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Old Aug 12, 12, 10:26 am   #1
 
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Helsinki to TLV

Any suggestions on a decent routing for this flight - trying to balance cost and time, with an option for a stopover for 24 hours if there's anything worth seeing on the way. It's part of a longer itin which will likely have me going back to ORD from TLV thru FRA.
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Old Aug 12, 12, 3:47 pm   #2
 
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not sure what kind of help you need.
There are tons of options depending if you are worried about collecting miles or not.
Sticking with *A you can do Brussels, Lufthansa or Turkish
Skyteam would be KLM or AF

There are no non-stop flights so these would connect in Brussels, Frankfurt, Istambul, AMS or CDG.
It really depends of where you want to spend 24 hours or if you prefer to get to TLV as quickly as possible.

You could also go via LHR and you can also connect with El-Al if that matters to you (security issues).

Regarding prices, it really depends on the day and time.
Not sure what is the rest of the trip so not sure how to help you build it up. If you are starting in Helsinki and going Helsinki-TLV-FRA-ORD you will pay lots of money
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Old Aug 12, 12, 7:09 pm   #3
 
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Planning on leaving Helsinki the 23rd of September, as long as I get to TLV with enough time before Kippur starts on the 25th, I'm OK. Would like to avoid FRA as you pointed out because of high cost. If *A works, great, if not, no big deal. Any connections that would work through Prague - never been so might be able to squeeze in a quick trip.
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Old Aug 12, 12, 7:28 pm   #4
 
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If arriving for Yom Kippur is very important for you, I would not risk it. One flight delay and you are not going to make it; happened to me when I tried to arrive the morning of Erev Rosh Hashana and by the time the flight arrived it was 11 pm - too late for dinner celebration.

Try going to Travelocity.
I think you will be paying a lot of money around the holidays for any connection to Israel.

Czech airlines has a morning flight to Prague, spend the entire day there and leave again in the late evening. One way flights are running over 1500$
Do you have any miles you can use with Czech. They are still part of Skyteam, right?
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Old Aug 12, 12, 8:57 pm   #5
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OP Orbitz has a bunch of 1 ways for apx $425 they put together 2 different carriers to get it, 9/23

there might be a charter or LCC flying HEL-TLV but I wouldnt want to roll the dice if you want to make sure your there before YK.

Keep in mind that TLV will close to ALL Incoming and Outgoing flights @ Noon on Tues 9/25
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Old Aug 13, 12, 12:18 am   #6
 
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Originally Posted by keisari View Post
They are still part of Skyteam, right?
Why wouldn't they be?
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Old Aug 13, 12, 8:32 pm   #7
 
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Why wouldn't they be?
I thought at some point there were problems and they were going to sell Czech airlines to somebody else.
I checked and their website prominently features the skyteam logo.
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Old Aug 13, 12, 8:57 pm   #8
 
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Thanks for all the help - didn't know the airport closed at noon already.
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Old Aug 13, 12, 11:02 pm   #9
 
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I thought at some point there were problems and they were going to sell Czech airlines to somebody else.
I checked and their website prominently features the skyteam logo.
I remember that Back during my Prague days they had a lot of problems after the CEO Radomir Lasak was fired for being incompetent and supposedly "tunelling" away a lot of money (it's a Czech specialty, and what's even more specific to Czech is that they get away with it)

They were going to sell Czech to Aeroflot but Aeroflot didn't offer the owner, the Czech Ministry of Interior enough money. Travel Service, the largest Czech private airline, serving mostly travel agencies, was also interested, but I don't know where that went wrong.

Now, if they went to Aeroflot they would definitely stay ST. But why wouldn't they if Travel Service acquired them?
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Old Aug 19, 12, 2:00 pm   #10
 
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Do you need one way only or are you flying back, too, and when? We could help looking at fares

Personally to TLV I would avoid El Al. not that they are bad (i found them quite good actually), however they have big security checks and it's just not worth the pain. Just fly any other airline, as honestly - they don't do any special security checks flying TO Tel Aviv. I used OK from FRA to TLV via PRG and the only thing they did was a passport check at the gate of the PRG-TLV-flight to see if all entry requirements for Israel were met. But this is not solely done when flying to TLV.

