From Wikimania 2011 • Haifa, Israel

Israel's main international airport is Ben-Gurion International Airport [1] which is located approximately 40km from Jerusalem and 12 km from central Tel Aviv, and 120 km from Haifa. The airport code is TLV.

Ben Gurion acts as a hub for Israel's three main international airlines, El Al Israel's largest airline and flag carrier offering flights across the globe, Arkia Israel Airlines, Israel's largest domestic airline who also serve a number of European destinations, and Israir who also serve many European destinations.

Around 50 international airlines fly to Ben Gurion airport from around the world, including Delta, Continental, US Airways, Turkish Airlines, Malev Hungarian Airlines, British Airways, Air France, Lufthansa, Alitalia, Iberia, LOT, Olympic Airways, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, JetAirFly, Transaero, Royal Jordanian, Egypt Air (via Air Sinai), Ethiopian Airlines, Korean Air, Cyprus Airways, Air Canada, AeroSvit, Tandem Aero, Swiss, CSA, JAT and more.

Buying the plane ticket

Please book a flight to Tel-Aviv (TLV) and take ground transportation to Haifa. There is a small local airport in Haifa, but there's no need to book a flight there.

The working days in Israel are Sunday to Thursday. On Friday workplaces are open in the morning, if at all; Saturday is a holiday and most workplaces are closed. Trains are somewhat crowded on working days before 10:00 am, and they are extremely overcrowded on Sunday morning. Please plan your flights and trips inside Israel accordingly. Some buses and all the trains don't work from Friday afternoon until Saturday evening. If you arrive or depart at that time, you may have to take a taxi, which will be more expensive.

Security in flights to and from Israel

Security measures when traveling to and from Israel may be more intensive than what you might encounter in most countries (but less than what is common in the United States).

Arriving to Israel

If you are arriving from Arab Countries or have visited such countries, you may face some time-consuming, and repetitive, but polite questioning by Israeli immigration authorities. The key thing to remember is: if you have nothing to hide, then, other than the inconvenience of questioning, you should have nothing to be worried about.

If you are a young backpacker, especially if you travel alone, it is likely you will be questioned at Ben Gurion airport, this may happen as soon as you leave the plane, and it is done as routine checks. This may involve several brief questions as to your domicile and destination. Just answer the questions to the point.

If you dress up elegantly, seem a part of another group or a family you are less likely to be questioned.

Leaving Israel

You must arrive at the terminal three hours before your flight, as Israeli security procedures can be time-consuming.

Bag inspection, both by machine and hand, is routine and should be expected, in addition to repeated interviews about your time in Israel.

Keep your cool in what can be a frustrating time - it really is done with the best intentions.

Having the telephone number of friends or colleagues you may have spent time with in Israel, and who can vouch for you, always helps the process.

Organizers may provide you with a letter to the airport authority at the end of the conference to try and make the questioning simpler.

Useful information