As the fighting between Israel an Hamas intensified, U.S. commercial carriers suspended their flights in and out of Tel Aviv. American Airlines announced the cancellation of all flights to and from Ben Gurion Airport through Dec. 4 and Delta Air Lines said it would suspend all flights to and from Israel through the remainder of this month, while United Airlines has discontinued service indefinitely. Carriers from other parts of the world have also temporarily stopped direct flights to and from Israel.
Despite the scarcity of flights, there are still hundreds of Americans who are trying to exit Israel. As of Friday, October 13th, the US government has begun arranging charter flights to assist U.S. citizens and their immediate family members who have been unable to book commercial transit and seek a safe means of departing Israel.
However it’s now not just planes that are helping Americans leave.
Most cruise companies, including Royal Caribbean Group, have also temporarily stopped cruises from Israel. However the United States State Department recently requested Royal Caribbean’s assistance in evacuating Americans. With that, Rhapsody of the Seas was at the Port of Haifa in the early morning hours of Monday, October 16th.
The U.S. Embassy in Israel issued a statement that boarding would begin on Monday at 8am local time and Rhapsody would move the Americans to Limassol, Cyprus.
As per a report by The Times of Israel, dozens of U.S. citizens and their spouses were in line to board the ship in Haifa.
The journey was estimated to take roughly 10-12 hours, and food and Wi-Fi would be offered.
Once in Cyprus, Americans would be responsible for arranging their own accommodations and onward travel from Cyprus (however if they were unable to find transportation to the U.S., chartered flights were also in the midst of being arranged).
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