Atlanta ticket holders for direct Delta Air Lines flights to Israel were notified Oct. 24 that as of now, all flights between Atlanta and Tel Aviv are canceled “going forward.”
Nonstop flights between Boston and Tel Aviv are also canceled for the indefinite future, although flights between New York’s JFK International Airport are currently scheduled to resume Nov. 15 “as things currently stand,” according to a Delta spokesman.
Delta had ceased flying into or out of Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport a day after Hamas terrorists invaded Israel from Gaza and brutally killed and maimed more than 1,000 people as well as kidnapping more than 200 children, women and men and taking them into Gaza. Only a handful of those hostages have been freed. The hostages hold passports from about 30 different countries, including the U.S.
More than two weeks after the Oct. 7 massacre, rockets were still being shot from Gaza all over Israel – as far as Eilat and Haifa – including in the vicinity of Ben Gurion Airport.
Delta, of course, is not the only U.S. airline to cease service into or out of Israel. Within a week of the outbreak of hostilities, the U.S. State Department raised its travel advisory to Level 3, asking citizens to reconsider travel to Israel.
The U.S. government began offering departure assistance to U.S. citizens in Israel wanting to leave the country on Oct. 13. In addition to a ship leaving Haifa, the government provided chartered transportation to “nearby safe locations,” but not directly to the U.S. Passengers had to find connecting flights back to the U.S.
Only a handful of foreign airlines are servicing the Tel Aviv Airport, along with three Israeli carriers, El Al, Israir, and Arkia. At last report, El Al is still flying between Israel and New York.
Most passengers traveling to Israel are Israelis wanting to return home either because they were called up for army service or because they wanted to volunteer to help Israel during its war with Hamas.
Even if American tourists were inclined to travel to Israel, finding hotel rooms could be a challenge. Many hotels are being used by Israelis who have been evacuated from communities along the Gaza border in the south or from cities in the north near Lebanon. The Hezbollah entrenched in Lebanon has also been firing on Israel.