Flying out of TLV it makes no difference which airline you fly security wise. All are subject to the same controls and security checks at the airport.
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Old Aug 19, 12, 2:38 pm   #11
 
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Oh, I just realized you need one ways.

Generally, from Helsinki Air Baltic is the cheapest. You can book up to 24 hours stop in Riga, which is a nice and easy city to visit! You should come out at 200-250 EUR. Keep in mind that you need to pay for bags with Air Baltic since it's a low cost carrier. If you are willing to spend a little bit more money, you can try to get your flights upgraded on optiontown.com

Other than that, you could try to get out cheaply with Pegasus Airlines from Istanbul.
Istanbul-Tel Aviv should come at around 100-150 EUR. If you add a Helsinki-Riga-Istanbul (no matter if you want to connect directly in Riga or stay here as well) you would need to add approx 100 EUR for the HEL-RIX-IST flight. This gives you the option to visit even two cities!!

Another good option could be Smartwings out of Bratislava or Prague to Tel Aviv. You will need to fly with Air Baltic via Riga to Vienna/Prague, or with SAS via Sweden/Denmark. Bratislava is an hour coach ride from Vienna. After arriving in Vienna you can either take a direct bus to Bratislava from the airport, or you visit Vienna. Or Both, as they are both interesting cities.

Obviously you can do a lot of other options, but these should be the most interesting pricewise.
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Old Aug 19, 12, 2:41 pm   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reifel View Post
Do you need one way only or are you flying back, too, and when? We could help looking at fares

Personally to TLV I would avoid El Al. not that they are bad (i found them quite good actually), however they have big security checks and it's just not worth the pain. Just fly any other airline, as honestly - they don't do any special security checks flying TO Tel Aviv.
As long as you are somebody xhich is considered low risk, ELAL's profiling system is the easiest security.

And there are other airlines which have extra security for TLV flights (KLM for example).
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Old Aug 19, 12, 3:39 pm   #13
 
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As long as you are somebody xhich is considered low risk, ELAL's profiling system is the easiest security.

And there are other airlines which have extra security for TLV flights (KLM for example).
While I must admit having not travelled TO TLV on El Al, I have seen enough check in areas of El Al in quite a lot of different airports.

You have armed guards, questioning desks, early check in times etc. Alone that would put some other passengers unease. Furthermore while some security people there are surely doing a curteous job, some might not, I guess it's just like everywhere, i.e. like flying in the US. Questioning is always a very sensitive topic, and when humans are working with other humans - at least from my experience to the US - this is not done always friendly or tactfully.

In TLV some of the staff was very nice, some others not (you can tell when dealing with half of a dozen different security people during your departure process there).

Just wanted to say that I doubt that any other airline (expect other israeli airlines of course) would have such high security levels, so why not just take an airline which is just "easier" in this regard. It can be that other airlines instaure a secondary security check, however I doubt that KLM conducts personal interviews with guarded policemen in the background. Some people may not bother, but for me it's unpleasant. I admit people must expect this when travelling to Israel, as they would have similar experiences in the country, however, and this is just my personal opinion, I try to keep security checks and profiling not more than necessary.

Sorry for going a little off topic, but I just wanted to elaborate it a little bit more. Other than that be assured that I understand the backgrounds why this is happening and that I spend some great time in Israel.
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Old Aug 19, 12, 7:22 pm   #14
 
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Just a quick update - it was a lot cheaper to add the HEL - FRA - TLV legs and go back to ORD through EWR than any other combo. Not sure why, but the bottom line was an additional $200 on top of my original routing of ORD - LHR - HEL - FRA - ORD. That's a really good deal!!
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Old Aug 21, 12, 11:38 am   #15
 
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That's cool... I guess HEL-FRA is on Finnair, but who is operating FRA-TLV? Will be a nice array of airlines
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