Hassidim on Delta Airlines Owe Me Two Hours of My Life
Hassidim on Delta Airlines Owe Me Two Hours of My Life

I respect the hareidi and hassidic Jews tremendously, as I have written often.  However, last Monday nite aboard a flight to Israel, some members of the Bobov sect stole 2 hours of my life - and I am angry. 

As was reported in the media, a Delta Airlines flight from New York to Tel Aviv was delayed last Monday night after ultra-Orthodox men refused to take their seats next to members of the opposite sex.  I was aboard that flight. 

Some background: 80 members of Bobov were returning to Israel together - and from the time they went through security check-in clamored to be seated together.  They were not seated together as they did not bother to arrange their seats beforehand – and this needs to be done beforehand.  From  the time they went through check-in, Delta staff did their best to accommodate them – and others.  They were exceedingly friendly.

Shortly after boarding the flight, announcements started "Take your assigned seats so we can take off." And then came an announcement "Take your Seats or you will be removed."  Certain hareidim did not, amidst a lot of noise. Then, as staff tried to reason with the hareidim, came allegations of anti-Semitism.

Others aboard the flight tried to reason with those who refused to be seated, but they refused– and the Delta flight attendants appeared flabbergasted, rightfully.  They also didn’t want to be baited with unfair claims of anti-Semitism.

Announcements started with offers of $1000 dollars plus free hotel and cabs to anyone who got off the flight voluntarily (to accommodate those who refused to sit). Apparently no one took the offer.  While Delta announced that they had overbooked by 14 seats, and hence we had to be delayed two hours so that bags could be removed, the reality was clear to those of us on board. The hareidi passengers decided to get off the plane, rather than take their assigned seats. 

I respect  the way they wish to live their lives – it is their right and their way of life - but if they want to sit with men, then they should book a private flight, buy two seats or simply not fly. I respect them for their way of life- and will not tell them how to live, but by refusing to follow internationally accepted rules and mores, they inconvenienced hundreds of people. That is simply wrong and unacceptable.  They cannot dictate rules for Delta Airlines – and I wish they had been booted before wasting hours. They have to accept the rights of others if they want to fly.