Swiss Air Lines In-Flight Map of Tel Aviv Stirs Controversy on Twitter

Oct 4, 2018

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Passengers aboard Swiss International Air Lines flight LX252 from Switzerland to Tel Aviv were surprised (and not pleased) to see the appearance of “Esh Sheikh Muwannis” on the onboard flight map in place of “Tel Aviv.”

The original poster of the photo has since deleted the tweet. But StandWithUs, a nonprofit pro-Israel organization, tweeted at the airline for a response as to why the name was put on the in-flight map. Some Israel supporters and citizens took offense to the name as it was in place of Tel Aviv, the largest Israeli city, and took to social media to express their opinions prompting Swiss to issue a public apology.

Yet, there were still some unanswered questions. Some users prompted others to start a Swiss boycott as well.

In a statement to TPG, a Swiss spokesperson stated that the airline has been using the same, standardized products from a map provider that show selected places, cities and villages along routes “independent of its location” for 25 years with no issue. “Knowing of the situation in the Middle East and based on the experience that it is not possible to suit every guest on board, we have a procedure in place that ensures that the map is turned off manually by the crew at least 30 minutes before arriving in Tel Aviv. This way, the display as shown in the photo doesn’t come up,” said the spokesperson. “In this particular case, obviously and unfortunately, the map was not turned off in time.”

Swiss also noted that Tel Aviv was not “replaced” by Esh Sheikh Muwannis, but just put on the map below the name. As a privately owned company, they aim to remain “politically neutral.” Esh Sheikh Muwannis was an Arab village in what is now part of Tel Aviv.

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel; it is the largest city, but the capital is Jerusalem.

Featured image provided by @StandWithUs via Twitter

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