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Travel Guide: Flying to Israel – What You Need to Know

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Since the Oct. 7 attacks, Israel’s war with Hamas created substantial disruptions in air travel, prompting airlines to suspend flights to Tel Aviv. Amidst these challenges, airlines are gradually resuming services, prioritizing passenger safety and operational feasibility.

The following guide compiles the latest information regarding how major airlines are restarting flights to Israel, their planned schedule and how to take advantage of award travel on El Al.

Big 3 Airlines Restoring Flights to Israel

United Airlines, known for its ambitious post-pandemic expansion, quickly announced its return to Tel Aviv, becoming the first U.S. carrier to do so. Commencing operations on March 2, United strategically chose Munich International Airport as a stopover to ensure safe operations before transitioning to daily flights from Newark Liberty International Airport to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. The move underscores United’s commitment to expanding its network to unique destinations while navigating complex geopolitical landscapes.

Delta Air Lines, on the other hand, took a more cautious approach, conducting an extensive security risk assessment before announcing its return to Tel Aviv. Scheduled to resume daily flights from JFK on June 7, Delta emphasized its commitment to monitoring the situation in Israel closely in collaboration with government and private-sector partners. Despite delays, Delta’s decision to resume services reflects a balancing act between operational considerations and passenger safety.

Meanwhile, American Airlines, though the first to announce its return to Tel Aviv, faced setbacks leading to the postponement of its flights to October. Reports suggest a shortage of widebody aircraft as one of the reasons for the delay, although it wasn’t confirmed as the official reason by Simple Flying. Nonetheless, American Airlines remains steadfast in prioritizing the safety of its crew and passengers, underscoring the complexities airlines face in resuming services amidst uncertain geopolitical climates.

TLV’s Terminal 1 reopens, Smaller Airlines to Resume Flights

After five months, low-cost airline EasyJet plans to resume flights to and from Israel on March 25. The return comes on the heels of Ben Gurion International Airport’s decision to re-open Terminal 1 on June 1, making it more economical for smaller airlines to operate due to its lower operating costs compared to Terminal 3.

Following Terminal 1’s re-opening, Ryanair also plans on returning to Israel. The airline previously canceled flights because the airport didn’t provide clearance to use Terminal 3 with similar port taxes to Terminal 1.   

Best Ways to Book Award Travel with El Al

With flights to Israel returning to normalcy, travelers are looking for ways to book vacations to Israel affordably. According to Dan’s Deals, Alaska Airlines recently lowered its rewards pricing for El Al flights to Israel. Flights now start at 35,000 points for economy, 45,000 for premium and 70,000 for business one-way. 

By comparison, Delta charges 86,000 points in coach, 145,000 in premium and 320,000 for business on a one-way flight. However, the airline offers a discount for booking round-trip with 96,000 in coach, 188,000 in premium and 410,000 in business. 

For those who want to book directly with El Al, the price varies greatly depending on whether the flight is during Summer or Winter. FlyCard and Executive members in Israel receive discounted award rates, but it’s difficult for non-Israeli citizens to receive those discounts as the points threshold is much higher. 

In the future, airlines like ANA, Flying Blue and Virgin Atlantic will allow cardholders to book El Al flights. Currently, AMEX users can receive a 35% points rebate through the AMEX Business Platinum Card for travel on El Al in any class of service.

Don’t have the right AMEX or points to book these flights? Use our credit card portal to find the right card for you.

Regardless of which card, Israel-goers choose, there is certainly no shortage of ways to fly to Israel on rewards points.