Ukraine International Airlines to pay passengers after employees voice antisemitism

Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) will compensate a couple of passengers with NIS 5,000 after its representatives allegedly voiced antisemitic remarks and prevented them from boarding a flight from Vienna to Tel Aviv.

According to the lawsuit that was submitted to the Small Claims Court in Rishon LeZion, Israel, UIA employees humiliated the passengers publically and delayed their luggage, resulting in them missing the flight.

The flight was meant to depart Vienna and land in Tel Aviv. The passengers, who never boarded the flight, claimed that the reason was overbooking by the company. However, Ukraine Airlines responded by saying that the passengers didn’t board the flight because they refused to pay the extra fee for their overweight handbag.

And while the court received the airline’s claim in this regard, it also accepted the couple’s claim for experiencing public humiliation “in a way that suggests that they were humiliated because of their religion and country of origin,” senior court registrar Dalia Astreicher said.

According to the report by Globes, the couple made their way to the boarding gate, where they were asked to weigh their hand luggage, like the rest of the passengers. The couple claimed that they were notified of an excess of 100 grams. They then decided to remove a coat from their handbag and move it to their trolley suitcase to avoid the €60 fine.

That’s when they claim they were met with racist and antisemitic comments from the airline’s employees, including comments like “why do Jews always have issues with paying?” and “It’s only €60 and the Jews have a problem paying it.” The couple said that the remarks were made in English, while other passengers and employees were laughing in the background.

UIAsaid that the passengers were the ones who were rude and “raised their voices, insulted the company’s representatives and disrupted the boarding process of other passengers while ignoring attempts by the company’s staff to clam the spirits.”

The airline also said that the airport’s security officers were called to the scene “to restore order.”

Astreicher noted that despite the airline’s denial of its representatives voicing antisemitic comments, it accepted the couple’s claim and ordered that the airline compensate each passenger with NIS 2,000 (506€) and an additional NIS 1,000 (253€) for the couple’s delayed luggage, which was not removed from the flight that they eventually missed – a total of NIS 5,000 (1268€).

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