Austrian Airlines pilot leaves cockpit after Charedi men refuse to sit next to women
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Austrian Airlines pilot leaves cockpit after Charedi men refuse to sit next to women

Morning flight from Tel Aviv to Vienna delayed after pilot has to try and convince several women to change seats

Austrian Airlines plane
Austrian Airlines plane

The pilot of an Austrian Airlines flight had to leave the cockpit and convince several women to change their seats after Charedi  men refused to sit next to female passengers.

The Friday morning flight from Tel Aviv to Vienna left 40 minutes late and was delayed for another half hour in Austrian airspace after failing to miss the morning rush hour, Ynet reported.

The 26 Charedi  men had been scheduled to fly to Vienna on the Polish national airline LOT, but when that flight was cancelled moved to the Austrian Airlines flight.

Stewardesses on the flight reportedly tried to convince the men to take their assigned seats but those next to women refused. Eventually, the pilot came out and convinced several women to move their seats, Ynet reported.

Austrian Airlines said in a statement: “We regret any inconvenience which may have been caused to our passengers. The flight was delayed due to the boarding and seating of passengers of the LOT airline whose flight had been cancelled and who boarded the plane at the last moment. Since it was a large group of passengers, 26 people, the cabin crew did everything in its power to help the passengers as much as it could.”

The incident comes a week after an El Al flight from New York to Israel was delayed by more than an hour after four Charedi  men refused to take their assigned seats next to women. Two women eventually agreed to change their seats in order to allow the flight to take off.

Days later, the company CEO announced that the airline will “immediately” remove any passenger who refuses to sit next to another passenger for any reason, hours after a major Israeli tech company announced it would no longer fly its employees on the airline due to gender discrimination.

One year ago, an Israeli court ruled that El Al cannot ask women to move seats to accommodate a man who does not want to sit next to a woman. The court was responding to a lawsuit filed by a female Holocaust survivor in her 80s.

Austrian Airlines responded on Twitter on Monday saying: we are aware of the reports concerning an OS 860 incident involving passengers. According to our internal investigation, the flight was delayed due to the late arrival of another flight with passengers to Tel Aviv. After all, discussions concerning the seat selection keep happening from time to time on board. We cannot confirm that any female passenger was asked for a voluntary seat change and our flight attendants found a satisfactory solution for all passengers concerning the seating.”

 

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