Ryanair calls it an innocent mistake, but a flight attendant who repeatedly referred to Israel as “Palestine” on a flight to Tel Aviv was unlikely simply confused as to the name of the nation.
Ryanair Apologizes After Flight Attendant Insists Tel Aviv Is In Palestine, Not Israel
On a flight from Bologna, Italy (BLQ) to Tel Aviv (TLV) a Ryanair flight attendant reportedly made an announcement in both English and Italian that the flight would be landing in “Palestine.” When it was brought to her attention by numerous passengers onboard that Tel Aviv is in Israel, she dug in and made further “Palestine” references.
This understatedly prompted outrage from a number of passengers. She (conveniently) was not wearing a name tag and when a passenger tried to take a picture of her in order to report her behavior, she threatened that passenger with arrest upon landing.
Ryanair has now issued a statement on the incident, calling the matter an “innocent” mistake by a “junior” flight attendant:
“A junior crew member on this flight from Bologna to Tel Aviv (10 June) made a routine descent PA mistakenly saying Palestine instead of Tel Aviv.
“This was an innocent mistake with no intent and was immediately corrected and apologized for by the senior crew member on board.”
Passenger accounts, however, suggest this was not innocent. One passenger told World Israel News that in discussing the matter, the flight attendant insisted that Tel Aviv was not in Israel, but in Palestine. Another passenger explained:
“We didn’t buy tickets on Ryanair to deal with anti-Zionist opinions.”
A Flight Attendant Has No Business Stirring The Pot Of A Highly Controversial Geopolitical Issue
The whole Israel vs. Palestine debate is complex and not one we are going to solve here (let’s just blame the British for creating a mess!). But as neighbors including Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Morocco have realized, you cannot close your eyes and pretend Israel does not exist. And when it comes to Iran, sometimes the enemy of your enemy is your friend.
Whatever your views on Palestinian statehood, labeling Tel Aviv as part of Palestine on a flight full of Israeli and/or Jewish passengers is not good business.
It appears the flight attendant has a very strong opinion about the issue. That is understandable. But she should have simply said, “Tel Aviv” if she was unable to utter the word Israel. After all, there is no debate that the flight was traveling to Tel Aviv nor does Tel Aviv have an Arab name like Al-Quds for Jerusalem.
How stupid that an ignorant flight attendant decided she would represent her employer by alienating much of the aircraft on a flight from Italy to Israel. I’m not calling for her to be fired or for Ryanair to be boycotted, but I hope she has been warned–there should be no additional chance for such a poor lack of self-control.