United Airline has altered the timing of its flight between New York Newark (EWR) and Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) after a direct appeal from a Jewish passenger to the airline’s chief executive Scott Kirby. Originally scheduled to depart Newark at 8:05 pm on September 28, United Airlines flight UA90 will now not leave for its 10-hour journey to Israel until 10:50 pm after Kirby’s direct intervention.
September 28 marks Judaism’s holiest day of the year during which Jewish people normally mark by observing a day-long fast, prayers and a strict ban on work. The religious day starts at sunset on September 27 and doesn’t end until nightfall on September 28.
At this time of year, nightfall wouldn’t come until around 7:30 in New York which doesn’t give nearly enough time for Jewish people to get to the airport to catch United flight UA90 in time for the originally scheduled time of 8:05 pm.
One woman who is a passenger on the flight noticed the problem and took the matter straight to Scott Kirby explaining there was no way she could get to the airport in time. In the past, the flight departed later but Coronavirus schedule changes meant the departure time had been brought forward to an earlier time in the evening.
Luckily, the passenger’s appeal got the attention of Kirby and his office called the woman last week to say the schedule would be changed for just one day to accommodate Jewish passengers observing Yom Kippur.
There is, however, one big problem that might mean the flight won’t go ahead at all. With a second wave of COVID-19 surging through Israel, the country’s parliament approved a full national lockdown on Wednesday which is said to be even stricter than Israel’s first Coronavirus shutdown.
There is talk that Ben Gurion airport could also be shuttered as part of the lockdown although a final decision hasn’t yet be made according to government sources. There’s also a possibility that the closure might only affect outgoing flights.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.