Passengers Sue Following Airports Strike

Twenty passengers of an Israel-Turkey flight suing for damages over missing luggage

Twenty passengers of an Israel-Turkey flight have banded together to submit a cash compensation claim for damages they suffered due to the Ben-Gurion Airport workers' sanctions, which resulted in the failure to deliver their luggage.

This is the first compensation claim for damages incurred during the strike by Israel Airports Authority temporary workers. Although the strike took place at the airports, the plaintiffs are suing the Tel Aviv travel agency Holiday Lines. The complaint was submitted by Attorney Liat Rogel-Levy.

According to the complaint, Flight 432 took off on November 2 after a five-hour delay. The luggage later failed to arrive with the flight, "a fact that caused much frustration, an expense of food and beverages and a nerve-wracking wait. In addition, the delay caused my clients to miss their first day of vacation," reads the complaint.

When the plaintiffs landed at Antalya, they waited about an hour at the baggage claim terminal expecting to collect their luggage, only to be informed that it was left in Israel and that they must wait in a "long and exhausting line," according to the complaint, in order to report the "lost" luggage.

"Even the transportation from the airport to various hotels in Antalya was greatly delayed and disorganized in assigning the passengers to the correct buses, and all this after an endless 12-hour wait fraught with frustration and anger.

"My clients were being distributed among the hotels until 2 A.M., although the estimated arrival time had been 5:30 P.M." The passengers had to spend the next day purchasing provisions, such as toiletries, clothing, medicine and bathing suits, and so another day of their vacation passed by without a chance for recreation.

Among the plaintiffs is an ill man who requires medication for the treatment of arrhythmia (an irregular heart beat), and whose medicine was left with the luggage in Israel.

According to the complaint, this person was prevented from taking his medicine for four days, a fact that has physically injured him, an injury whose full extent may still be undetermined.

Emotional distress

The passengers' suitcases failed to arrive, and they had to collect them at the Ben-Gurion Airport after returning from Antalya.

According to the complaint, each one of the passengers demands a cash compensation of $800 for the undelivered luggage, NIS 3,000 for the emotional distress, NIS 1,000 for the loss of recreation and NIS 150 for food.

Holiday Lines' response: "The flight was delayed at the airport due to the airport workers' strike ... The company functions only as an agent between the passengers and the airline. The Warsaw Treaty deals with the relations between passengers and airlines. The passengers' luggage is under the airline's exclusive responsibility.

The responsibility for dealing with undelivered luggage lies not with Holiday Lines, but solely with the airline, to which the passengers must address their complaints.

"The transportation between the airport and the hotels is not done on an individual basis. It is carried out by a bus, which collects the passengers who arrive on the same flight and drops them off at their respective hotels.

Naturally such a ride takes time. We mention this in the general rules to the passengers; that the transportation is not a direct one, and hence the significantly low price."