On 30th July my husband, my 2 daughters and me had to fly back home, to Amsterdam with El Al flight, departing 06.00 hour from Tel Aviv, Israel.
We arrived at Ben Gurion airport (Tel Aviv) more than 2, 5 hours before departure. Upon arrival there were some problems with the security luggage scanner. This slowed down the process, but nevertheless we made it to the check-in counter of El Al, still on time.
Unfortunately the queue for this counter had barely moved at all. We didn’t know what the reason is, nobody bothered to inform us. We were just getting more and more stressed by the fact that the time is passing by and no progress is achieved. When the time was already after 05.00 I’ve asked one of El Al ground-stewardess what is happening with this check-in counter. She explained that the printer broke down. To my question what am I suppose to do, since my flight leaves at 06.00 hour, she ensures me I shouldn’t be worried as there are more passengers with the same problem. “The airplane wouldn’t leave without you!”. The stewardess left.
The queue was still moving extremely slowly. On 05.20 I’ve informed again another El Al ground stewardess about my problem. Her answer was just like her previous colleague. Meanwhile there were ground stewardesses calling around for passengers flying to Paris. Nobody called any passenger going to Amsterdam, which gave us the impression that El Al will call passengers to Amsterdam as soon as it would be really necessary.
Finally at 05.40 we managed to reach the front of the queue and could check in. At least we thought so... but the stewardess behind this counter thought completely different: she saw on which flight we're on, she saw the departure time, and did actually her best to slow us down: she kept asking where the passport of my youngest daughter is. I kept answering that my daughter is registered in my husbands’ and in my passport; she doesn’t have her own passport. The stewardess didn’t believe/understand this fact. She had to phone around to check this up. When this issue was cleared we were allowed to put our luggage on the luggage-belt. She instructed us to take everything off and on again, because she didn’t trust the weight. The weight was correct, also after taking the luggage off and on three times. No need to tell you here, that these things costs us too many valuable minutes.
When finally all “problems” were cleared, the check-in counter lady told us: “Oh, I see you missed your flight”. No sorry, no empathy, just like somebody tells you you missed the bus. After telling us this, she asked us to move on to another desk. Just because I’ve refused and insisted she would solve the problem here and now, as I hold El Al responsible for us missing this flight, she had called somebody to help her.
Eventually El Al arranged for us a flight to Amsterdam through Paris. Still in Ben Gurion (Tel Aviv), when the flights are being arranged/booked, I’ve asked repeatedly for a confirmation of both flights. I told El Al very clearly I don’t want to fly to any airport in Europe and to strand there; the connection flight must be confirmed. El Al assured me everything is confirmed. When arriving at Paris, we found out that we are on a standby. We had to wait until the last moment to hear if we can fly back home. To state the obvious, this was a nerve-racking hour for us. We didn’t have much sleep the night before (2- 2, 5 hours sleep), due to the departure time of our originally flight (06.00 hour). Eventually we arrived at Schiphol at around 16.00, very tired, completely broken and very disappointed from El Al.
But this is not the end of it. On 7 august I've sent a complaint mail to El Al. When no answer was received, I've phoned El Al to check out why no response is received. Each time I've phoned I got a different answer, but still no decent response. On 10 October (more than 2 months after sending complaint and after many phone calls) El Al send me a short message that they are very sorry about the, but they can’t do more than this. I've asked them to reread my complaint and to take it seriously this time. Again: had to wait almost a month to hear there is nothing they can do about it.
I find this outrageous: due to the misinformation of El Al staff, due to dysfunction of devices on the airport, due to unprofessionalism of the counter stewardess, due...to El Al we had missed our flight and came exhausted home. But El Al wouldn't give a damn
1.On June 17th 2007 I took an ELAL flight from Las Vegas to Tel Aviv Israel with my two children.
2.Upon arrival to Tel Aviv I discovered that all three luggage parcels did not arrive. 4 days later two of my bags arrived, the third was never found.
3.Ever since, for the past three and a half month, I have been in a constant attempt to recover my belongings and later on get the reimbursement for the lost suitcase. Even though I filled my claim in accordance to the ELAL stated procedure-
(See http://www.elal.co.il/ELAL/English/ContactUs/), I have since been deceived, ignored and led through an incomprehensible process of disregarding any accountability or due diligence by ELAL.
4.To make matters worse, the ELAL office in New York has no direct customer service phone line (see the aforementioned web site with phone numbers that are a recorded message). All my faxes and Emails have been generally ignored or answered with inconsistent, contradicting and un-committing replies. Since we are us citizens, the Israel office has directed me time after time to the New York office where supposedly my file was handled. All other communications with the Israeli office have so far led to nothing.
5.ELAL mentions on its website 21 days for replies to claims, we have waited three times that period and have been treated with disrespect and dishonesty.
In conclusion- Save your time, save your money global company with a provincial attitude and sub par customer service.