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United Airlines flight to Israel canceled citing a 'curfew' which apparently did not exist

While "a curfew" was blamed for the flight cancellation, passengers said they were initially told the crew refused to fly to Israel

Illustrative - A United Airlines plane (Photo: Reginald Mathalone/NurPhoto)

A United Airlines flight from Newark, New Jersey, to Tel Aviv was canceled Saturday night after the airline cited a "curfew" which did not exist at Ben-Gurion International Airport, according to several news reports.

United Airlines Flight 84 was supposed to land in Israel during the Israel Defense Forces’ ongoing Operation Breaking Dawn against Palestinian Islamic Jihad forces this weekend which saw more than 1,000 rockets and mortar fire launched into Israel from the Gaza-based PIJ. 

The passengers were given conflicting reasons for the delay that ultimately turned in to a cancelation.

While passengers were boarding the flight, the boarding was stopped and the passengers already on board were told to leave the plane.

Inside the terminal, the passengers heard an announcement that the flight was being delayed until 7 a.m. the following day because the crew refused to fly to Israel due to the security situation.

“I was waiting for the UA84 flight with my kids … but there was a feeling that something wasn’t okay since boarding began – but was slow,” Gil Eyal, another passenger on the grounded flight told Israel’s Channel 12 News.

“Suddenly, the United representative announced that the flight was canceled. She stressed that the reason was that the crew was refusing to take off,” Eyal said.

Later, Eyal said he demanded an explanation on the United Airlines’ official Twitter account. In its response, United changed the reason for the delay, saying it was not because of the crew’s refusal to fly but rather because of a “flight curfew” and “in light of the security situation.” 

However, no such curfew existed. The Jerusalem Post reported that a Ben-Gurion Airport spokesperson said: "There is no curfew. At all."

Due to rockets being fired from Gaza – some of which reached the Tel Aviv area – flight paths into and out of the airport were changed. However, flights continued to operate as usual and a curfew was not put in place during the three-day confrontation.

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

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