The best price found from United States to Israel & the Palestinian Territories is on October 31st, 2016, travelling with Aeroflot. See more options, compare prices and book: search flights.
Israel’s privatised flag carrier, El Al, has direct flights to several dozen cities in Western and Eastern Europe, as well as long-haul services to New York (Kennedy), Newark, Toronto, Los Angeles, Johannesburg, Mumbai, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Beijing; some flights to Asian destinations are codeshares. The company was privatised in 2005, leading to a significant improvement in service, though it is not a member of any of the three global airline alliances (Star Alliance, OneWorld and Skyteam). Sun D'Or (www.sundor.co.il) is El Al’s charter subsidiary.
Known for having the tightest security in the business, El Al's aircraft – like those of other Israeli airlines – are reportedly equipped with technology to foil heat-seeking anti-aircraft missiles.
Some of the cheapest flights from North America to Tel Aviv are offered by Air Canada via Toronto and US Airways via Philadelphia. A variety of European carriers offer trans-Atlantic services with a stopover in their hub city, making it easy to combine travel from North America to Israel and the Palestinian Territories with a visit to cities such as London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Rome or Istanbul.
Almost all the major European airlines have flights to Tel Aviv. Budget and charter airlines that link Tel Aviv with Europe but may not pop up on air-ticket search engines include:
The only Middle Eastern cities with direct air links to Tel Aviv are Amman, served by Royal Jordanian (www.rj.com); Cairo, served by Air Sinai (a low-profile but astonishingly expensive subsidiary of Egyptair); and Istanbul, served by Turkish Airlines (www.turkishairlines.com).
El Al has nonstop flights – some of them codeshares (eg with Thai) – to/from eastern Asia, as does Korean Air (www.koreanair.com). But the cheapest way to get to/from South, Southeast and East Asia is often via Istanbul on Turkish Airways, via Addis Ababa on Ethiopian Airlines, or via Amman on carriers such as Royal Jordanian, Qatar Airways (with a stopover in Doha), Emirates (via Dubai) and Etihad (via Abu Dhabi).
Israel’s main gateway is Ben-Gurion International Airport, 50km northwest of Jerusalem and 18km southeast of central Tel Aviv. Ultramodern Terminal 3 handles about 14 million passengers a year. For up-to-the-minute details on arrivals and departures, go to the airport's English website and click ‘On-Line Flights’ at the top.
A handful of flights from Europe, most of them charters, touch down at Ovda airport, 60km north of Eilat. Should Ben-Gurion airport have to close, Ovda serves as a back-up (so does Larnaca, Cyprus).
Israeli airport security is very tight so international travellers should check in at least three hours prior to their flight – when flying both to and from Israel.
Good deals to/from Israel are sometimes available from ISSTA, the Israeli student travel agency, which has branches around the country.
Daka 90, whose name means ‘at the last minute’, sometimes advertises very inexpensive flights, including one-way.
Many Israeli backpackers on their way to South, Southeast or East Asia, or Australia book through FLYeast, which specialises in inexpensive one-way and round-trip flights via Amman and then Doha, Dubai or Abu Dhabi (yes, Israelis are allowed to transit through those hubs). You can either fly the Tel Aviv–Amman leg or – to save a bit of cash – take a chartered bus.