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How Dan Dealt

By Rachel Bachrach

It all started last Monday morning, when Daniel Eleff noticed a post on his website’s forum about super-cheap flights to Israel. The $330-price looked pretty incredible, so Daniel, who runs the popular bargain site Dan’s Deals, tested it out and posted it to his main page and social media site. It was then sent to 5,000 subscribers, many of whom get text messages with updates.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

From there, the news spread like wildfire: El Al flights between November and March from several cities in America, including New York, were going for less than $400 on some sites. Getting the airline’s winter special at $800 is a good deal – it’s usually closer to $900 or $1000 – so this was indeed a bargain.

Within about an hour, Dan’s Deals was flooded. The site usually gets 30,000 hits daily, but on Monday, so many people — 135,000, to be exact — visited for information and updates, his server couldn’t handle the traffic and he had to take it down.

“It just snowballed,” the 27-year-old Cleveland resident says with a grin.

El Al hasn’t confirmed the number, but rumor has it that more than 5,000 tickets were booked via Expedia, Orbitz, and other agencies. Daniel booked tickets for Pesach. (He ended up cancelling them because the trip didn’t work with his schedule.) Daniel also booked two flights for his Israeli contractor, one for a visit, another for Yom Tov. “I called him over right away,” Daniel says. “Right now he’s very happy he’s working for me!”

He knows someone who called El Al and told a manager he felt bad taking advantage of the price. “The manager told him, ‘Don’t worry about it, enjoy Eretz Yisrael.’ ” Later, hundreds of people posted that they had booked, some for 25 family members to attend a well-timed simchah.

 

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