Flying to Israel: Best Airlines and Tips

El Al

When planning your trip to Israel, the first place to start is choosing the best airline with service between the United States and this Middle Eastern country, and fortunately, there are a number of great airlines that offer flights between these two countries.

Although many prefer to fly the Israeli airline El AL Israel Airlines, many domestic companies like United, Delta, American Airlines, and USAirways—as well as international airlines Lufthansa, British Airways, and Alitalia—offer this level of service, all of which offer one thing that El AL Israel doesn't: service on Saturdays.

No matter which company you choose for your flights, your best bet for making this international journey is to fly into Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion International Airport; however, you also have to factor in your departure city. It's also important to compare prices and amenities for each airline to make sure you're choosing the company that's right for you.

Tips for Choosing the Best Airline

Each airline that flies between the United States and Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport offers its own set of price points and amenities as part of their standard air travel packages, but there are a few airlines that only fly out of select cities. As a result, it really comes down to how you want to fly and where you're flying from when you're deciding which airline to choose for your trip.

United, for instance, offers a 777 aircraft from Newark International Airport and many other East Coast international airports as well as a dinner service that features sesame chicken or penne pasta with meatballs and breakfast omelets that are surprisingly delicious.

Nearby at New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport, Delta offers non-stop flights to Tel-Aviv and offers amenities like in-flight meals and entertainment on state-of-the-art aircrafts, and USAirways recently opened non-stop service from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv, though the airline is slightly lacking in the amenities department.

If you don't mind making a connecting flight, Lufthansa from Frankfurt, Germany, and British Airways from Heathrow International Airport in London, England offer high-quality service between these cities and Tel-Aviv.

How to Book Flights and Travel to Israel

Although travel websites like Kayak and Travelocity offer special deals on occasion, the best way to book your flight is directly through the airlines' website. Oftentimes these individual websites will contain exclusive offers that price comparison websites won't catch—but you should always shop around through a variety of methods to get the best deal.

Although Ben-Gurion International Airport is the most popular destination for international travel, Israel also has three other airports: Eilat Airport, Dov Hoz Tel-Aviv Airport, and Ovda Airport, though the first two are only for domestic flights. Still, Ben-Gurion is the renowned for being the most secure, largest, and most modern terminal in the entire Middle East, so if you can book a flight through here, it's your best option.

Also remember that security in Israel is extremely tight, and customs and passport control often involve multiple security clearances, probing questions, and even a few individual special screenings. This process can take a bit of time, so remain patient and you'll be on your way to enjoying the sites and culture of Israel in no time.