United ’14 Hour Flight To Nowhere’ Turned Back From Tel Aviv Before Airport Came Under Attack

Flights are being cancelled left and right to Tel Aviv. United’s Friday San Francisco departure turned back and completed a 14 hour trip to nowhere, while some flights like the Delta and American New York departures made it to Tel Aviv in the early evening. Their return flights, however, were cancelled.

Hamas gone to war, sending thousands of rockets into Israel. They’ve kidnapped Israelis and brought them into Gaza – including some as young as 10 and other reports of younger still. The photos they’ve promoted show the children having been beaten.

Hostages have been taken to tunnels underneath the Gaza Strip for use as human shields. So far the Israeli death toll is at 200. (Update 5 p.m. Eastern: the Israeli death toll so far is 300 civilians.)

Ben Gurion airport itself faces attack:

Hezbollah, threatening to join the fight against Israel, publicly re-affirms that its goal is death to the Jewish state. What Hamas is doing to Israeli children, Hezbollah would do to every Jewish child if given the chance.

Indeed, Hamas has indicated their desire to do so as well. New York City Police have ramped up security and surveillance around synagogues in Manhattan because of Hamas threats to extend their operation against Jews living abroad. Without taking a position on politics of any party inside Israel, it’s clear that Hamas is the true oppressors of the Palestinian people who have been denied elections by their own parties for nearly 18 years.

The Biden administration thought it was close to a deal to freeze Israeli settlements and on the creation of a Palestinian state. The attacks by Hamas take that off the table. Israel both has heightened security concerns, and can’t reward terrorism. Forestalling peace and a Palestinian state is the goal of the invasion along with trying to prevent greater normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia. And of course Iran has a huge hand here.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. The best opportunity to turn gaza to a huge parking lot, with their people under the cement

  2. If the Palestinians laid down their weapons, there would be peace. If the Israelis laid down their weapons, there would be no Israel. There will be no peace until the Palestinians love their own children as much as they hate Israeli children.

  3. Looks like Israel is fabricating hyperbolic atrocities once again… remember the push to get Bush to attack Iraq and there lies that Saddam was yanking babies from incubators with bayoneted?

  4. @CaptnTruth – much of this is originating from HAMAS accounts, not the Israeli government.

    During the initial stages of war there’s lack of clarity on many things. And there’s motivated PR. But what’s unique about the modern real-time social media era, that wasn’t the case in Iraq, is that all sides post video to social media.

    In this case, Hamas is bragging – but also confessing.

  5. There goes the promise of cheaper oil/gas prices at the end of the month we were just promised yesterday…

    Israel needs to end this for good and stop being “woke” as they have since the 1972 Olympics .

  6. This is the jihadi nazi ideology. Sunni or Shiite makes little difference. Total monsters that wish to enslave the world to their crazy and vile ideas.

  7. Israel is winning the death count by killing more in Gaza than vice versa.

    Can Americans visit Gaza? I think not. I read that Israel won’t let Americans go there, even before today’s battles.

  8. Geert Wilders, the anti-semite whose hatred for Muslims happens to supplanted his notorious anti-semitism when he found Muslim-bashing was better for his popularity and finances.

    While there should be no doubt that Hamas is brutal and Hamas is the bastard child of Israel too, highlighting Geert Wilders doesn’t add to the credibility of credible reports of hostages of several nationalities — including Thais and Filipinos — having been seized violently and presumably abused by physical violence or psychological violence via threat of the same.

    Netanyahu and Hamas’ Deif are the real winners in this garbage in garbage out situation that they will use to rally support for themselves while killing hundreds or thousands of civilians and injuring many more. Netanyahu has long seen Gaza as something for Israel to keep as an open air prison for 2+ million people and Israel acted as de facto overlord of the prison for nearly 16 years, a prison that happens to be one of the most densely populated places and run by a criminal gang within the walls. Rebellion against an overlord is nothing new and predictable if anything. That it took this long to turn out like this is a worrying sign both of this Israeli government’s (in)competence and how its increasingly extreme far right politics has given energy to Hamas (and probably Hezbollah too).

