El Al Passengers Were Stranded in Moscow for Two Days

El Al says an unfortunate series of events, bad weather conditions, and a technical problem prevented the flight from leaving on time.

Dozens of El Al passengers were left stranded in Moscow for two days after their flight was delayed and then canceled on Tuesday.

Passengers told the Russian media that they received conflicting information about the reason for the cancellation and the amended time of departure, while El Al said that an unfortunate series of events bad weather conditions at Domodedovo airport followed by a technical problem prevented the flight from leaving on time.

An El Al plane

El Al flight LY614 from Moscow to Tel Aviv was scheduled to take off at 10.30 P.M. local time on Tuesday. After boarding, the passengers spent five hours in the cabin before they were allowed to return to the terminal building. "During that time the aircraft went back and forth on the runway," passenger Elena Kotlovskaya told Izvestia newspaper. "We were told that bad weather conditions prevented us from taking off, but we saw other planes taking off and landing. Eventually, after much persuasion, a security guard told us that the captain didn't feel well."

Moscow residents were asked to return home and the other passengers were sent to nearby hotels. "The next day they called us and said the flight would depart at 1.30 P.M.," Kotlovskaya said. "Then they said 7.30 P.M., and eventually 9.30 P.M. At about 9.40 P.M. the plane again taxied up and down the runway, but soon returned to the terminal. Again they started telling us that there was frost on the wings, and then that a certain part got broken, and again, at about 3 A.M. the passengers were asked to get off the plane."

"They had technical problems in both the original aircraft and the one sent to replace it," Domodedovo airport information said.

On Thursday, El Al dispatched a Boeing-747 aircraft to collect the passengers who remained in Moscow after the flight was canceled twice. El Al told Haaretz that "bad weather conditions in Moscow over the past two days prevented El Al flights from leaving as scheduled. Also, a technical problem was detected while the plane was preparing for take-off. For the safety of the passengers, the flight had to be canceled.”

It also said that "El Al's ground staff took care of the passengers, who were sent to nearby hotels despite low vacancy in the area due to the weather. We do not compromise on our passengers' safety, which is our top priority. We apologize for any inconvenience caused."