'We will shortly be arriving in Palestine': Ryanair ‘courageous’ announcement on Tel Aviv flight praised
Pro-Palestine activists have applauded a "courageous" Ryanair flight attendant who announced to passengers several times last week that a flight bound for Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv would be landing in Palestine.
Passengers say an announcement onboard a flight by the Irish carrier from Bologna in Italy to Tel Aviv "repeatedly described their final destination as Palestine" in both Italian and English, according to Israeli media.
When some angry travellers confronted the cabin crew on camera, they were told to return to their seats or face arrest on touchdown.
@Ryanair has apologized to @simonwiesenthal over the crew member who said "welcome to Palestine", on a flight landing in Tel Aviv, Israel.— Joel M. Petlin (@Joelmpetlin) June 16, 2023
Do you believe the CEO when he claims that it was an "innocent mistake" or do you believe it was a deliberate provocation? pic.twitter.com/Xh06YeK1Gs
Ryanair was contacted by The New Arab for comment, but has since made the following statement:
"A junior crew member on this flight from Bologna to Tel Aviv (10 June) made a routine descent public announcement mistakenly saying 'Palestine' instead of 'Tel Aviv'.
"This was an innocent mistake with no intent and was immediately corrected and apologised for by the senior crew member on board."
The flight attendant who made the announcement has not publicly confirmed whether this was an act of solidarity with Palestinians suffering under Israeli occupation or, as Ryanair claimed, a simple mistake.
Some Israelis have accused Ryanair of "anti-Semitism" and called for a boycott of Ryanair until a "proper" apology is issued.
The @Ryanair staff member was right of course. “Lod” is actually Lydda. Surely you know about the Lydda Death March to Jordan? More than 50K Palestinians expelled from Lydda and Ramle in ‘48. Order signed by Rabin. It’s not forgotten. #Palestine #IsraeliCrimes #FreePalestine https://t.co/OYV7FvrTU8— Sadaka (@SadakaIreland) June 15, 2023
Pro-Palestine activists in Ireland and beyond have been quick to show their support for the flight attendant.
"The Ryanair staff member was right of course," said the Irish-Palestinian solidarity group Sadaka.
"Lod is actually Lydda. Surely you know about the Lydda Death March to Jordan? More than 50,000 Palestinians were expelled from Lydda and Ramle in ‘48. Order signed by Rabin. It’s not forgotten."
"Please DO fly Ryanair! The Irish continue their famous solidarity with Palestine. Not a huge deal, but still a nice gesture. And it gets Zionists upset so that's cool," tweeted Eli Gerzon.
Ryanair flies more than 200 flights a week into Israeli airspace - with Tel Aviv a popular destination of the Irish carrier's network.