With the Israeli ground assault in Gaza now in its fifth day and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 still very fresh in everyone's mind, American air carriers have suspended their regularly scheduled flights to Israel for at least 24 hours. Delta, United, and US Airways made the decision to stop shuttling people to and from the war zone on Tuesday, after the FAA issued a warning about a Hamas rocket, "which landed approximately one mile from [Tel Aviv's] Ben Gurion International Airport." Lufthansa, Air France, and KLM soon followed suit.
The Associated Press reports that Delta's one daily flight from New York to Tel Aviv, which was already in the air when the FAA made its announcement, turned around somewhere over the Mediterranean and headed to Paris instead. (It could be worse!) On Twitter, the airlines' grounded customers seemed more understanding than people generally are when discussing indefinite flight delays on social media:
An hour out of Tel Aviv - just told rocket landed near BG airport. Being diverted to Paris.— john vause (@vausecnn) July 22, 2014
Now being told by Air France desk that Ben Gurion has been closed to all flights.— john vause (@vausecnn) July 22, 2014
I hope united suspends flights to Israel so I can stay longer— Lee (@MonsterMash1989) July 22, 2014
Well, looks like I'll be here for a while. My flight back home to Israel has been canceled till further notice.— Dov J. Aloof (@FiendRiver) July 22, 2014
Israel itself seemed considerably more upset by the situation. A statement released by the country's Transportation Ministry read, in part, "Ben-Gurion Airport is safe and completely guarded and there is no reason whatsoever that American companies would stop their flights and hand terror a prize." Some might disagree, but "better safe than sorry" seems like a pretty good reason to avoid the area for now.