Israeli passengers on a recent Ryanair trip from Italy to Tel Aviv reportedly reacted angrily when the flight attendant mispronounced the destination as “Palestine,” demanding that she retract the statement or apologize.
According to passengers on board, the flight attendant repeatedly announced Palestine as the plane’s destination in both Italian and English. Some of the passengers were upset by the news, and the crew allegedly threatened to contact the police as a result.
In fact, many nations base their embassies and consulates in Tel Aviv rather than in Jerusalem due to diplomatic claims to the Holy City because of the city’s legal position as a part of Israel.
A Ryanair representative said that a “junior” flight attendant “mistakenly” called Tel Aviv Palestine, but claimed a senior crew member immediately corrected her and apologized for the error.
World Israel News reports that, despite appeals from some passengers for the crew to stop declaring that Tel Aviv was in Palestine, the flight attendant informed passengers that the aircraft was “approaching Palestine” with about 30 minutes remaining in the journey.
The flight attendant was subsequently photographed by a few passengers, generating a minor commotion within the aircraft. According to Israeli media reporting of the incident, the flight attendant was not wearing a name badge and declined to identify herself to passengers.
Some Israeli analysts have even demanded a boycott of the Irish low-cost carrier in response to the reported incident.
Currently, Ryanair offers flights to Tel Aviv from a large number of European destinations, including seven Italian airports like Bologna, Milan, Rome, and Venice.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Ryanair explained: “A junior crew member on this flight from Bologna to Tel Aviv (10 June) made a routine descent PA mistakenly saying Palestine instead of Tel Aviv”.