No – El Al is not using stealth technology on their planes, but they are trying to use stealth sneaky shady methods to steal poach the competition’s frequent flyer data. And they were not very shy about this disgraceful business tactic. From the Jerusalem Post:
El Al reached out to the travel agent community last month, requesting hard information on the frequent fliers of several airlines.
Their request was simple: “Send us your list of frequent fliers on the following airlines: British Airways, Continental, Delta, Lufthansa and Turkish Air. Send us their ID number, mailing address, cell phone number, email address, and birth date. Send us their complete travel plans rom 2008, indicating to where they flew with dates and cities.”
Now to be fair to El Al, the airline made it a competition among the travel agent community. The agent who sent the most names could win big money – $1,000.
The story was picked up quickly by international frequent flyer community. The general sentiment was that El Al was “Doing business the Israeli way”. And that link went out to 190,000 FlyerTalk subscribers. Just when our PR machine was recovering from an accused rapist President, a war that BBC did not find to their liking and a Prime Minister under investigation for more shady dealings than Spiro Agnew and Richard Nixon put together.
I guess the marketing guys forgot to ask the lawyers for their opinion beforehand (hey, at $300/hour can you blame them?) but the lawyers did put an end to this plan.
Hats off to:
1. The lawyers
2. The travel agents for not cooperating (they would have lost their licence)
3. Turkish Airlines (and others) for not making a shwarma out of ElAl’s management.
4. The Jerusalem Post for reporting this, and
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