Israel tour delay for Yavneh pupils as El Al cancels flight

A mechanical problem was the reason the flight was cancelled, an El Al spokeswoman said


A group of excited Yavneh College pupils had to return home from Luton airport yesterday after their flight to Israel for the start of their summer tour was cancelled.

A spokeswoman for Israeli airline El Al said a “mechanical problem” was the reason behind the cancellation. It is believed about 120 students will fly at lunchtime today instead.

One father posted on Facebook on Sunday: “Thank you El Al Airline for spoiling our kids first day of Israel trip. Flight has been cancelled and kids are returning home to us tonight. Flight to be rescheduled for tomorrow.”



Marc Trainis, also a parent, tweeted: “@EL_AL_AIRLINES really disappointed that my daughters school trip from London to Israel has not started due to El Al cancelling their flight.

@EL_AL_AIRLINES tonight from Luton.. kids left on coaches full of excitement tonight, now having to come home and don't when they will be.

@EL_AL_AIRLINES travelling to Israel.. El Al brace yourselves, 120 kids parents with compensation claims coming your way tomorrow morning.”

In a statement, Spencer Lewis, Yavneh headteacher, said: "I can confirm that while our school Year 9 Israel Trip was due to fly to Tel Aviv last night, the flight from Luton was cancelled for technical reasons.

"El Al have been extremely helpful and have put the 120 students plus staff on a flight this afternoon and all the pupils are extremely excited about this very special trip which they have been looking forward to for so long.

"Yavneh College Israel Trip lasts for two-and-a-half weeks, providing the pupils with a first opportunity to tour Israel from top to bottom and to really appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of the land."

A spokesperson for El Al said: "Due to a technical problem the flight from Luton was cancelled. El Al is operating a special flight from Luton at around 1pm to fly the passengers to Israel."

Today’s flight, re-scheduled for 1.30pm, was yet to take off more than an hour later. The children had been sitting on the plane while four other flights scheduled in front of them, each took off.

The plane the children were due to fly on did not arrive in Luton after its flight from Tel Aviv to the UK, scheduled for 7pm local time last night, was cancelled due to a technical problem. Hundreds of passengers were stranded in Israel, and had to arrange accommodation overnight.

Simon Bernstein, whose son attends Yavneh College, said he was initially told the flight was delayed. 

He said: “Unfortunately they have now missed a whole day but I guess if there is a technical issue with a plane then there is not much that people can do. No point moaning really."

Another parent said she was informed of the cancellation at 10pm on Sunday, and that El Al would arrange transport home for the children. However this was reversed, with parents told an hour-and-a-half later they would have to travel to pick up their children on Sunday night.

She said: “My daughter was very tired when she got home and nervous this morning but happy to be going. She was nervous about going as she has never been away so long, and got over it yesterday and then had to deal with it again today.

"The school handled this amazingly, looking after the kids fantastically and arranging another flight so quickly."

Lauren Ross, who works at the JC, was left stranded in Tel Aviv after being told her flight was cancelled, despite an attempt to take off, at 12.30am.

She said she then had to scramble to book a replacement flight for today and a hotel room for last night. At least one passenger fainted while waiting to book another flight, with the temperature outside reaching 38 degrees.

She said: “It’s been a nightmare. Some people didn’t manage to get another flight. We didn’t get to the hotel until 4.30am. It’s absolute chaos.

“Then we were told today the flight was over-booked, so again some people didn’t get to go home. Everyone has work to get back to. And they switched us to Heathrow, instead of Luton, and haven’t offered us transport.

“One girl fainted in the queue. It was 38 degrees outside, and there was no air conditioning. You can only imagine how hot it was in here.”

  • Was your child affected by this flight cancellation? Please contact our reporter Ben Weich at to tell your story.  

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