Israeli flag carrier El Al reportedly allowed more passengers than stipulated capacity on a flight from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV) as reservists rushed back to Israel.
David Ha’ivri, an Israeli tour guide who was returning to Israel from Bangkok, shared his flight experience on social media.
According to Ha’ivri, who boarded flight LY 82 on October 16, 2023, the terminal gate at Bangkok was full of “young backpackers who want to return to Israel and enlist in Order 8 emergency call up for the reserves”.
Ha’ivri said that after boarding there were still “dozens of young people who wanted to return to Israel” and the airline announced that those without seats will wait while it tries to get everyone on the plane.
The airline filled all 279 seats on the Boeing 777, and, according to Ha’ivri, took in 30 more people soon after. The airline assigned these passengers to crew jump seats and, with the permission of the captain, allowed some to occupy the floor of the galleys and space near the cockpit.
Throughout the flight, Ha’ivri said that the captain went around to make sure everybody, especially those lying on the aircraft floor, were taken care of.
While this is clearly a safety hazard in aviation standards, Ha’ivri praised El Al’s gesture of making an exception in critical times.
Around 360,000 Israeli reservists around the world have answered their country’s call to serve in the fight against Hamas.
Jerusalem Post’s editor-in-chief, Avi Mayer said that on October 11, 2023, an anonymous orthodox Jewish man stood at the El Al counter at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK), and offered to pay for any reservist who showed up wanting to board a flight to Israel. The man reportedly paid for a total of 250 tickets.
El Al Israel Airlines, established in 1948, is the only commercial carrier in the world to equip its aircraft with missile defense systems to protect its planes against surface-to-air missiles.