All UK airlines have now suspended flights to and from Israel. Wizz Air and easyJet “paused” operations serving Tel Aviv shortly after the Hamas assault on Israel began. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic continued to fly from London Heathrow to Ben Gurion international airport up to 11 October. Both airlines have now suspended the route.
Virgin Atlantic operated a round-trip on 11 October. But on the same day a British Airways jet diverted safely back to Heathrow shortly before the planned touchdown in Tel Aviv – a 5,000-mile “flight to nowhere”.
A BA spokesperson said: “Safety is always our highest priority and following the latest assessment of the situation we’re suspending our flights to and from Tel Aviv.
“We’re contacting customers booked to travel to or from Tel Aviv to apologise for the inconvenience and offer options including a full refund and rebooking with another airline or with British Airways at a later date. We continue to monitor the situation in the region closely.”
On social media, a notion that all flights from Tel Aviv are fully booked is taking hold.
Adam Hayes wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: “My family and I (including two young kids) are still stuck in Israel … with no way out. All US and most European flights are cancelled. Those that remain have been sold out for days, and for days into the future. We are at a loss.”
But The Independent has found flights that are available – at a price – on every day up to and including Sunday 14 October.
The national carrier, El Al, continues to fly largely normally. On Thursday morning alone it departed from Tel Aviv to London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Madrid, Munich, Venice, Paris, New York, Miami and Boston.
At the same time, there were departures to:
- Addis Ababa on Ethiopian Airlines
- Athens on Cyprus Airways
- Bucharest on Tarom
- Istanbul on Pegasus
- Larnaca on Arkia
For immediate departure, Cyprus Airways was selling seats to Larnaca for £320. Many options for onward travel to the UK are available from Cyprus.
On Friday on Etihad, travellers can fly from Tel Aviv via Abu Dhabi to London for $978 (£793).
On Saturday, the Cypriot airline Tus Air has two flights from Tel Aviv to Larnaca. The first is sold out, but the second has seats for €340 (£293).
On Sunday, the best option appears to be on Tarom via Bucharest to London Heathrow for £411.