Friday, December 08, 2006

This puppy won’t fly

El Al, Israel’s national airline, is not one that most frequent flyers would choose for long haul travel if they could possibly avoid it. True, the security is unparalleled, but the flight crew is surly and schedules erratic. And El Al has been taking extra flak this week for flying on the Sabbath, especially after a prominent rabbi interpreted an engine malfunction that required dumping fuel and a dash back to Tel Aviv as a divine slap for violating strict Talmudic law. Orthodox Jews continued to badmouth the national carrier for dishing up questionable in-flight snacks after the kosher variety went bad during an extended stopover. Some secular Israelis worry that adherence to every possible religious stricture might eventually ground their airline. It's not a 21st century experience as it is.

Pet-lovers have a hard time with El Al. Despite reserving full price seats months in advance, my friend Candice’s JFK-Tel Aviv non-stop was practically a non-starter. She and her golden retriever were bumped off the New York flight four times by dead passengers: cadavers returning to the Holy Land take priority.

Apparently, canine passengers on El Al must have their flights reconfirmed six hours prior to takeoff, to ensure they won’t be sharing cargo space with a dead body. These horizontal El Al passengers can't complain, and they are in dry ice and double coffins for the journey. Apparently it was a hectic week for NY coroners, and it appeared that Candice and her pup were going nowhere. They obligingly waited out the Sabbath hiatus, but were refused a boarding pass for the fourth time in a row. But this time, the woman behind the El Al counter offered a suggestion. “Oy vey. Have you tried booking out of Newark? We never fly the dead outta Jersey.” And so Candice and her canine went via Newark one dog day afternoon.


Anonymous said...

And I always thought that El Al was a dog of an airline! I'm sure the dead got better in-flight sservice than most of the regular passengers.

candice said...

very funny blog on el al. especially liked the headline, choice of art!
my black lab, however, complained bitterly about being called a golden retriever. i told her not to complain, citing the old saw that any publicity is good publicity.

Izzy Bee said...

Shucks. Trying to be considerate enough to be maintain her anonymity.
That bitch.
Consulted with a rabbi, who says the El Al rule on canine passengers is because Orthodox Jews believe that the devil can inhabit dogs. Even among non-ultras, it is a
matter of respect to keep them away from a body. I imagine they might howl down below.

dead bodies, live dogs said...

devil dogs? luv it.


heiferling said...

Well now there is a call to boycott the cirsed airline (Ouch. Haredim are up to one third of El AL's passengers.) Also some religious Jews want to form their own airline. You would have to have utmost to fly with them, I would think.
(readers note: El Al directory Izzy Borovich has no links with Izzy Bee.)