While the respective governments claim to be taking necessary actions to assist those caught in this fiasco, the victims have a different perspective on how the situation is being handled. Stranded travelers in Israel are voicing profound concerns, fearing that their departure may face “indefinite delays.”; The Victims are expressing doubts about whether their respective embassies are offering the assistance they so desperately need.
This predicament arises due to numerous travel companies’ disruption of evacuation plans, primarily due to safety reasons, as reported by the global emergency travel assistance platform Robin Assist.
The CEO of Robbin Assists had her take on the matter. She said, “I´ve worked in the emergency assistance and travel insurance space for 25 years, including supporting people stuck in war zones and natural disasters. I can honestly say that the situation in Israel is very similar to 9/11. This is because of the complex intricacies of security risks and the limited options available when arranging travel for thousands of people trying to get out of Israel.”
Reportedly, multiple countries, including France and Germany, have organized special charter flights to ensure the safe evacuation of their citizens from the affected region. On Thursday afternoon, the United Kingdom government also confirmed its commitment to arranging flights for the return of British nationals from Israel.
It’s important to note that although the Foreign Office is ordering these flights, they are commercial services. As such, passengers will be paying £300 to board these flights.
However, On the other side of the Atlantic, the United States of America is taking a different approach, as US pilots are concerned about flying into the region in its current ” volatile state.” A union president cautioned that it would not be “prudent or appropriate to knowingly put our flight crews and passengers in harm’s way.”
“Therefore, after careful consideration, I am directing all pilots to cease flight operations to Israel until we can be reasonably assured of the region’s safety and security,” said Ed Sicher, President of the Allied Pilots Association.
At this point, the way for Americans to evacuate is by flying out on a local carrier and connecting to US airlines overseas. But those flights are proving costly and difficult to obtain – and may require multiple connections. To support the effort, US carriers are increasing their flying to European hubs where flights departing Israel are landing.
“Right now, we’re looking at providing some additional lift to Europe,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said Thursday. “But no, we don’t have any plans to be flying into Israel. It’s considered unsafe for a US carrier to operate in that airspace.”
United Airlines is taking a similar approach. They’re adding extra flights to and from Athens, Greece, to help travelers flying between the US and Israel, the airline said in a statement.
United will operate six additional flights between Newark Liberty International Airport and Athens International Airport, which is roughly 700 miles from Tel Aviv and is still served by carriers such as El Al, and Israir, according to FlightAware.
Wartime and terrorism incidents are not covered by typical insurance policies held by the airlines, according to documents from the International Civil Aviation Organization.
That coverage is separate from regular airline insurance policies. Past incidents – including 9/11 and the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 – have driven up the cost of coverage.
Some airlines are equipped with anti-missile defense systems using flares to divert heat-seeking missiles. El Al added the system to planes after a 2002 close call between an Israeli-operated Boeing 757 and two shoulder-fired missiles in Kenya.
That type of technology is not used by US airlines, although FedEx asked the FAA last year for permission to install defenses against heat-seeking missiles. The FAA ultimately did not move forward with the proposal. US carriers say they’re looking ahead to resuming flights.