US Airlines Pause Flights To Israel Amid Rising Tensions

Amid mounting security concerns in Israel, three United States-based airlines with regular commercial flights to Tel Aviv have paused their flights. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines have all canceled Tel Aviv-bound flights across much of this week.

US airlines, including United Airlines, have paused their flights to Israel. Photo: Vincenzo Pace/Simple Flying

As the conflict between Israel and Palestine steps up a notch, rockets have been targeting Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport. That saw the airport temporarily closed and flights redirected to nearby airports as threats intensified.

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American Airlines cancels Tel Aviv flights from New York JFK

American Airlines has a travel alert in place for flights to Tel Aviv between May 12 and 25. The airline sends a daily Boeing 777-200ER across to Tel Aviv from New York’s JFK Airport. At the time of publication, the Dallas-based airline has canceled its outbound AA146 service on Wednesday and Thursday and the return AA145 flights.

The airline is waiving change fees across all fares (including basic economy) for passengers due to fly to Israel between May 12 and 25, as long as they are happy to travel between now and June 15. American Airlines notes a passenger’s origin and destination ports must be the same. Passengers must book into the same cabin (or pay the difference) and must have purchased the original ticket on or before May 12.

American Airlines has paused Tel Aviv flights from New York. Photo: Miami Dade Aviation Department

Delta’s Tel Aviv flight from JFK also canceled

Delta Air Lines also flies between New York’s JFK Airport and Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International. Delta normally sends one of its A330-900neos across to Israel. DL234 heads out of JFK late in the evening. The return DL233 flight pushes back from Tel Aviv just before lunchtime. Delta canceled Wednesday’s service, citing “operational disruptions.”

Delta’s travel advisory indicates passengers booked on flights to Tel Aviv on or between May 11 and 13 can rebook into the same cabin free of charge to travel up to May 17.

“If travel is not able to be rescheduled within these guidelines, customers may cancel their reservation and apply any unused value of the ticket toward the purchase of a new ticket for a period of one year from the original ticket issuance,” Delta’s travel advisory notes.

Delta canceled Wednesday’s Tel Aviv flight. Photo: Miami Dade Aviation Department

United Airlines cancels Tel Aviv flights from San Francisco, Newark, and Chicago

United Airlines is the third US-based airline with services to Israel. The airline normally operates flights to Tel Aviv from San Francisco, Newark, and Chicago. United Airlines canceled Wednesday’s UA954 Boeing 787-9 flight from San Francisco due to security concerns at Ben Gurion. United’s Tel Aviv-bound Boeing 787-10 service on Tuesday and Wednesday, UA84, was canceled from Newark. Also not operating was UA140 out of Chicago O’Hare on Tuesday.

Citing unrest in the Middle East, United Airlines is allowing passengers booked to Tel Aviv between May 11 and May 25 to rebook free of charge onto a flight up to June 15. Like American Airlines, passengers must rebook into the same cabin, or a fare difference will apply. Passengers must travel the original route booked. Passengers must have purchased tickets on or before May 10.

Meanwhile, late on Wednesday, El Al says it is still operating flights to the United States. Israel’s national airline has flights due to depart for New York JFK, Los Angeles International, and Miami International on Thursday, May 13. However, El Al does advise that if passengers prefer not to travel, they can rebook to another date free of charge or apply for a travel voucher.