Travel & Transportation
Most of the international airlines operate flights to Israel. El Al, operates many direct flights from the United States, Europe, the Far East, and Africa. Other Israeli airlines such as Arkia and Israir operate flights from central locations in Europe. There are no direct flights to Israel from distant locations such as Australia or South Africa, or from countries that have no diplomatic relations with Israel. It is therefore a good idea to reserve a connecting flight from these places, or to arrive in Europe and then purchase a ticket to Israel.
Most international flights land at Ben Gurion Airport, which is located near the town of Lod - approximately a half hour’s drive from Tel Aviv. Ben Gurion airport has recently opened a new, modern terminal with a large variety of duty-free shops, restaurants and coffeehouses. Some flights from Europe also land at Sde Dov in north Tel Aviv or at Ovda Airport near Eilat.
Airline passengers will arrive at the Ben Gurion 2000 facility in Tel Aviv, a world-class modern, efficient, secure facility. Screening here is done by profiling. You will not see any weapons inside the terminal.
Israeli security requires that passengers remain seated after the plane enters Israeli air space. This is about the last 20-30 minutes of the flight, depending on the approach pattern so plan ahead.
After leaving the jet way, there is a long walk down a corridor to the “formalities.” You will find toilets on the left hand side, at the end of the moving walkway. If “crowded” there is another rather hidden set on the right hand side just before passport control.
Israel no longer uses “landing cards.” Your passport will be scanned, not stamped, at passport control. You will get a small slip of paper as your “entry visa” and need to present that at the hotel to avoid paying 17% VAT on the room.
You will find free luggage trolleys inside the baggage claim area. You will exit through the “green channel”—nothing to declare.
Although there is a money exchange facility located inside baggage claim, the rate is usually a bit better at the ATMs outside of baggage claim, to either side of the exit from the terminal. The best exchange rates are at ATMs and they are ubiquitous in Jerusalem. Travelers’ Checks are generally not easily exchanged here. If you are bringing $$ in cash, the post office is the best place to change money.
Taxi drivers are not tipped. Although meters are required in the city, they usually quote a “flat rate”—ask when you get into the car. The airport is a flat rate (~ 275 Shekels) and will be posted at the taxi line and you will be given a printed copy. There is reliable shuttle service called “Nesher” which loads to the right as you exit the terminal. Their tariff is 75 Shekels per person.
Restaurants will accept US Visa, Master Card and American Express. Tips (10-15%) should be left in cash. Some restaurants will now allow the tip on a credit card, but cash is preferred.
Israel has a convenient and reasonably priced public transportation system. Options for getting to and from Ben Gurion Airport include: Egged bus (the national bus company); private car/van services; railway; taxi; rented car and limousine. For details regarding transportation depots and general airport information, please use the following contact details:
Israel Airport Authority
Bus Transportation from Ben Gurion Airport
Public transportation depots are located in the three-story bridge on the second floor, near Gates 21 and 23. Buses leave from there to the Egged station at nearby Airport City where one can transfer to regular Egged bus lines. Passengers traveling from Airport City to the airport will receive free passage tickets for the internal shuttle service that operates the route. Various Egged lines run between the Airport City station and central points in Israel at frequent intervals throughout the day. It is worth phoning or checking the website for details.
Egged Information: +972 3-694-8888 or *2800
Taxis from Ben Gurion Airport
The taxi companies based at Ben Gurion Airport are under the supervision of the Israel Airports Authority. We recommend that you only use these licensed taxis, operated by on-site dispatchers, rather than those which do not belong to these companies. The taxi stands and dispatcher’s booth are located at Terminal 3 on the ground level (G) of the multi-level road. Private-taxi (called “special”) and shared-taxi services (called “sherut”) are available.
Hadar Lod - transportation to all parts of the country.
Tel.: + 972 3-9711103
Nesher Tours - transportation to and from Jerusalem.
Tel.: + 972 2-6257227
Amal - transportation to Haifa and the North area.
Tel.: + 972 4-8662324
Taxi drivers are required by law to use the meter on all trips. Unless you know the accepted rates, do not be tempted to set a price beforehand. For long trips, the driver must charge passengers according to the Ministry of Transport price list posted in all taxis. A 25% surcharge for night trips is in effect from 9:01 p.m. until 5:29 a.m. (from 4 p.m. on Fridays and holiday eves). Trips out of Ben Gurion Airport are charged an additional NIS 5.00, and passengers pay approximately NIS 3.00 for each suitcase. Passengers who request use of Road 6 (a toll road) will pay an extra NIS 11.00. Passengers are advised to request a receipt at the end of the journey.
Israel is a small country, and it is therefore easy to get from one place to another in a relatively short time. Public transportation is convenient, and you can get to almost any destination for a reasonable price. Israel Railways operates convenient, inexpensive train service. It is also possible to travel by taxi, but this is more expensive, particularly for inter-city trips. It’s therefore preferable to use shared service taxis. Buses are the most popular form of public transport in Israel for both local transport and intercity trips. The Egged bus company operates most of the intercity bus lines, as well as the local service in most of the large cities and towns. The fare for all bus lines is reasonable, the buses are comfortable and usually air-conditioned, and there is regular, frequent service. Tickets can be purchased at the ticket booths in the central bus station in each city or town, or from the driver. Most of the bus lines do not run on Shabbat or on Jewish holidays. Service ends on Friday afternoon and resumes Saturday evening. Egged provides intercity public bus service throughout the country. Passengers can obtain information about the various bus lines on the Egged website or by phoning the computerized customer service and information center. Each central bus station has an information booth and electronic boards displaying the departure times and destinations.
Egged Customer Service and Information: + 972.3.694.8888 or *2800
Passengers must arrive at the airport three hours before departure time. This is due to the length it takes to get through passport control, customs and security. Passengers arriving at the airport must first undergo a security check. Passengers and their luggage are inspected by airport personnel with modern security equipment. There are separate security check lines for passengers holding Israeli passports and for those holding foreign passports in order to shorten waiting time.
After the security check in the departure hall, passengers continue to passport control. They must present their passport, airline ticket, and the form that they filled out upon arrival in Israel.
After passport control each passenger must check-in at the counter of the airline they are flying with. They will then check in their luggage and receive a boarding pass and seat number.
Early Check-In Service
Early check-in service is available for El Al passengers next to the Central train station at Arlozorov in Tel Aviv. Passengers can check in their luggage one day before their flight, reserve their seats, and receive their boarding passes. Passengers holding foreign passports - including children and infants - must arrive at early check-in in person.
Each passenger must pay a fee of NIS 30 in cash for early check-in service.
Early check-in service hours for El Al:
Sunday to Thursday - 2 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Fridays and holiday eves: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Saturday nights and holiday nights: from the end of the holiday to 11 p.m.
Additional details are available at:
Passengers who have used the early check-in service can arrive at the airport an hour and a half before flight time and proceed directly to passport control.
Some of the other airline companies have an early check-in service. Passengers should check this with the airline. Information about early check-in for airlines other than El Al is available from the airport information service: +972.3.975.5555 or on the Israel Airports Authority website. The El Al Website