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El Al - - Not Just An Airline, It’s Israel


A massive undertaking planned for the Frommers: Four months in Israel researching and interviewing for our new book, an oral history about the miraculous nation as told by those who lived the experience. Very long trip from New York to Tel Aviv.
In our long travel writing career, we have flown all over on different airlines, some exceptional, some not so exceptional.

We checked around for the most exceptional airline to accommodate our bountiful luggage, need for non-stop flight and comfort and security.

El Al was the easy choice – on paper that is. In practice, the airline of Israel that came into existence in 1948 -- the same year as the country did, was the right choice.
Much history is associated with this very unique airline as archival images from the collection of Marvin G. Goldman, archivist of El Al, reveal:
 


Another El Al Flight takes off (Ziv Bok)


Shimon Peres, then director general of israel’s Ministry of Defense and later Prime Minister of Israel, boarding an El Al Lockheed Constellation aircraft at Lod Airport, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Leaving the United States and then returning from Tel Aviv back home, from our dealings with flight bookings, through the baggage handlings, the seamless security checks, the well prepared food, the courtesy and professionalism of all crew members, everything was over the top, A plus.

The only blip was El Al is “dark” on the Jewish Sabbath and on religious holidays. There are never any scheduled flights. A very small blip for us.

We experienced first-hand the kosher in-flight meals which had a lot to recommend them as far as freshness, variety, quality. Flight attendants were caring and highly competent.

We also experienced first-hand the special security associated with the airline of Israel, There were many questions asked at different stops along the way from checking in, to baggage check. All operated seamlessly in a system of security procedures, on the ground and on the aircraft. Passengers are requested to show up three hours before departure. All El Al terminals around the world are closely monitored for security. There are plain-clothes agents and fully armed police or military personnel patrolling the premises for explosives, unusual behavior, threats.
  
Inside the terminal, passengers and their baggage are checked by a trained team. El Al security procedures require that all passengers be interviewed individually prior to boarding. All of this was done swiftly, painlessly and reassured us about safety.
The only blip was El Al is “dark” on the Jewish Sabbath and on religious holidays. There are never any scheduled flights. A very small blip for us.

We experienced first-hand the kosher in-flight meals which had a lot to recommend them as far as freshness, variety, quality. Flight attendants were caring and highly competent.



El Al’s first scheduled passenger flight, 31 July – 1 August 1949 arrives at Orly Airport, Paris.


We also experienced first-hand the special security associated with the airline of Israel, There were many questions asked at different stops along the way from checking in, to baggage check. All operated seamlessly in a system of security procedures, on the ground and on the aircraft. Passengers are requested to show up three hours before departure. All El Al terminals around the world are closely monitored for security. There are plain-clothes agents and fully armed police or military personnel patrolling the premises for explosives, unusual behavior, threats.   Inside the terminal, passengers and their baggage are checked by a trained team. El Al security procedures require that all passengers be interviewed individually prior to boarding. All of this was done swifly, painlessly and reassured us about safety.
Most El Al pilots are former Israeli Air Force pilots, and they operate out of cockpits with double doors making for added security. There are reinforced steel floors that act as a barrier between the passenger cabin and baggage storage.


El Al boasts the  most nonstop flights between New York (JFK/Newark) and Israel as well as the only nonstop service from Los Angeles. In June 2015, non-stop service from Boston to Tel Aviv was put into place. Globally, EL AL has more than 40 destinations from Israel. Dozens of other destinations are reachable via its partnering with other leading carriers.

There are all kinds of choices we make in life. Flying El Al to its homeland is a non brainer all the time!

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About the Authors:  Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer are a wife and husband team who successfully bridge the worlds of popular culture and traditional scholarship. Co-authors of the critically acclaimed interactive oral histories It Happened in the Catskills, It Happened in Brooklyn, Growing Up Jewish in America, It Happened on Broadway, It Happened in Manhattan, It Happened in Miami. They teach what they practice as professors at Dartmouth College.

They are also travel writers who specialize in luxury properties and fine dining as well as cultural history and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. More about these authors.

You can contact the Frommers at: 

Email: myrna.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU
Email: harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU
Web: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~frommer/travel.htm.

This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2012 by Harvey and Myrna Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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