This is part of a series of blog entries on how to get to countries and places. Here is a link to the index. I plan to eventually cover every country and some other places. If you have a request for a particular country or place please use the email me link at top right, or leave a comment.
Due to the political situation, most visitors to Israel arrive by air at Tel Aviv airport. There are also land border crossings open with Egypt (only at Eilat) and Jordan (at a few places). Borders with Syria and Lebanon are closed. There is also a ferry between Cyprus and Haifa. Flight options include (all to Tel Aviv except as noted):
- Star Alliance - Air Canada, Austrian, bmi, Continental, Croatia, LOT, Lufthansa, Swiss, Turkish, US Airways
- Oneworld - British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Malev, Royal Jordanian
- Sky Team - Aeroflot (Tel Aviv and Eilat-Ovda), Air France, Alitalia, Czech, Delta, KLM, Korean
- Other selected - El Al, several European charter airlines
TIP the security at Tel Aviv airport is very high, allow plenty of time before departure
TIP Israeli passport stamps can cause problems arriving at some other countries (eg Lebanon, Syria, various Gulf countries, Malaysia). For arrival & departure by air you can request a separate piece of paper be stamped, or otherwise some countries permit people to hold 2 passports concurrently. Land arrival & departure without passport evidence is more difficult because a departure stamp from Jordan border for example gives the game away.
TIP If visiting more than one such country, then make Israel the last stop (via bladespace).
TIP Israel is considered part of Europe on most fares and frequent flyer programs. This means awards and around the world tickets can be well utilised (but avoid having Israel and certain other countries on the same ticket or itinerary).
TIP Normal fares to/from Israel are generally high, although there can be good sales from US east coast (usually whenever capacity is increased or a new airline commences flights to Tel Aviv).
UPDATED November 2009 - Continental switch from Sky Team to Star Alliance. No change to advice.