Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

19 Iyar 5759, May 5 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly







Opinion & Comment
El-Al -- "Above and Beyond," in the Eyes of Chareidi Passengers
To The Editor:

I'm writing to you from London, and wish to tell you how highly I rate your outstanding airline, which has proven: "El-Al Umei'eiver" ("El-Al and Beyond," the company's slogan).

This year, like every other year, I prepared to buy airline tickets for myself and my family. I was concerned not only about our physical safety, but also about the spiritual safety of our children. All year round, we make great efforts to raise them in an atmosphere of kedusha and tsnius, far removed from speech and sights which negate our conscience. We wanted the children who alighted from the plane to be the very same children, ruchniyus- wise, who had boarded it.

We learned about the arrangements made in conjunction with the Committee for the Purity of Our Camp and the directors of El-Al from the notices circulated by the rabbonim. A month before our flight, I tried to find out whether matters had been arranged. I was sent from office to office, and in the end reached the right address: Mrs. Tannenbaum. From our conversations, I found her to be dedicated, responsible, understanding and attentive. I received precise details on flights which had already implemented the arrangements, and those which still hadn't done so, as well as those which would be ready before the holiday. On this basis, I booked tickets on flight 272 for 29.3.99, with the hope that everything would work out as planned.

On the day of the flight, Mrs. Tannenbaum told me that she was completing the arrangements. As a result, we organized ourselves for the trip calmly and in a good frame of mind.

When we arrived at the airport however, the clerk at the counter said that there was no such arrangement on the flight we had booked, and that they knew nothing about the matter. I said that I had been promised and they tried to check, but their efforts were in vain, because at the control center they said there was no possibility of such an arrangement.

It is difficult to describe how exasperated and confused we felt. We tried to phone the pertinent offices, but the reservations had already been deleted from the computer. With a heavy heart I went upstairs, but just before we got onto the bus, the supervisor (I think his name was Amos) called us over and said that our reservations had been mistakenly exchanged. He took care of the matter, and when we boarded the plane we were pleasantly surprised to find a lovely curtain around our seat. We couldn't believe our eyes.

We know that many long hours and the good will of kind people who wanted to help were behind this arrangement. Many chareidi families on the flight though, claimed that they had also wanted to book such seats, but had been told that there were no such arrangements on this flight. Some were even told that there is no such arrangement all. To their good fortune, a number of rows at the back of the plane were empty, and after the plane had taken flight, many people along with their children, simply got up and moved over to the vacant area. In the end, we had a wonderful time. Our children relaxed, and played to their heart's content. It's impossible to describe how gratified and elated we felt during those hours.

I would also like to cite the stewards who, on seeing our mesirus for this important matter, went to the trouble to cover the last movie screen at the back of the plane, on their own initiative. We felt the true meaning of the slogan, "El-Al and Beyond," and saw that with good will it is possible to achieve mutual understanding.

But we still must ask why many people had been unable to secure such seats in an official manner, and why the clerks at the checkout counter didn't know about this arrangement. I met many friends in London, and learned that after all of the anguish of the flight abroad, and all of the efforts they had made, they approached their return flights with a sense of dread. It seems as if greater efforts should have been made to inform all of the crews and all of the clerks in the reservation departments and the various offices, about the arrangement. With a bit more official plugging on the part of our friends, it will become clear that the investment is worthwhile, and that one receives great spiritual dividends, and good service too.

I close by thanking all of the directors for their effort. Have a pleasant summer, and fly El-Al and beyond.

All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.