This Icelandic Band Claims They Were Punished By El Al After Eurovision

On Monday May 20th, the Icelandic punk band Hatari traveled from Tel Aviv to London after performing at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. Much to their surprise, they had been given the worst seats on the El Al Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
El Al ground crew are accused of punishing musicians with the worst seats on the plane. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The middle seats

The incident became public when an individual on Facebook posted photos he took of a screen at the airport. The photos show the three band members’ names and their assigned seats, as well as the locations on a seat map of the El Al 787. Along with the posted photos the Facebook user writes:
“EL AL‘s ground crew bragging about assigning the worst seats (middle seats and separated) on the aircraft to the Icelandic band Hatari, stating that ‘this is what they get’ for protesting against the Israeli occupation and violation of human rights. #eurovision2019”
A photo taken of the seats assigned to Hatari members. Photo: Facebook user Daher Dahli
The seats for the three band members, as you can see, were seats: 56F, 57F, and 58F.
Hatari drummer Einar Hrafn Stefánsson then shared the Facebook post on his account along with a little note to El Al.
When questioned about the incident, Felix Bergsson, Hatari’s press representative said:
“Undeniably, I found this disturbing, and I’m not pleased with this kind of conduct,”

The performance

This entire incident stems from the Hatari performance at the Eurovision Song Contest. Their specific performance took place on Saturday May 18th as part of the Grand Final Show.

In the show, Hatari can be seen holding up banners showing the word “Palestine” and the colours of their flag during a voting announcement. Upon this sight, cameras quickly cut away.
It is a big enough offense to pull off this clearly political act at a high-profile, internationally televised event, let alone one that should be strictly non-political. But pulling off the stunt in Israel is a whole new level of… shall we say…’chutzpah’. NME reports that the band will likely face consequences for their actions.
It’s not surprising that something happened to the band after their actions. However, many would say that the retaliatory “stunt” pulled by El Al ground crew was unprofessional.
El Al is Israel’s flag carrier. Photo: pxhere

Formal complaint to follow

According to the Iceland Monitor, the band’s press representative has said the group will look into the incident and consider next steps.
“Whether that happens through Icelandair, which booked the flight, or others, we’ll have to see,”
Bergsson added that a complaint may be made with El Al directly.
According to The Times of Israel, when Hatari’s members finally made their arrival at Iceland’s Keflavik airport Monday night, they were greeted by pro-Palestinian activists. Maybe if the band makes the same trip again they can fly with Virgin Atlantic.
What do you think? Were the ground crew of El Al acting unprofessionally? As the incident stems from the question of Israel and Palestine, this may be a difficult question to answer without getting super political… but, give it a try!


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Doron Kabilio

Hitari, you embarrassed your host country with your little stunt, so stop whining about the retaliation. You are simply cry babies and had I had been on the flight, it would have ended badly for you.
You could always have flown another carrier that is more sympathetic to your cause, like Air Jihad

Jack Bonello

Agreed. No sympathy. Never spit in a guest’s home.

Ben Farrell

I think both are at fault but El Al was acting more unprofessional in this case by deliberately giving them the worst seats on the plane

Daniel Baglietto Seymour

Well Done EL AL

David Deal

Ramifications for their actions?? Why are they surprised? Being rude to your hosts has consequences.


If Eurovision was held in Saudi Arabia and you held a political protest you might not have made it to the airport…

Ilan Gattegno

Dreamliners have no bad seats. What are they talking about?


Did they not pay for their seat assignment. If they paid, I assume that their seat should not be changed.

If they did not pay, then this is making a mountain out of a mole hill.


The original comment in Hebrew states that it was coincidental that they were assigned those seats automatically by the computer.
The stewardess found if funny/ironic that they were assigned those seats as a sort of Karma.

A. I would agree it is unprofessional by El Al if there was any proof of it being intentional
B. They could have paid for seat selection
C. They were seated with their delegation- they didn’t fly alone.


Bravo Israel!

Very good! That’s exactly what you deserve. I wonder if I would have come to your country with an anti-Icelandic flag how would you treat me?

Ciaran Muldoon

I Palestine flag isnt an anti-isreal flag. Stop suggesting false equivlancy. The same way a scottish flag isnt an anti-english flag. Palestine is an occupied territory in direct contravention of international human rights, and is still under one of the worlds longest illegal trade embargos. If any other country was to do this to a neighbour, everyone would be up in arms… however as its Israel and they trade on the guilt of the holocaust, they get away with it.

You should all be ashamed of your flagrant bias!!!

Well done Hatari for standing up for the right thing!!!!

Ivan Habarov

Well done Hatari?! For showing political thoughts on song competition, just because you haven’t won? Come on, that’s what they deserve, all the world knows that Israel have some security problems with Palestine, so why they did it? Anyway, I am not from Israel, but I still think that Elal even if they did this and even if not , should be proud of it. Of showing why it’s not good to argue Israel in a freaking song competition.


“Palestine flag isn’t an anti-israeli flag” – interesting, but by the same logic, seats 56F, 57F and 58F are not bad seats. So why are you making a fuss?
Regarding the rest of your comment, check the facts before showing how dumb or biased with some self-interest you are (probably both).