Shabbat email kept me off missing Malaysia plane

By Lauren Davidson, March 13, 2014

A man has claimed he decided not to take the Malaysia Airlines flight that disappeared last Saturday because of a “miraculous” intervention by his observant travel agent.

The man, known only as Andy, said he had asked the agent to book him a seat on flight MH370, which vanished with 239 passengers and crew on board.

The travel agent, who has also chosen to remain anonymous, refused, saying in an email: “You know I just don’t like Jews flying on Shabbat.” Andy eventually agreed to take an earlier flight.

The email exchange was published on the website of the agency, Dan’s Deals, by its founder, Dan Eleff.

According to the messages, when Andy heard about the air crash, he wrote: “Holy God. You sure heard what happened to MH370. I cannot stop thinking about this. This is a true miracle for the books. You are a true life saver.”

In January, Andy emailed his travel agent asking him to book four flights for a round trip from Australia through several cities in Asia. One of the legs he requested was from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8.

He specifically asked for a Beijing-bound flight that would land early morning on Saturday, so he could get to a 3pm conference in Fangshan, China. The agent found him Malaysia Airlines flight 370, departing from Kuala Lumpur at 12.35am and landing at 6.30am. But he booked it for Friday morning, rather than Saturday.

“One amendment, I need the KUL-PEK flight a day later,” Andy told him. “I need the extra day in Kuala.” The travel agent refused, saying: “I wish I can give you a day later.”

Andy said he would book that leg himself, but a few hours later emailed the agent again with a change of heart.

He said: “You are right I should be more observant, I’ll manage without that day in Kuala.”

Last Saturday, when Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared two hours after departing Kuala Lumpur, Andy was already in Beijing.

While the outcome was evidently good news for him, some visitors to Dan’s Deals website left derogatory comments. One, calling himself Non fanatic Jew, wrote: “What are you implying? That God wants to kill all the goyim and only keep the Orthodox fanatics?”

Mr Eleff used a blog post to say he never meant to imply that God struck the plane down because of Shabbat.

He said the story “was only an attempt to shine a small glimmer of light into the darkness”.

Last updated: 12:28pm, March 13 2014