Security flying to/from TLV

Old Feb 11, 19, 8:07 pm
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Security flying to/from TLV

I am planning a trip this spring to Tel Aviv with my wife and young son. I have heard many stories about extended screening and would like to get some detail as it relates to route planning/timing. We'll be flying from Rome to Tel Aviv then on from Tel Aviv to Athens. I have options of flying Alitalia, Ryan Air, Norwegian and El Al direct from Rome and then oddly enough Alitalia, Aegean and El Al direct from TLV to ATH.

We were interested in a 7am flight from FCO to TLV on Norwegian but were afraid we'd have to get to FCO too early if it involved additional screening. Is it just El Al that performs the additional screening on their flights? When we're leaving TLV are we subject to the extensive screening regardless of airline?

We'll all be on US passports and have traveled to Indonesia many times, Egypt, Malaysia, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I doubt it's enough to throw off any real security concerns but there is the possibility.
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Old Feb 12, 19, 7:38 am
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Originally Posted by jmail1 View Post
I am planning a trip this spring to Tel Aviv with my wife and young son. I have heard many stories about extended screening and would like to get some detail as it relates to route planning/timing. We'll be flying from Rome to Tel Aviv then on from Tel Aviv to Athens. I have options of flying Alitalia, Ryan Air, Norwegian and El Al direct from Rome and then oddly enough Alitalia, Aegean and El Al direct from TLV to ATH.

We were interested in a 7am flight from FCO to TLV on Norwegian but were afraid we'd have to get to FCO too early if it involved additional screening. Is it just El Al that performs the additional screening on their flights? When we're leaving TLV are we subject to the extensive screening regardless of airline?

We'll all be on US passports and have traveled to Indonesia many times, Egypt, Malaysia, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I doubt it's enough to throw off any real security concerns but there is the possibility.
I would advise checking norwegian website for check-in times and any exceptions, for AZ in FCO there isn't any additional security except at the gate where agents randomly might choose you and ask some questions/inspect hand luggage.
And yes, all outbound passengers from TLV are going through security questioning before checkin, I would advise arriving to the airport 3 hours before your flight.
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Old Feb 12, 19, 11:05 pm
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I think I would book this trip as an Alitalia multi-city itinerary.

Outside of Israel, Israeli airline security screening is done for flights operated by Israeli carriers. In Israel, it is done for everyone.

Your travel profile will probably trigger the longer interview, as standard procedure. This takes place before you reach the check-in (bag drop) counters. This means you should be at the airport at least 3 (or even 3.5) hours before departure. Of course, you may get through with a short interview and end up with a very long time to kill at the cafe/sandwich shop in the gate area, but you need to err on the safe side.
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Old Mar 5, 19, 8:20 am
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Sorry to hijack the topic but I have also a similar situation. I will fly to TLV in a few days on AF in J and I would like to know how early I need to show at the airport on my return.

I have understood 3 hours is recommended for Y but 2 hours is sufficient for J. I have also understood that it would be possible to use the El Al business line during check-in to save some time.

Could anyone kindly confirm these? I will have a luggage to check if that matters.

Thanks!
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Old Mar 5, 19, 10:59 am
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Flying in J means a separate queue(s) for security, so you'll save some time, but it might not help much if you're selected for any extra/secondary questioning etc.
If this is your first time flying out of TLV, I would still recommend 3 hours.
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Old Mar 5, 19, 12:48 pm
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Stick with 3 hours even for business class. The 5 minutes you save queuing with a J ticket will mean nothing if you are selected for one of the higher level security screenings which can take a long time
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Old Mar 6, 19, 12:23 am
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The ElAl business check in line , in TLV is for individuals flying El Al. It leads to the ElAl counters. You can’t stand on that line and then take your luggage, mingle with others and go to an Air France counter.
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Old Mar 6, 19, 8:41 am
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Thanks everyone, will stick to 3 hours then. I wanted to check whether it would make any difference to fly in J instead of Y. Not the first time I will fly to TLV but the process has always been a hassle to me (my profile certainly does not help as I am a lone male traveler with a stamp of a country of interest...)
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Old Mar 8, 19, 1:08 pm
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I guess I was lucky, but a couple of years ago getting into and out of TLV on BA flights was a breeze for me. I apparently don't trip any alarms for potential trouble-making.
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Old Mar 27, 19, 6:22 am
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Another hijack, but same topic. Flying out TLV-AMM-JFK on a RJ ticket. Does the connection in AMM or RJ predispose me for a longer checkin/security?
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Old Mar 29, 19, 9:07 pm
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No that iscca fairly routine connection.
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Old Apr 26, 19, 6:47 pm
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I recently traveled TLV-BOS. We were advised to get to the airport at least 3 hours before the flight but it turned out to be completely unnecessary. The "extended screening" was really tame, just the usual questions about whether we packed our bags ourselves, and the security check was pretty quick, with short lines. (This is in sharp contrast to the experience I had 20 years ago flying out of TLV when it seemed the screeners spent a good 10 minutes on each passenger questioning them over and over again about details of their itineraries and personal histories.) I don't know if we just hit a very quiet time at the airport. I think if there's no rush at the airport probably getting there 2 hours before the flight would be quite safe.

Also, an odd thing with the security check. Going through it, my son had a full bottle of water. Having been trained in the US by the TSA :-) I asked him to empty it in a garbage bin nearby. Upon observing this a security official standing around said, it "wasn't necessary". Well, fine, we went through the main security check and then heading to our gate for the US-bound flight, we saw large signs about how the TSA restricts liquids carried by all US-bound travelers and that we couldn't have any bottles of water, etc. (including any purchased post-security, I presume). There were a couple of tables set up near the gate where all the passengers were being asked what was in their carry-on bags, including liquids. That was a very cursory check, though, because in the event they didn't catch (or didn't care about) the two very visible bottles of water we had in addition to the quart bags of liquids which we showed the officials for their inspection. Hmm...

Flying to TLV was also pretty straightforward - the El Al check-in lines at BOS have screeners who ask you some basic questions about whether you packed your bags yourself, etc., before you get to the actual check-in desk, but it didn't add more than a couple of minutes to the process.

As a general comment, I felt this time in Israel, compared to even a few years ago, that the level of security checks at parking garages, shopping malls, etc., had really come down. Inspections of hand baggage at public places like museums was extremely cursory.
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Old Apr 28, 19, 2:44 am
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if there's no rush at the airport probably getting there 2 hours before the flight would be quite safe.
But a tourist never knows when the airport will be busy and when it won't be, so three hours is always recommended. AND some tourists are subjected to lengthier questioning, there may be traffic jams on the way to the airport, etc, etc
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Old Apr 28, 19, 4:05 am
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Originally Posted by mbgg View Post
But a tourist never knows when the airport will be busy and when it won't be, so three hours is always recommended. AND some tourists are subjected to lengthier questioning, there may be traffic jams on the way to the airport, etc, etc
Indeed, unless you're a frequent flyer to TLV, 3hrs is still a very valid recommendation.
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Old Apr 30, 19, 4:23 am
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Originally Posted by Bandicoot View Post
There were a couple of tables set up near the gate where all the passengers were being asked what was in their carry-on bags, including liquids. That was a very cursory check, though, because in the event they didn't catch (or didn't care about) the two very visible bottles of water we had in addition to the quart bags of liquids which we showed the officials for their inspection. Hmm...
That's basically because, unlike the security theater of Europe and North America, Israeli security is real security. They realize that water bottles and toothpaste can never bring down an airliner.
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