Q&A on Sunday's Strike by Israeli Airlines

Passengers at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Sunday will find themselves stranded by the strike kicked off by El Al, Israir and Arkia. Some key information on how to cope with the possible strike.

Passengers at Ben-Gurion International Airport  will find themselves stranded as a result of the strike launched by El Al, Israir and Arkia launched at 5 A.M Sunday.

If in doubt, phone the airline or check its website or the Israel Airports Authority website at www.iaa.gov.il. It has an English-language option in the upper left-hand corner.

The following are some key questions on the possible strike:

If there’s a strike, do I lose the money I paid for a flight that was canceled?

No. If a flight is canceled, you’re entitled to a full refund on the grounds that the airline has not provided the service that you purchased.

Since last August a law has been in effect in Israel on compensation for delayed flights. Does that mean I’ll get compensation if my flight is delayed because of a strike?

No. The new law makes an exception for such a circumstance. It says that no compensation need be paid if a flight is delayed due to circumstances beyond the airline’s control − and this includes strikes.

I’m supposed to fly on an Israeli airline to Berlin today. What are my chances of getting there?

You need to check with the airport or your airline to determine if the strike is going ahead. If the strike goes ahead, you won’t be able to fly out today on an Israeli carrier. You will receive a refund and, if you can’t defer your travel plans, you will have to try to find space on a foreign carrier. If you booked your original flight through a travel agent, you should contact the agent.

What about the hotel reservation that I made for tonight at my destination?

It depends on your hotel’s cancellation policy. If the reservation is no longer fully refundable at this time, as a general rule, the hotel isn’t required to vary its policy because of an airline strike, because it’s still ready to provide you with the room you reserved. Some hotels, however, are more flexible.

And you’re in luck if, as is the case at some hotels, reservations can be canceled up to a specific time, for example 6 P.M. local time, at the beginning of your planned stay.

If you bought your hotel stay as part of a package that included airfare and hotels, your luck may be better even if normally the hotel reservation is not subject to cancellation.

Ofer Vaknin