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Ultra-Orthodox Passengers Accused of Delaying Flight

Ultra-Orthodox men and women were accused of causing over an hour delay on a Delta flight Monday night at JFK airport, when they de-boarded the plane rather than sit next to members of the opposite gender.

According to Haaretz, Delta flight 468 from New York to Tel Aviv was delayed when the ultra-orthodox passengers de-planed and had their baggage removed.

This is one of many flight delays over the last month occurring with ultra-Orthodox passengers refusing to sit next to the opposite gender.

In September, an El Al flight that landed in Israel on the morning of Erev Rosh Hashana was delayed in New York after ultra-Orthodox men assigned to sit next to women attempted to switch their seats.

The men who could not switch their seats stood up immediately upon takeoff and remained in place throughout the flight, crowding the aisles and inconveniencing fellow passengers and flight attendants, Ynet reported at the time.


  • 2. Such a chilul Hashem! wrote:

    if you have a problem of sitting next to a woman then book two tickets or dont fly at all!

    • 4. Milhouse wrote:

      How will booking two tickets help? There’s no guarantee that they’ll be next to each other. Whenever a plane is boarding there is always some swapping of seats on board, because that is the only way families and groups can be seated next to each other. Normal people happily accommodate such requests. Well, yidden wanting to be reseated for tznius reasons deserve the same courtesy and understanding. If you are asked to move, you can always say no, but there is no reason to be offended, and those who insist on being offended are anti-religious bigots.

      Think of it this way: if a woman said she was uncomfortable sitting next to a strange man, and asked to be reseated next to another woman, would anyone raise an eyebrow? What’s more, it is standard practice on every airline that if a man has been assigned a seat next to an unaccomanied minor, the crew will reseat him, whether he likes it or not. So why are the religious feelings of holy yidden not entitled to the same respect?

      There can be no question that it is *at least* a midas chassidus for a man to try not to sit next to a woman who is not related to him. That means if one ends up being assigned such a seat one should ask nicely to be reseated, or try to arrange it oneself by finding someone and asking them if they wouldn’t mind switching. If this proves impossible, then of course one must sit in ones seat for takeoff and landing, but when the seatbelt light is turned off one should get up and find somewhere to stand. Passengers on long flights are supposed to get up and walk around for a bit anyway; it’s dangerous to sit for the whole flight.

      The whole problem would go away if the airlines would allow people to arrange in advance to be seated next to a member of the same sex. They could have designated single-sex rows, or they could just record the sex of each passenger on the seating chart and use that.

      By the way, there is a well-known story from the 1930s by a passenger on a train from Paris to Warsaw, who saw a young man get up when a female passenger sat down in his compartment, and spend the rest of the long journey standing in the corridor, learning from a sefer. When they got off the train at Warsaw he found out that this young man was the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s son-in-law, i.e. our Rebbe.

  • 5. Upsete wrote:

    Instead of cursing him out from a secular view look at the Torah view according to the Torah we are not allowed to even speak to a woman how much more so on a flight when you could fall asleep and by mistake lean in her it’s a busha that people these days (even lubavitcher’s) are so against Judaism until calling it a chillul hashem!!!!

    • 7. Milhouse wrote:

      The point is that on a plane it’s unavoidable, so sitting next to a person of the opposite gender is *at least* praiseworthy, if not actually required.

  • 8. A Crown Heightser wrote:

    Don’t be so hasty to relay this story as is related above. Don’t rely on sources like Haaretz and Ynet when it comes to information about chareidim. Below is the true story, taken from

    אמש (שלישי) דווח במספר כלי תקשורת על עיכוב טיסה של חברת “דלתא איירליינס” מארה”ב לישראל, זאת עקב אי-רצונם של קבוצת חרדים לשבת בטיסה על יד נשים. על פי הדיווחים, לאחר דין ודברים ירדו מספר חרדים מהמטוס, אנשי החברה נאלצו להוציא את מזוודותיהם מבטן המטוס, ובשל כך עוכבה הטיסה.
    אלא שעדויות שהגיעו לידי “כיכר השבת” ממספר נוסעים ששהו על המטוס מציירות תמונה שונה בתכלית מזו שדווחה.
    “החברה פישלה והפילה את הפשלה הזו על הנוסעים החרדים” סיפר אחד הנוסעים החרדים שהיה על הטיסה ל”כיכר השבת”. לדבריו, “היה “אובר בוקינג” (רישום יתר של נוסעים צ.ג.) של כ-25 נוסעים על המטוס. כאשר אנשי החברה הבינו את מצב הביש אליהם נקלעו הם הציעו זיכוי של 1,000 דולר בחברה ושהייה במלון”.
    לדברי הנוסעים, “היו מספר אנשים שקפצו על המציאה והחליטו לרדת מהמטוס, אך עד שהצליחו למצוא את כל המתנדבים שירדו מהמטוס ולאחר מכן להוציא את המזוודות שלהם מהמטוס זה לקח כשעתיים”.
    בנוגע לטענות כי חרדים לא הסכימו לשבת על יד נשים וכתוצאה מכך עוכבה הטיסה, אומרים הנוסעים כי הדברים פשוט לא נכונים. “הייתה קבוצה גדולה של עשרות בחורי ישיבה חרדים על המטוס, וכמובן שהיו חילופי מקומות כפי שנהוג כמעט בכל טיסה. חלק מהבחורים סתם רצו לשבת על יד חבריהם, וייתכן שהיו גם כאלו שלא רצו לשבת על יד נשים. זו זכותם המלאה. אבל זה ממש לא הייתה הסיבה לעיכוב הטיסה, חילופי המקומות עברו באופן חלק למדי” הם טוענים.
    לדברי הנוסעים ששוחחו עם “כיכר השבת”, “אנחנו מוכנים ללכת עם זה לבית משפט. זה נראה כאילו החברה פישלה ואז החליטה להפיל את זה על הנוסעים החרדים. זו לא התנהלות מקובלת”.
    בחברה הגיבו אמש כי מדובר היה ב”טיסת דלתא איירליינס מספר 468 מניו יורק, שהיתה צפויה לנחות בנתב”ג בשעה 14.35 בצהריים, תגיע באיחור של כשעה ורבע לאור ירידה של מספר נוסעים מהמטוס בניו יורק בטרם המראה. נאלצנו לעכב את המראת המטוס כדי לאתר את מזוודותיהם ולהשיב להם אותם”.
    כל ניסיונותינו לקבל את תגובת החברה עלו בתוהו.