  9. Which country expressed support for this attack? And which US administrations lifted the sanctions against that country and even sent it billions of dollars?

  10. At least United was sensible and turned back from the war zone. What is the situation if the flight cannot be completed like this one? I know that the crew still gets paid. Who loses their money?

  11. My sister & brother in law/nephew is in Tel Aviv for past few days for family visit, having flown the United flight from San Francisco. Wonder how is going to get out and return, seems for now only El Al has direct flights operating as of now to the US.

  12. TK to and from IST, perhaps?

    TK at times seems to have a higher than average tolerance for serving hotspots.

  13. @GUWonder, not sure just saw their last 4 flights that were supposed to leave IST either have been cancelled or havent taken off (Starting with the 5PM flight from IST today). Not looking promising

  14. United may still have crew in Israel from prior flight(s) while Delta and AA continued on to Israel to pull its prior crews out upon turnaround .
    Tricky situation!!

  15. Gary, please do some research on Geert Wilders, the man whose tweet you included. He is extreme far right, allied with horrible politicians in other EU countries and had been banned from entering both the UK and Australia for his hate speech.
    The situation in Israel is horrifying but surely you could have found a better person to reference?

  16. @GUWonder


    Geert wilders is the only sane person In Dutch politics. If we listened to him we wouldn’t be overrun with hordes of low IQ vermin. He’s 100% spot on as always.

    It’s time liberals like you sit down and shut up. Your are responsible as always.

  17. @Exit Row, all AA, UA and Delta crews and planes have been evacuated from TLV. They ferried the flights out and brought out any personnel that wanted to leave. My understanding is UA carried a few passengers as well. Through the airline channels I’ve heard that there were no maintenance staff available at airport so they didn’t put passengers on plane, just employees. Not sure if that was actually the scenario.

  18. Geert Wilders is a racist idiot, and idiot is the right word for that useful idiot. So thanks for your contribution with that word.

    Useful to know that you think the anti-semitic idiot Geert Wilders was “100% spot on always”, which includes his anti-semitism until he found it was more popular and financially beneficial for him to cozy up to the Netanyahus of the world who have managed to expand Israeli living space in the region but with it risked Israel’s security as demonstrated by this huge security lapse and the tragedy that follows from the inhumanity that is unleashed by both sides that see their de facto neighbors as lesser beings and/or an existential security threat.

    Geert Wilders has never stopped being a racist and being a problem by opening the playing field to the very kind of racist nonsense and acting as an inspiration for ye American Lord Trump.

  19. AA flew a ferry flight this afternoon out with crew and nonrevs. United left in the evening.

  20. Are you seriously trying to tell us you didn’t know Geert Wilders is an extremely controversial figure with a troublesome background in peddling racism of various sorts, including anti-semitism and Islamsophobia? Seriously, that truly surprises me if that is the case given what I know to be of our mutual interests and reading habits.

    And this really isn’t a case about “shooting the messenger”. It’s about not whether or not an individual is wants to willingly amplify the voices that espouse the kind of inhumane fascism that starts with seeing and calling people as “vermin” and is fundamentally about dehumanizing groups of people to prep the ground work for displacement and worse of innocent individuals as well.

  21. After the outrage of Pearl Harbor, the US didn’t stop until the unconditional surrender of Japan. Israel should treat this event similarly, and eradicate Hamas and take all actions necessary to accomplish that goal.

  22. @GUWonder -The name Geert Wilders didn’t resonate for whatever reason, but that aside, I was sharing the video embedded in the tweet.

  23. @GUWonder: Gary can’t check his posts for correct grammar before he posts them (“Hamas gone to war”?), and you think he’s going to check the background of the authors of tweets he’s sharing?

  24. When you imprison 2 million people, and that’s what Gaza is, a 2-million-person prison, at some point they are going to revolt.

  25. “Level Gaza. Turn it into a car park.”

    Wow. Just…wow. The ignorance and inhumanity of people will never cease to amaze me.

