A United Airlines flight from Newark to Tel Aviv was delayed 24 hours after the pilot allegedly refused to fly to Tel Aviv “due to the security situation,” according to a Channel 12 report on Sunday.
The Saturday evening flight was already boarding passengers on the plane when a member of staff informed those still waiting at the gate that the flight would not take off at the scheduled time.
Initially, airline staff told customers the delay was due to “refusal by the crew”, according to a video shared on social media.
A passenger, named only Michal, described the confusion around flight UA84.
Michal told Channel 12 that after a slight delay in loading the plane, airline staff “started boarding and we were the second to board since we had a baby.”
Once Michal and his family were on the plane, they were quickly told they had to disembark.
Curfew? Not what the crew said. pic.twitter.com/KmoMP9p78E
—Gil Eyal (@gileyal) August 7, 2022
“Airline staff on the plane told us that the ground crew knew there was no pilot, and nevertheless they carried out the boarding procedures and we could not understand why” , she said.
“When we got off the plane and were back in the waiting area, they said the pilot had refused to fly to Israel because of the security situation,” Michal said.
Gil Eyal, another passenger on the ground flight to Tel Aviv, told Channel 12: “I was waiting for flight UA84 with my children…but I had a feeling something was wrong from the start of boarding, but it was slow.”
“Suddenly the United representative announced that the flight was cancelled. She pointed out that the reason was that the crew refused to take off,” Eyal said.
Eyal publicly tweeted asking the official United Airlines Twitter account for an explanation.
In response to Eyal, United Airlines changed the reason for the delay, saying there was no refusal from the crew, but rather the delay was due to a “flight curfew” and “to light of the security situation,” leaving passengers increasingly confused, without such a curfew in place.
With more than 500 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip since Operation Breaking Dawn began on Friday afternoon, flight paths to and from Ben Gurion Airport have been changed to ensure that commercial airlines can continue to operate safely.
Beyond that, inbound and outbound flights continue to operate as usual.
As of this writing, flight UA82 is scheduled to take off from Newark for Tel Aviv later on Sunday.