18 Orthodox Jewish Girls Booted Off KLM Flight for Reportedly Eating Outside Prescribed Mealtimes

By Anna Breuer on 8 August 2021
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Eighteen Orthodox Jewish girls traveling from Kiev to New York in a chaperoned group of 55 ran into difficulties boarding their connecting flight in Amsterdam after an unknown number of them were told by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines cabin crew not to eat the kosher meals they brought with them outside of the official mealtime on the flight.

“You can’t eat now, it’s not meal time,” at least one girl was told.

The group was on a tour of ancient Jewish sites in Europe.

Flight attendants reportedly chided some of the girls for not always properly wearing their masks.

Once on the connecting Delta flight from Amsterdam to New York, the problem was exacerbated after a woman not traveling with the group asked one of the girls to switch with her so she could sit with her son on the flight.  After switching seats, a flight attendant told the girl that she was “not obeying the rules,” and the girl then attempted to return to her original seat.

Since the boarding door was still open, a flight attendant then ordered the entire group to deplane, which the chaperone declined to do after checking with an attorney.  The airline then required everyone to deplane and then refused to let 18 of the girls reboard.

Delta then offered the girls a flight the following day at 5 p.m. but since that was a Friday and the start of the Sabbath, they demurred.

Rabbi Yisroel Kahan, executive director of the Oizrim Jewish Council, which sponsored the tour, then contacted the offices of Senator Chuck Schumer, who in turn sought assistance from the offices of Delta’s CEO, Ed Bastian.

The issue was resolved in part by having the girls fly to Antwerp, where they spent the Sabbath as guests of a local Jewish community.  They continued on their journey to New York on Sunday.

KLM said in a statement that the girls did not follow the airline’s Covid-19 protocols on the outbound flight as well.

“On the 20th of July a large group of passengers on flight KL644 from New York JFK to Amsterdam refused to follow crew instructions on board,” said Gerrie Brand, a spokesman for KLM. “Upon arrival in Amsterdam this group was again cautioned and explained the possible consequences of unruly behavior by KLM’s security department [sic] . It was also made very clear that this was the last warning.”

“The same group travelled from Kiev to Amsterdam on the 5th of August and again did not adhere to crew instructions and showed unruly behavior on board,” Brand said. “Upon arrival, a group of 21 passengers (1 booking) was therefore offloaded and not allowed to travel on to New York. This group has been rebooked on a Delta flight from Amsterdam to New York today.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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