  26. @ziggy
    Not only turn it into a car park but also bury the million rats that live there under the cement
    Animals deserve to be treated like animals

  27. @Gary: Of course they are! Israel has been at war with Palestinians for 75 years. It’s just no one seems to mind when Israel is doing the war crimes.

  28. The good thing about Free Speech is it lets racists, anti-Semites, Nazis, communists, idiots, and sleazeballs self-identify.

  29. Doug’s comments are reminiscent of Nazi propaganda that called people vermin/rats to be mass eradicated. Dehumanizing people leads to atrocities.

    There is an old saying about not hating your enemies so much that you become increasingly indistinguishable from the enemy you claim to be fighting or to have fought.

  30. My comment from NYC… BB must go.

    FYI, I hope the IDF pummels Hamas.

    In 2000, Arafat had a chance to broker a peace deal. He didn’t. What a shame.

  31. In 2000, Arafat was given a half-baked “deal” that really was not a deal, and that is why it turned out to be nothing but talk to talk later. The Clinton Admin at the time was trying to push anything positive during an election year and come off with a PR win following impeachment, and then and later much of the commentary blaming Arafat for the outcome at Camp David was basically self-serving talk from people that weren’t delivering a deal that Arafat could make work given Arafat’s own problems at the time and Ehud Barak’s red lines too.

    The glib lines about the Palestinians never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity and various other glib talking points are intended to shift blame to Palestinians for the problems the Palestinians face, and they act as cover for purposes of self-servicing political expediency and to avoid accepting any responsibility for what has transpired. It’s not like Israel has become a truly more open and tolerant state vis-a-vis the Palestinians in the 20+ years since Arafat was at Camp David with EB and Clinton, so what kind of peace deal partner would Netanyahu’s Israel be. If anything anti-Arab racism has risen to be a very profound feature of Israel, and that has done several things including that of playing into the hands of Israel’s illegitimate child Hamas that was built to oppose Arafat and the rest of the PLO. Even if Arafat had signed away anything and everything in 2020 just short of leading Palestinians into exile from the Palestinian Territories, the expansionist tendencies and insecurities of the Israeli public would eventually negate anything “given” to the Palestinians in 2000. And it wasn’t like the strain of politics represented by Rabin’s assassin has lost ground in Israel since and would make for respecting any deal. You know what they say about how no constitution can protect the freedom of people when freedom dies in the hearts of the public? Much the same goes for “peace deals” and would have gone on given the rise of the Israeli far right and the others catering to it wittingly and otherwise.

    The pretense of a two state solution arising from Camp David then would be just that in a country where Netanyahu is truly king and he and his child Hamas had long ago neutered the crooked Arafat and PLO by playing on and playing up corruption in Palestinian-majority areas under de facto Israeli control and elsewhere. It was going to turn out to be a time-buying strategy for Israel to change the realities on the ground through demographic change and neuter a Palestinian state aspiration that way and instead tell them to “go home” to Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon or some other Arab-majority state. Just not an independent Palestinian state.

  32. @TLU: Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank aren’t exactly buddies, so that gets you your 3 states.

  33. “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”
    — Golda Meir

  34. That Golda Meir quote is actually problematic at its root, as it is meant to make Israelis come across as more human than “the Arabs” and yet try to excuse any and all Israeli killing of Arab children.

    Dehumanizing “the other” lays the groundwork for violent inhumane actions and desensitizes receptive audiences to “collateral damage” and the terrorizing of civilians for politico-military/militant purposes.

  35. @GUWonder – If you can’t condemn this without 15,000 caveats and whutaboutisms, you’re just an antisemite. Does Israel have faults, yes, but with no other people in the world would the killing of the elderly, the rape of women, and the kidnapping of children be met with “They had it coming.” That’s antisemitism. That’s you. If Hamas had limited themselves to attacking the military bases, that would have been a legitimate target. They didn’t do that, they went and deliberately killed as many people as possible, including their fellow Arabs, because they were on the wrong side of the line. Not as collateral damage, as intentional policy. You’re justifying or excusing the modern Einsatzgruppen, and not just casually, but in long, drawn out essays.

