There are many ways to book flights to israel and many airlines to choose from. On this page I'm going to describe the options and give you my recommendations.
Of course, generally the earlier you book your flight to Israel the cheaper the ticket price. So make sure you book early.
Getting cheap flights to Israel depends to some degree also on the time of the year. Usually prices tend to be higher during Jewish and Christian holidays. So beware of these dates when booking. Also flights are generally higher in the summer.
Another general tip (for flying anywhere) is that flights during the week (especially Tuesday or Wednesday) generally tend to be cheaper than on or close to the weekend. So try booking on those days if you can.
Sometimes for Israel flying on a Saturday can be cheaper too because it is the Jewish Sabbath (day of rest - when many Jews would not fly).
As I mention further below, if your return and departure date are flexible then I'd recommend using Tripadvisor's flexible date calendar tool to find the cheapest dates to fly.
There are 2 main ways to book your flight:
TripAdvisor is my personal favorite website for flights. They allow you to compare many possible flights to the same destination in one easy search. And you can easily tailor your search, for example, choosing particular airlines that you prefer to travel with.
One of the features I really like about the site is their flexible date calendar (see screenshot above), which shows you which month and day of the month has the cheapest flights for your flight search. In the screenshot above, for example, you can see that you can save a few hundred dollars by flying on the 1st or 2nd of December (price of $845 versus $900-$1,100+ later in the month).
There are a lot of airlines that fly to Israel, including El Al Israel Airlines (Israel’s national airline), Air Canada, Alitalia, Air France, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, KLM, Lufthansa German Airlines, and others.
The companies I listed above - and specifically El Al - operate flights from the United States, Canada, Europe, the Far East and Africa. If you plan to arrive from some distant location like Australia, you might need to stop over in Europe before landing in Israel.
I have flown many times within the US and around the world. From my experience, for flights to Israel, Delta Airlines is one of the cheapest and best airlines. They have an international partnership with KLM and Air France, among others, and provide good service at a decent price.
El Al is Israel's national airline and the only airline that offers direct non-stop flights to Israel from the US and from other worldwide locations. However if a non-stop flight is not so important to you then I would strongly advise against using them, not just because their prices are higher but also based on my own poor experience.
As I mentioned I have flown many, many times around the world. My flight to Israel with El Al was the first and only time I have ever had items in my luggage stolen. That's right, stolen. And unfortunately after dealing with them for many hours, the airline was not able to find out what happened or willing to compensate for the loss. So the customer service is not the best and I would definitely recommend against them - unless you must have a non-stop flight.
Here are some examples of how long of a flight you can expect:
Most of the flights arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport. The airport is about 30 minutes or less drive from Tel Aviv, and about 45 minutes drive from Jerusalem. There are many transportation options from the airport to your final destination, including taxi and high-speed train (which I highly recommend to try if you can).
Ben Gurion is an awesome airport. It was recently renovated, it has plenty of duty-free shops and it is very clean and efficient.
If you are waiting for your flight, try a cup of coffee at the Arcaffe or at Aroma espresso bar - those guys can teach Starbucks what coffee is all about.
If you are coming as part of a group for a guided tour - which I strongly recommend, especially if this is your first time in Israel - your package often will include the airfare to Israel in the total price. Those are usually very good pre-negotiated prices.
A few points before I forget:
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