eliezer Shkedy on Monday to express concern that the carrier appeared to be selling seats on flights that will not exist on the date of travel. In addition, El Al is a full-service carrier, while passengers traveling on the cheapest UP Airlines fares will pay extra for services such as food and baggage checking.
In response to the consumer council’s enquiry, El Al issued a statement saying that it will ensure that those who have purchased tickets to destinations that its UP division will be flying will be offered reservations on UP flights. Customers not interested in such an option, will be able to cancel their existing reservations for a full refund, the airline added.
The consumer council said the law requires that anyone offering a product or service must be able to deliver it on the terms advertised. It appeared that El Al has been selling seats wuthour fully disclosing the terms.