Kuwait Airways has payed substantial damages plus costs to an Israeli woman after refusing to sell her a flight ticket due to her nationality.
“Kuwait Airways has agreed to pay substantial damages plus costs to an Israeli National who was refused a ticket on a Kuwait Airways flight from London to Bangkok on the grounds of her nationality,” the UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) published on its website, having helped the plaintiff Ms. Mandy Blumenthal.
Despite agreeing to pay Ms. Blumenthal for her claim, Kuwait Airways did not admit liability.
The payment came after Ms. Blumenthal was denied a return ticket last December from London’s Heathrow airport to Thailand with a stopover in Kuwait.
Video of the incident shows a Kuwait Airways ticket clerk repeatedly refusing to meet her request, insisting “Israeli passport holders are not permitted to travel on Kuwait Airways”.
An attorney for Ms. Blumenthal, David Berens, said the carrier would now have to decide whether to end the discriminatory anti-Israel practice or dissolve its UK routes entirely.
“The law is clear: direct discrimination on grounds of nationality in the provision of a service to the public is illegal. Ms Blumenthal has done a service in showing up Kuwait Airways’ illegal policy. Kuwait Airways is now legally obliged to end this policy or end its services from the UK altogether,” he said.
There have been several other complaints against Kuwait Airways and its anti-Israel policy at other global destinations.
The Lawfare Project, a legal think tank and litigation fund that works against anti-Semitism, filed a complaint against Kuwait Airways’ trans-Atlantic service in 2015.
Following representations, the U.S. Department of Transportation ordered the airline to allow Israelis on its flights from the U.S. to London Heathrow or risk termination of its U.S. operations.
“The US Department of Transportation will not tolerate unlawful discrimination, and has mandated that the airline immediately cease that practice and allow Israeli passengers to travel between the U.S. and London,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said when he announced the move.
In response, Kuwait Airways cancelled all flights from New York to London.
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