The Knesset's Economic Affairs Committee has approved, during a first reading debate on Tuesday, a bill which states that passengers are to be reimbursed for damages sustained due to a flight's delay or cancellation.
A delay of eight hours or more will be considered as a flight cancellation and will entitle travellers to receive compensation above and beyond the reimbursement for their flight ticket.
The bill also relates to passengers whose flight has been delayed from five to eight hours. In these cases, passengers will be entitled to expense returns such as hotel accommodation and travel fare to and from the hotel. In the same way, passengers whose flight has been delayed for over two hours will receive food and beverages, two outgoing phone calls and be entitled to send an e-mail or fax notification.
Compensation will also be given if a passenger was downgraded [to a lower flight class]. In such cases the compensation will reflect the flight's destination.
The Committee also agreed with MK Carmel Shama-Hacohen's [Likud] suggestion to set a permanent formula that defines the scope of compensation: in flights consisting of up to 2,000 kilometers passengers will receive 50 percent of their overall flight fare; in flights of 2,000 to 4,500 kilometers passengers will be entitled to 75 percent compensation and a person booked to fly over 4,500 kilometers will be fully reimbursed. It was also agreed that the compensation will be passed on to the passenger within 14 days.
The law, if it passes the Knesset's second and third readings, will refer to internal flights as well.
Unless Israel's Transport Minister Yisrael Katz sets specific circumstances under which internal flight passengers are entitled to cash compensation, the said passengers will be entitled to assistance services only [food, beverages and phone calls].