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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fly the friendly skies

It was recently reported that El Al entered into a joint marketing agreement with Jet Blue. Upon signing the agreement, the following letter was sent to Jet Blue employees (Hat Tip: Leah L).
Dear JetBlue employees:

Welcome to the El Al family — or as we say in Hebrew, Bruchim haba’im! We’re so excited about our new partnership. We here at Israel’s national air carrier are eager to make this transition as smooth as possible and thought it would be helpful to sensitize you to some of the cultural differences you may encounter with your new customer base.

Of course, we had planned to write this memo even before reading about the unfortunate incident involving Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant who gave new meaning to the term “flight risk.” We here at El Al take very seriously his violations of federal law, which include using the plane’s P.A. system to curse at a rude customer, grabbing two beers from the galley, sliding down the inflatable emergency chute, and sprinting toward home. We have instructed our employees that Mr. Slater is not a role model, going so far as to ask our flight attendants to remove the eight-by-10 photographs of Mr. Slater that had been adorning their lockers. Ditto the “I’m with Steve-O” buttons some had taken to wearing.

However, to avoid a repeat of the Slater incident, we wanted to introduce you to some of the, shall we say, unique aspects of a flight to Israel. To wit:

Security lines: Passengers are instructed to arrive at the airport six hours before a flight. This may seem excessive, but Israel’s crack security service demands it on the theory that no terrorist would be dedicated enough to spend six hours in a crowd of Jews. Kidding! The six-hour time period allows our security team to ask essential questions of our passengers, including “Do you have family in Israel? Where do they live? What is the purpose of your visit?” It also allows time for the person behind you in line to ask the very same questions, in even greater detail. What you might call “intrusive rudeness” is merely what our people call “Jewish geography.”

Luggage: We allow each passenger to stow luggage weighing up to 6,000 pounds. Again, this may seem generous by American standards, but it is in response to our passengers’ need to bring books for their cousins in B’nei Brak, appliances for their neighbors’ in-laws in French Hill, and industrial-size boxes of M & M’s for Israeli soldiers.

Boarding: We board our flights for maximum efficiency, in the following order: Families with young children, families with six or more young children, families with eight or more young children, individuals with physical limitations, individuals with aches and pains that may be something but they won’t know until they see a specialist, individuals who cut in line, and gentiles.

Carry-on luggage: You may not think a double stroller, six Borsalino hat boxes, and a Samsung flat-screen television are able to fit in an overhead bin, but please don’t underestimate our passengers. During this portion of the flight it might be a good idea for flight attendants to retreat to the galley and have a beer. Or two.
Read the whole thing.


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