There is a view, not so popular with the Israeli tourism board, that holds you haven’t really been to the Promised Land unless you’ve been stuck at least a few hours—or, for the most authentic experience, overnight—at Ben Gurion airport. But if Knesset member Ahmed Tibi has his way, future passengers will at least be compensated for the trouble, using a sliding formula that accounts for both the length of the delay and the distance of travel: 30 percent refunds for travelers delayed more than two-and-a-half hours for flights up to 1,500 kilometers, 50 percent for people delayed more than three hours for flights up to 3,500 kilometers, and 75 percent for anyone delayed more than four hours on long-haul flights further than 3,500 kilometers—that is, to North America, South Africa, or, by a hair, London.
The measure, which passed its first reading in the Knesset last week with 20-1 approval, would be much tougher than the much-bruited U.S. Passenger Bill of Rights, or than regulations in Europe, which require airlines to feed delayed travelers but don’t trigger reimbursements until delays hit five hours. The airlines, of course, are committed to ensuring that sleeping at Ben Gurion remains a tradition. “This type of rule is punitive and not remedial and would do nothing to help prevent delays,” says David Castelveter of the Air Transport Association, the lobby group for U.S. airlines. “Clearly we would not be in favor.” Clearly.
Allison Hoffman is a senior editor at Tablet Magazine. Her Twitter feed is @allisont_dc.