    Did you also side with the Hutus against the Tutsis, the Turks against the Armenians, Stalin & Putin against the Ukrainians, and the Khmer Rouge against the Cambodian people. Want to tell me how that last one is really the fault of the US? I’m sure if you try really hard, you can find a way to blame all of it on the US and/or the Jews, including the Nazis.

    And that trope about Israel creating Hamas, it’s Fatah propaganda repeated by left-wing Jew-haters as part of the blame the victim campaign. Maybe not your fault for believing it, since it appears so often in your copy of “Worker’s World Daily”, try using your Jew-hating brain to question the narrative.

    GUWonder, you are the baddie.

  36. Actually the fact that Israel created Hamas was revealed in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. The scheme to create “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” backfired on a monumental level. Who would say such thing?… Brig. Gen. Yitzhak Segev, the military governor in Gaza in the 1980s spilled the beans… you can deny, deny, deny… but the facts don’t lie.

  37. By C_M’s “logic”, C_M would have us believe that Golda Meir was an antisemite as she said: “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children.”

    Neither Hamas nor any actor — state-actor or otherwise— deserves forgiveness for the killing of unarmed children. And yet there is that quote from Golda Meir talk about forgiving killing of Israeli children.

    [Obviously, Golda Meir was no anti-semite, but there you have it with C_M-like claims.]

  38. ***** but with no other people in the world would the killing of the elderly, the rape of women, and the kidnapping of children be met with “They had it coming.” ****

    C_M is wrong about that too. Atrocities against ethnic and religious communities with nationalist/separatist/semi-autonomous aspirations — and reprisal atrocities — have been met with that very kind of talk and action from right-wing extremists of various sorts throughout much of history and also from self-described Communist and Socialist regimes in the last century and this.

  39. @guwomder
    Hamas knew that this will be the response, and yet they went ahead with it
    They don’t really care about their people
    By the end of the week there will be approx 5000 arab roaches dead
    Once we reach 50000 we can start celebrating
    Your opinion and views mean nothing to anybody with an objective view of the situation, and honestly, it is a bit futile to talk to pseudo moral individuals like you

  40. @GUWonder – We’re not talking about other bad actors, we’re talking about people who would claim to be on the right side of history or “good people”. And we’re talking about you. You’re on the side of the Einsatzgruppen. Only the Nazis tried to hide their crimes, they ultimately knew what they were doing was suspect. Hamas Livestreams it, puts up videos, openly celebrates it, gives out candy, and encourages their children to taunt and torture other children just because they’re Jewish.

    You’re scum.

  41. C_M, as with other Lord Trump fans, lacks respect for facts and peddle fictions as truth. And so CM’s baseless character assassination attempts weighs as heavy on my soul as Trump and Lord Trump worshippers’’ claims about the 2020 election being “stolen”.

  42. Doug above is calling the Palestinian children killed in Gaza this week “Arab roaches”? Many of those killed Palestinians are pre-teen children, which shouldn’t be surprising when the median age in Gaza is something like 18 years of age.

    C_M, do you think of those killed Palestinian pre-teen children as “Arab roaches”? If so, your mind is sadly occupied by a Nazi-like mentality built upon dehumanizing even children as “the other”, as “sub-human”.

  43. @guwonder
    It was already established that your opinion is irrelevant, spare us
    The mothers of those terrorists in training were laughing and celebrating the murders of kindergarten aged children 2 days before
    Zero sympathy and happy to see them suffer
    As I said before, 1 of mine is worth 1000 of them

  44. The CIA’s regional experts estimate that c. 40% of Gaza’s population is 14 years of age or under.

    Seems like Doug above is more than fine with lots of “brown” and “black” kids in Gaza being delivered a lifespan closer to that of a roach than that of the the average European-Israeli or European-American all while encouraging atrocities on a scale of 1000 to 1.

    Doug: doing the Nazis proud decades after the American-led defeat of Nazis in World War 2.

Comments are closed.