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Flying @AmericanAir is the Pits, Upgrade to El Al if you can

After booking the really cheap fares to Israel this past summer via El Al, I decided to upgrade our first leg to Israel to a direct flight on El Al, instead of a stopover in both directions. Coming home, we flew Swiss Air to Zurich, and American Airlines to JFK.

The 4 hour flight from TLV to ZRH on Swiss Air was great. Kosher meals were in stock for us, as I ordered. Staff was friendly and even gave my son a few Swiss Air toys for him to play with.

At Zurich Airport, we had to go through security again, even though it was a quick transfer. They may have been scarier than Israel’s security, especially with the German accents. Once at the gate, we were required to go through American Airlines security questioning about our bags, even though they were already under the plane and we had gone through harsher security in Tel Aviv. Totally pointless.

My family and I, 3 in total, ordered Kosher meals multiple times. When we booked our tickets originally online, and I called twice to confirm. Not only did the airline not have kosher meals for us, but for a few other families as well. There is no excuse these days not have a few extra kosher meals, especially on 9 hour flights.

Secondly, the back of the plane smelled of urine. This is where we sat. It was disgusting.

Third, most of our luggage arrived soaking wet, including our baby’s car seat. One of our luggage arrived completely dry. A few articles of clothing were ruined in the process. Our stroller was damaged in the process, and now won’t close.

Is this a way to treat your customers?

(I will follow up with what I hear back from American on my feedback)

About the author

Dani Klein

Dani Klein founded YeahThatsKosher in 2008 as a global kosher restaurant & travel resource for the Jewish community.

He is passionate about traveling the world, good kosher food / restaurants, social media & the web, technology, hiking, strategy games, and spending time with his friends & family.


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  • Opposite experience for me – American flight left on time, friendly staff, clean, modern plane, Kosher food I ordered served promptly.
    El Al, of course, left late. Empty exit rows were left empty, unless you were willing to pay extra. On American, exit row had no additional charge.
    Lastly, you are complaining about tight security being “totally pointless”? Really?

    • The 2nd round of security after the airport transfer was pointless. We had already gone through airport security in ISRAEL! Why go through it again right off the plane?

  • Personally, I don’t love flying ElAl. British Airways is my favorite airline and they have an alliance with AA. I’ve heard good things about the US Air flights to TLV too and from KS they seem to have the most reasonable prices – and the possibility of a stop at LGW which is good for visiting family on the south coast of England on the way.