  • 9. Shliach wrote:

    Just had a front row seat to a similar unpleasant Chillul Hashem I was truly ashamed. Four so called charedim standing in the aisle holding up a departure. The non Jewish staff and passengers were clearly upset by this behaviour. In the end they had to give in as no passengers agreed to change places with them. This was a crowded flight most passengers non Jews on a tour with their galach. I was truly devastated by this.

  • 10. Wow wrote:

    The Hebrew version certainly tells a different story! The Kikar Shabbat version, that the flight was overbooked and the trouble started when large numbers of people gave up their seats and had to have luggage retrieved, and large numbers of others — including many bochurim — were nudged to change their seats, makes a lot of sense, since otherwise we’d see extremely frequent delays on these flights, whereas this one is rare enough to make the news. Obviously there were extenuating circumstances.

  • 11. tiredtaxpayer wrote:

    This is a very simple thing to fix – any person who refuses to sit where directed by cabin crew gets a lifetime ban on that airline (which they can do if they wish).
    You will see how fast they become quiet and docile.

  • 12. ridiculous wrote:

    This has happened a few times lately and it is a massive chillul Hashem, with absolutely no basis in halacha.

  • 13. Pinchos Woolstone wrote:

    If we courteously ask people to switch seat it happens.
    If we arrogantly make near demands we are rebuffed and things escalate into an argument and chilul hashem.

    • 14. crown heights resident wrote:

      I agree If we politely ask people to change seats it a mitzvah. If done in a rude arrogant way. Its a Chilul Hashem.

  • 15. as for me wrote:

    I don’t want to sit next to. GLBTs or Muslims or Tsfatis or Democrats, etc.
    Guess I better drive.

  • 17. Henya Laine wrote:

    To # 8
    What ever way you read the story it’s a CHILLUL HASHEM

    • 18. Milhouse wrote:

      When people are prepared to undergo discomfort and embarrassment for the sake of kedusha, it is a *kiddush* HaShem, not a chilul. If you imagine “chilul haShem” means “making waves”, or “upsetting the goyim”, then you need to study the subject. The definition of chilul haShem is compromising one’s yiddishkeit for the sake of complying with goyishe norms, and the definition of kiddush haShem is standing strong against those norms.

  • 19. Shliach wrote:

    To 11
    Not everyone wants to comply even if requested to do so in the finest manner. Families like to experience the flight together, some people want davka that particular place. A female family member once traveled to Chicago and a hulk of a man sat next to her. It was a very narrow plane, and he should have ordered two seats. During the entire flight she sat scrunched up, quite uncomfortable. Never did it occur to her to play musical chairs and create a stir. That’s where she was seated and that’s where she remained.

  • 21. YOSSI wrote:

    To #4: We don’t practice that brand of non-Judaism in Lubavitch or Crown Heights. Not allowed to talk to women? Did you ever watch the Rebbe through ONE line of dollars? How about in Yechidus? Have you ever been on a Mitzvah Tank and asked a woman to light Shabbos candles? Any other Mivtzoim? Are you out of your mind? You need to go back to B’nei Brak and don’t leave there. Certainly don’t get on a plane that can lead to, Oy Vei, speaking to a women about Hashem.

  • 22. its rude wrote:

    I agree with the above mentioned if you dont want to sit next to a woman you should coordinate with other males to buy seats together and if that is not possible then buy 2 seats but stop all the noise

  • 23. stupid wrote:

    when you fly in mid-flight you’re able to buy extra room seats and most times there is no one sitting next you want don’t they do that ?????.

  • 24. dovid wrote:

    airlines should make a lifetime ban for anyone holding up a plane it is so inconsiderate let alone a chilul hashem. book a isle seat, if you can sit near a female then dont fly take a boat…

  • 25. switched no problem wrote:

    Depending how it was done I saw a frum man ask politely the stewdess I actually moved why should a man have to sit next to someone who is hardly wearing any clothes if he asks politely its ok if hes rude he can get lost

  • 26. an imposter. wrote:

    Henya Laine never wrote anything. Someone is using my name in vain.
    Don’t hide behimnd a women just be a man and identify yourself.

  • 27. make accomodations! wrote:

    What’s the big deal to make accomodations for people.
    Just have certain seats for males and certain for females.
    The planes that travel to Israel are huge. so have different compartments for different genders.
    The airlines accomodate food requirements so do the same to people.
    Personally I feel VERY UNCOMFORTABLE to sit between to men.

  • 28. crown heights resident wrote:

    I would like to see this Israeli Newspaper publish such a story if the frum man would of been a religious Muslim

  • 29. wow! wrote:

    sitting next to a different gender is one avaira! making a chielul hashem on a plane in front of 50 people is 50!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so……..LETS DO THE MATH!!!!!


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