El Al CEO on Haredi seat switching: 'This happens on every airline'

The company, which was recently sued for forcing a woman to change seats after a request by an ultra-orthodox male passenger, says the airline is not alone in this regard.

An El Al airliner. (photo credit: REUTERS)
An El Al airliner.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The phenomenon of haredi men demanding women switch seats on airplanes happens on many different carriers, not just El Al, the company’s CEO David Maimon told The Jerusalem Post recently.
“First of all this happens on every airline, not just El Al,” he said.
The airline lost a lawsuit last month in a Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court over the practice – specifically over flight attendants requesting women move to accommodate ultra-Orthodox men.
A judge ruled that such a move was illegal and discriminatory, and ordered the airline to pay the complainant NIS 6,500 in damages (her lawyer had requested NIS 50,000).
The ruling also required El Al to define within six months a new procedure for such an occurrence and explain it to all its flight staff through a written directive and training.
But according to Maimon, this training is already in place.
“Our policy is not to request from a female passenger to get up and switch seats, really the opposite,” he said.
Maimon added that all the flight attendants receive training and guidance on how to deal with these situations.
“There is training, but when we employ 1,500 flight attendants it could always be that one or two didn’t listen to the end,” he said. “We are already correctly programmed, we just need to be strict on enforcing the procedures.”
Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.