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TWA Grants Former Hostage Mileage Credit For Hijack Trip

July 20, 1985

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Trans World Airlines has credited a former TWA hostage for the miles he traveled when hijacked Flight 847 was flown four times between Algeria and Lebanon, airline officials say.

Larry Hilliard, director of corporate communications for TWA, said Friday that Debra Toga, wife of former hostage Arthur Toga, had inquired about credit for the mileage under TWA’s Frequent Flyer program.

Mrs. Toga said Friday she had contacted the airline but did not recall asking about credit for the miles between Algiers and Beirut.

The program allows travelers to earn free trips by gaining credit for miles flown on TWA.

The St. Louis couple were aboard TWA Flight 847 when it was hijacked by Shiite terrorists June 14 while en route from Athens, Greece, to Rome. The plane was flown to Beirut, then Algiers, then Beirut, back to Algiers and back to Beirut, where it remains. Mrs. Toga was released in the first days of the crisis, but her husband was one of the 39 hostages set free June 30.

Hilliard said 11,000 miles would be credited to Toga’s account for the trip, from Athens to St. Louis. He said he did not know how many miles were covered in the flights between Beirut and Algiers.

Credit would not automatically be given to any other former hostages in the program, Hilliard said.

″We are not going to go out and solicit other hostages to request mileage for this,″ he said. ″We consider that in poor taste. If some other hostages call up and request it, we’ll do it.″

The issue was raised Thursday when a St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist reported that Mrs. Toga had requested and received credit under the Frequent Flyer program for the miles her husband flew as a hostage.

Hilliard said records show a call July 12 from a Debra Toga saying she was a former hostage and asking whether the Arthur Toga account would be credited with mileage between Algiers and Beirut. Asked whether she had made such an inquiry during the call, Mrs. Toga said, ″I don’t recall that I did.″

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