If you are flying with oxygen, you might want to stay away from El-Al, the national carrier of Israel.
Israel’s national airline has apologized to President Shimon Peres after attempting to charge him nearly $5,000 to bring an oxygen tank on an official trip to Canada.
Israeli media reported last week that Peres opted to fly with Air Canada because El Al, for the first time, wanted to charge the 88-year-old president for the oxygen tank.
According to protocol, an oxygen tank and other medical equipment is mandatory whenever an Israeli president or prime minister flies abroad.
El Al spokeswoman Anat Friedman said Sunday that the airline sent Peres an apology. But it arrived too late — Peres had already booked his trip with Air Canada.
Air Canada not only offered a lower-priced ticket, but allows the onboard storage of oxygen for no additional cost.
The Peres aspect of this story is novel, but the real news here is that equipment costs vary dramatically from one airline to another outside the United States. I checked each of the major U.S. airlines and there is no fee on American, Delta, United, US Airways, and Southwest for the use of oxygen onboard, as long as it is carried in the form of a concentrator and manufactured by a certified vendor.
El-Al is a good airline, but already one of the most expensive in the skies. Adding a $4,700 fee for oxygen, though, makes an expensive ticket an obscene one.