Dirt Cheap Tickets On El Al To Be Honored
08/06/12
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They say if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. But not if you were buying tickets to Israel today on El Al Airlines, where tickets were going for as low as $350 roundtrip.

Bethany Mandel and her husband, Seth, of Washington Heights had planned on taking a vacation in February but never dreamed it could be to Israel.
“We couldn’t afford it,” Mandel, 26, said. “I have enough miles for a domestic flight, but not enough to fly overseas.”

But while working Monday as the social media manager for Commentary Magazine, Mandel said Dan’s Deals tweeted a link about a sale at El Al. She said she didn’t find the sale at Orbitz but found it at Expedia. After conferring with her husband, an editor at Commentary, she booked two, nine-day roundtrip tickets in February at a total cost of $700.

Mandel said she then contacted a friend who is planning to be married in Israel later this year and that she booked flights for her wedding party. And she said someone else she knows booked a roundtrip flight during Christmas week for himself, his wife and son for a total of $1,040. One Twitter user claimed to have paid $178 for a roundtrip ticket.  

A spokeswoman for El Al, Sheryl Stein, said it was a third-party mistake and that all of the tickets would be honored, despite what some Facebook and Twitter users might claim.

Stein told the Web site VIN News "When any airline files fares, they get filed to an outside company who posts the fares. We filed our fares and the outside company neglected to add in the fuel surcharges. The mistake was theirs, not ours."

Around 3 p.m. on Monday, a tweet from ELAL USA read "An outside company posted incorrect fares on travel websites, so all tickets sold will indeed be honored."

The travel web site Dan's Deals, which alerted consumers about the deal, said on Monday "I’m not going to speculate on why the tickets were so cheap, though it does seem likely that they forgot to include a fuel surcharge. However the [De[artment of Transportation] has strict rules that prohibit airlines from charging additional fees after a ticket is issued or from cancelling paid tickets, so I do think that these tickets will be honored."

Mandel said via Twitter that when she called an El Al representative she was told the flight would be honored. "The agent said "ohh wow..." when she saw what we paid."

The incident sparked a debate over Jewish ethics with some saying it is impermissable to benefit from the company's error. Commenters on the VIN site story cited the Talmudic concept of Mekack Taut, or deriving a benefit from a contract with a flawed understanding by one of the parties, which the sages prohibited.

On his Facebook page Meir Weingartern, president of Ariel Tours, which books trips to Israel, posted that alumni of a Brooklyn yeshiva had sent out an email to supporters urging them to take advantage of "ridiculously cheap' fares in order to attend a yeshiva event in Israel.

"Hillel taught the convert "do unto others what you want others to do unto you", wrote Weingarten. "Think about your own life. If you made a costly error how would you like others to act? Are we acting in the same way?"

Last Update:

09/02/2013 - 22:20

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I would love to go with el al to Israel for $350 because everyone I know say el al is number one . And I can't afford to pay more than that price because I have wife and kids total is 5 people I would love to go there to do my son bar mitzva in December

Around 3 p.m. on Monday, a tweet from ELAL USA read "An outside company posted incorrect fares on travel websites, so all tickets sold will indeed be honored."

Lucky for those who booked through orbitz and expedia. Unfortunately for those of us who booked through www.issta.com we awoke to cancellation e-mails this morning and upon trying with El Al directly were told that the reservation would not be honored.

I suppose orbitz and expedia carry more weight with El Al than does issta.

"Hillel taught the convert "do unto others what you want others to do unto you", wrote Weingarten. "Think about your own life. If you made a costly error how would you like others to act? Are we acting in the same way?"

To many, there was no indication that this was an error. This deal was posted by credible public companies as a deal, not as a glitch. (such as last month's NY to HK first class for 9 award miles ) So there's is no blame on those who innocently took advantage of this. if they wont cancel these tickets outright, let's see if EL Al will even offer a refund to those who want to cancel . They may not if this issue is covered by their "errors and omissons" insurance policy.

People who own a small business will understand the huge anxiety when they have a pricing mistake and they need to swallow a large loss. People think they are making a great deal but don't realize that the seller is losing a lot of money. In El Als case, is half the ticket really a fuel surcharge???

Well I feel really lucky then. I got my ticket for November for under $350

I also got the fare at less than $350.

A mistake, perhaps, but "min haShemayim." My wife and I have wanted to go to Eretz Yisroel for many years but could not afford it. She's 71, I'm 65 - and we both lost our jobs several months ago. Things are not always what they appear to be - and we are extremely grateful to El Al for the decision to honor the prices. An inadvertent mitzvah, efsher? Boruch HaShem! Thank you.

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