Wednesday, September 26, 2012

An Airline Answers to a Higher Authority

United Airlines made a scheduling change that conflicted with a Jewish holiday on a flight to Israel but, to a religious passenger’s delight, fixed their schedule.

Complaints about flying have been with us almost since Kitty Hawk, usually without results.

But one passenger recently got United Airlines to answer to a higher authority. No, not the Federal Aviation Administration or even the International Air Transport Association—higher than that.

Points and discount website Dan’s Deals, which has a large Orthodox Jewish audience, reports that a reader, Miriam W., wanted to fly from Newark, N.J., to Tel Aviv after Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. The holiday ends at nightfall on Sept. 28, which will be at 7:23 p.m. on Monday in Newark. The flight normally departs at 10:50 p.m., giving observant fliers enough time to reach the airport and check in, but pandemic-related schedule changes had moved the flight time to 8:05 p.m. though late October.

Miriam wrote directly to Chief Executive Scott Kirby and Chairman Oscar Munoz and was pleased to receive a response that the flight time would be changed.

“I’m surprised United didn’t realize this when they made their COVID-19 schedule changes, but kudos to United for changing the flight time a week before the flight in order to accommodate religious passengers,” wrote Daniel Eleff, who runs the site.

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