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10,000 eligible IDF reservist soldiers to receive free airfare on El AL flights

El Al airplane arriving at Ben-Gurion International Airport (Photo: Photo: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

El Al Airlines, Israel's flag carrier, announced a special offer for eligible IDF reservist soldiers to receive free airfare to fly to various destinations as soon as a few months from now.

At least 10,000 free El Al airline tickets will be granted to Israeli reservists who were called up and served the Israeli army in Gaza for a minimum of 30 days and can prove eligibility with the necessary documentation

Beginning next Tuesday night, eligible soldiers, estimated to be roughly 10,000, will be able to claim the benefit in the form of a coupon code voucher for travel beginning as early as May 5 of this year until next Feb. 17, 2025. El Al noted that availability may be limited during certain time periods.

The free airfare discount will apply to round trip flights destined for Zurich, Switzerland; Sofia, Bulgaria; Vienna: Austria; Thessaloniki or Athens, Greece; Paphos or Larnaca, Cyprus; Budapest, Hungary; and Bucharest, Romania.

Ticket holders will only need to cover airport taxes, which will significantly reduce their travel expenses. El Al anticipates that a considerable number of passengers will still purchase full-fare tickets in order to travel with relatives, friends, and companions, which will help the airline company recover some of its financial losses since October.

IDF reservists who travel using these special tickets will be granted priority boarding and be recognized with a dedicated announcement by in-flight service managers at the beginning of each flight.

The special El Al offer is intended to show gratitude to the thousands of IDF reservists and former soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces who left their jobs, families and, for some, even their vacations, to make their way back to Israel on Oct. 7, after Hamas terrorists stormed the Israel-Gaza border in a surprise attack, which left 1,200 dead and about 350 men, women, children and elderly individuals taken hostage into the Gaza Strip.

Many IDF former soldiers who were living in the U.S. at the time said they felt galvanized by the horrific attack on Israel’s southern border communities and did not hesitate to book their flight back to Israel to defend the homeland.

Reservists who returned to Israel to serve were quickly uprooted from their lives, with some struggling to find airline tickets as international carriers began canceling flights and as the number of seats available dwindled, prices began to soar.

Even before the ground operations in Gaza began, Israel had succeeded in mobilizing 300,000 soldiers, just 48 hours after the 'Black Shabbat' on Oct. 7. At the time, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari said the mobilization of reservists has been the largest and fastest in Israel’s history.

As the IDF has been lowering the intensity of the operations in Gaza over the last several weeks, reservists are now returning to their regular lives, which includes travel abroad.

El Al's free airfare deal serves as a gesture of gratitude to the reservists for their service, enabling soldiers and their companions to enjoy leisure travel to a variety of destinations in the upcoming year.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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