United Extends Elite Status for Travelers Affected by Tel Aviv Cuts

United Extends Elite Status for Travelers Affected by Tel Aviv Cuts

DALLAS United Airlines (UA) has announced that it will extend frequent flyer elite status for travelers affected by the carrier’s suspension of flights to Tel Aviv. UA joined other US airlines in suspending flights to Israel following Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel on October 7, 2023.

For travelers granted a status extension, their elite status tier will be valid through January 31, 2025, with no additional flying required. Moreover, those who are Premier 1K or Premier Platinum members and have not qualified will still receive a deposit of their standard quota of PlusPoints (280 for 1K members and 40 for Platinum members) once the status extension is processed in January. 

UA has not specified what customers will be targeted for the status extension; that being said, it will include customers based in Israel and those who frequently fly to Tel Aviv on United. Many affected members have reported receiving an email from UA on Tuesday extending their elite status.

The Chicago-based carrier had the largest presence among US airlines at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport (TLV). It was the second-largest airline serving the United States-Israel market behind Israeli flag carrier El Al (LY). Before the war broke out, United connected Tel Aviv with Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Newark Liberty (EWR), Washington Dulles (IAD), and San Francisco (SFO).

El Al is now the only airline flying between the United States and Israel, as American Airlines (AA), Delta Air Lines (DL), and United all indefinitely suspended flights to Israel in October following the surprise attack on Israel by Hamas. LY continues to operate flights to the United States, serving Boston (BOS), New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), Miami (MIA), and Los Angeles (LAX). Even though LY continues to operate in the United States, there is no timeline for when US airlines will return to Israel.

United Airlines N27964 Boeing 787-9. Photo: Yifei Yu/Airways

Israeli Market 

Since the country’s safety situation has worsened, many international carriers have canceled flights to and from Israel. El Al, Arkia (IZ), and Israir (6H) continue to operate flights and serve as a necessary air bridge connecting Israel to Asia, Europe, and North America.

American Airlines suspended its daily flights to Israel and entered into a temporary re-accommodation agreement to move passengers onto LY. Meanwhile, other carriers such as United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Lufthansa (LH), LOT Polish Airlines (LO), British Airways (BA), Austrian Airlines (OS), and Brussels Airlines (SN) are among the twenty-plus airlines to suspend flights to Israel since October 8.

El Al has stated that since the war began on October 7, it has flown more than 350,000 passengers and continues to operate regular flights to destinations including New York (EWR and JFK), Madrid (MAD), Athens (ATH), and Los Angeles (LAX).

Arkia and Israir also continue to operate flights to destinations across Europe, including Larnaca (LCA), Athens (ATH), and Rome (FCO), among others.

Featured image: N13014 United Airlines Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner. Photo: Nick Sheeder/Airways

Online Deputy Editor
Airways Online Deputy Editor Joshua Kupietzky has a passion for aviation and deep expertise in the aviation industry. He’s been enamored with the facts and figures of the airline industry and the details of the make and model of commercial aircraft for as long as he can remember. Based in Chicago, US. Follow him on Instagram, @jbkaviation

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