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I recently flew from JFK to Tel AViv with a stop at Rome. Our flight from New York was delayed by 6 hours. They told us it's because the plane had to turn back to Rome because of a medical emergency. As a result, they also had to reschedule our connection flight from Rome to Tel Aviv.

We landed at Rome 20 minutes before the connection flight, but they refused to let us on board, saying they have already sold our tickets. They rescheduled our flight (again) to 8 hours later.

Eventually, instead of landing in Tel Aviv at 14:00pm, we landed at 03:00am.

Alitalia is refusing to compensate, claiming the airport at JFK caused the delay (which isn't what we were told at that day).

I live in Israel and they have offices here. What can I do? I don't want to use any website that takes 25% of the compensation.

Should I simply file a lawsuit?

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    As far as EU compensations rules are concerned (I think they apply here?), whether the airport was responsible isn't relevant per se. The question is whether a medical emergency counts as “extraordinary circumstance”. Technical issues do not, and the EU website even mentions the collision between mobile stairs and the aircraft (a typical airport issue) as something that would not free the airline from its obligations. But it does not mention isolated health emergencies either way… – Relaxed Aug 7 '17 at 15:49
  • The airline officially claims (by their email response) that the delay was because of a "Operations Control" at JFK, which they claim is included under extraordinary circumstances. The question is I should simply sue them – Guy Manzur Aug 7 '17 at 16:01
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    If you really want to go to all the trouble, you need to ask the right questions. Primarily, what was the exact reason for the inbound delay to JFK. Then, you need to figure out if that is the airline's responsibility. If the TLV flights operated normally, you likely have no recourse there. JFK very often has a flow control scheme due to thunderstorms and I can't in good conscious hold the airline responsible for a medical diversion. – Johns-305 Aug 7 '17 at 17:45
  • The fact is that the airline is lying. They gave us 2 different reasons. The injustice that was done was worse on the Rome to TLV flight - they refused to let us board the plane, despite the fact it was on the ground and other people were boarding it in front of our eyes. My question is not whether I deserve compensations or not, but how do I get the compensation I deserve by law. – Guy Manzur Aug 7 '17 at 20:53
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    Please understand, there's a lot more going on than you see. The airline staff, they're just people too, are not 'lying'. The last delay reason they see for the flight may very well be due to flow control in to or out of JFK. This happens all the time. They'd have to look further back to see the medical diversion. "We landed at Rome 20 minutes before the connection flight" - then you probably landed after the airline has to submit the final manifest to European and Israeli authorities. There is nothing the airline can do about this. – Johns-305 Aug 7 '17 at 21:43
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Israel has its own law regarding compensations for delays and cancellations. Here is a summary from Delta. For an arrival of more than 8hr late you're eligible for 3070 NIS. No need to involve EU rules at all.

So just file a written compensation request against their Tel Aviv offices, and if refused, go to a small claims court. Do not waste your time emailing them if they are not cooperating.

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