This story is just bizarre. A group of 50 passengers took KLM from Kyiv, Ukraine to Amsterdam where they were supposed to connected to a Delta flight to New York JFK.
Eighteen of the passengers didn’t make it out of Amsterdam, however, because the girls started eating their own Kosher food on their initial flight from Kiev, according to reports. KLM doesn’t offer kosher meals on its European service including Ukraine flights.
The issue, it seems, was masks – the girls removed their masks to eat their food and were told this was not permitted “outside the ‘official mealtime'” due to Covid protocols.
While it’s not clear which or how many girls in the group were eating against crewmember instructions, KLM appears to have taken 18 members of the group “indiscriminately in alphabetical order” and prevented those “with a surname from A to K” from connecting onward, involving law enforcement.
Initially they were told rebooking would cost €2000 apiece. KLM says that these were problem passengers on their July 20 outbound, and were given a “last warning” before they took off their masks to eat on the Kyiv – Amsterdam flight. Since they “did not follow the instructions of the crew and showed misbehavior on board” the 18 girls were “not allowed to travel on to New York.”
According to Delta Air Lines, which refused carriage to the girls,
The safety and well-being of our customers and our crew is always our top priority. Delta flight DL47 today from Amsterdam to New York-JFK was delayed after a group of passengers on board refused to follow the crew’s instructions. After the group refused to leave the plane, all passengers were asked to get off the plane, according to Delta’s protocol. At 12:40 PM local time, the re-boarding process was completed, without the group. We apologize to our customers for the delay and thank our customers for their patience and understanding.
The airline declined to rebook the passengers on the next flight which would arrive in New York prior to the start of Sabbath, and so they are spending the weekend near Amsterdam and plan to continue their journey Sunday.
Rabbi Yanki Jacobs of the Chabad on Campus in Amsterdam provided the girls with some glatt kosher food.
…For Shabbat, the girls are being transferred to Antwerp, a Belgian city with many Orthodox Jews. They will attempt to head back to the United States on Sunday.
In 2018 Delta was sued by a group of employees for anti-semitic discrimination, while in 2011 Delta was accused of anti-semitism for its partnership with Saudi Arabian’s national airline.
I wrote at the time that Delta doesn’t hate Jews. However they clearly lied in response to the incident claiming “Delta does not intend to codeshare or share reciprocal benefits, such as frequent flier benefits, with Saudi Arabian Airlines” when of course they were about to do just that as Saudia entered the SkyTeam alliance.
And of course Delta used racist tactics against Middle Easterners (though not Israelis) in their quest to profit by political rather than economic means shutting down competition from Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar.
(HT: Paddle Your Own Kanoo)