STARING at an airline’s route map can cause the heart to flutter. It seems to divide the world into two distinct groups, between memories and possibilities. But on some carriers’ maps, a third classification exists: the non-existent.
Many airlines’ route maps show every country in the world. Those that do not usually illustrate their network by showing only those cities and countries served by the airline. But a few are more selective still, omitting only a single country from their worldview: Israel.
A new paper*, which is currently under peer review, by Joel Waldfogel and Paul Vaaler, both of the University of Minnesota, looks into the phenomenon. The pair classified 111 of the world’s international airlines depending on how they treat Israel on their online route maps. Outside the Middle East, all dealt with it consistently: either Israel was shown as part of a comprehensive map, or it its inclusion was dependent on whether the airline served the country.
Not so for those based in the Middle East. Here, many airlines simply erase Israel’s name off otherwise comprehensive maps (this is often done by amending a Google map). Examples of such...Continue reading