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EL-AL Inaugural Domestic Flight 1.8.2010 TLV-ETH  
User currently offlineEL-AL From Israel, joined Oct 2001, 1311 posts, RR: 5
Posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 26682 times:

Hello,
Here is a trip report describing El Al's inaugural intra-Israel flight, from Tel Aviv to Eilat, and a flight back to TLV later that day.

http://a.imageshack.us/img827/6162/imgp5639800x600.jpg

Background
Until now, Israeli domestic aviation flights were operated only by Arkia and Israir, with relatively high prices on those short yet very profitable flights, what created a duopoly. In August 2009, El Al announced that since Arkia and Israir has access to LY's international routes (like BCN & CDG for IZ, and FCO & DME for 6H, as part of liberalization process in Israeli aviation started in 1996), there is no reason why LY should not have access to domestic routes, IZ & 6H private territory, and announced their planes to fly to lunch flights from Tel Aviv to Israeli's southern tip, Eilat, resort city on the Red sea beach.

The ministry of transportation agreed, but restricted them to 3 flights with max 420 passengers per direction a day. Both IZ and 6H appealed to the High Court of Justice, which rejected this appeal, and approved El Al's new route, that was only delayed a bit. On late June LY announced that the line will start on August 1st. Timing of the flights is adjusted with El Al international flights in order to offer good connections to ETH for tourists coming with LY to TLV, and to offer Eilat residents connection flights abroad.

LY’s campaign: “El Al to Eilat – like flying abroad, just shorter”:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vP47UzgiVMw

I was invited to the press conference for the opening of the new route in June, and I thought it was it. Yet, 3 weeks prior to the first flight, I got an initiation from El Al to fly on the first flight and to spend the day in Eilat. It turns out, that 2 users from Israeli aviation fans website were invited, and I was lucky to be one of them.

Booking:
Booking is done using LY's website. Prices are 99 – 229 NIS, in comperision to 235 – 360 NIS on IZ & 6H (3.7 NIS = 1 USD). Arkia do offer some flights for 79-119 NIS, but those flights are uaually in un attractive hours, and must be booked months is advance. I was due to depart at 13:45 and to retern the same day, at 22:40.

Pre-flight:
With SDT at 13:45 I could get to the airport at around 13:00, but I wanted to come early to see all the fuss around, therefore I was at TLV's Terminal 1, the old international terminal and the current domestic one at 12:10.

Terminal 1 external view – well known sight for everyone flew in/out of Israel before 2004:
http://a.imageshack.us/img375/9690/imgp5251800x600.jpg

http://a.imageshack.us/img820/4638/imgp5252800x600.jpg

Entrance:
http://a.imageshack.us/img94/4993/imgp5255800x600.jpg



Decorated El Al check in area:
http://a.imageshack.us/img291/5761/imgp5259800x600.jpg

http://a.imageshack.us/img266/5020/imgp5277800x600.jpg

http://a.imageshack.us/img3/6766/imgp5280800x600.jpg

I recognised many Israeli journalists and Television reporters on the check in hall.

Arkia and Israir check in area – for those who remember, those red check in counters were in use during T1 international days:
http://a.imageshack.us/img821/4793/imgp5264800x600.jpg

Cool Israir luggage tags:
http://a.imageshack.us/img802/854/imgp5265800x600.jpg

I asked to be seated in a window seat to the right side of the plane, I was told that there is only 1 seat left, one row from the end (55K). I told the agent it’s fine, and she also issued me the boarding pass for the flight back home, window seat to the left on the exit row (45A). Best seat on the plane? Well, it got even better, read on.

FIDS – the first time you can see LY's logo next to this destenetion:
http://a.imageshack.us/img514/2923/imgp5260800x600.jpg

Departure hall (in the same level – not from the second floor, which is now closed):
http://a.imageshack.us/img707/1191/imgp5300800x600.jpg

Which became pretty full before the flight:
http://a.imageshack.us/img168/6715/imgp5302800x600.jpg

Gate:
http://a.imageshack.us/img9/425/imgp5294800x600.jpg

Decoration around it:
http://a.imageshack.us/img829/331/imgp5291800x600.jpg

Boarding was delayed a bit since we all waited to the minister of Transportation to come from government meeting in Jerusalem. When he came, he cut the ribbon on the gate, and we were bussed to the plane. Airport bus:
http://a.imageshack.us/img94/4026/imgp5296800x600.jpg

Terminal 1 external view:
http://a.imageshack.us/img204/7351/imgp5299800x600.jpg

Inside the bus, El Al’s CEO Shkedy, Chairman Cohen and another El Al employee:
http://a.imageshack.us/img34/8274/imgp5305800x600.jpg

(I think it’s cool that the CEO take the bus to the airplane just like the rest of the passengers)

Our reflection on the terminal:
http://a.imageshack.us/img514/8018/imgp5307800x600.jpg

4X-EKD is ready to greet the first passengers:


For left to right – El Al CEO Eilezer Shkedy, (Israeli) Minister of Transportation Israel Katz & El Al chairman Amikam Cohen:
http://a.imageshack.us/img210/4176/imgp5318800x600.jpg

Prior to boarding, there was a short ceremony, in which the minister of transportation renamed the plane “Eilat Red Sea” (It’s old name was “Ashkelon”):




http://a.imageshack.us/img185/7874/imgp5331800x600.jpg


Boarding on my ride for Today, both ways – Boeing B737-758 4X-EKD; this plane will be the sole a/c to operate the new ETH route. It was converted to all economy configuration, with 136 seats. EKD is one of two B73Gs owned by El Al, both built in 1999, currently smallest a/c type on LY's fleet:

http://a.imageshack.us/img148/56/imgp5335800x600.jpg

http://a.imageshack.us/img155/6343/imgp5336800x600.jpg

Flight details:
Flight: LY401
Airline: El Al Israel Airlines
Airplane: Boeing B737-758 4X-EKD "Eilat – Red Sea" (built 1999).
Route: Tel Aviv Ben Gurion TLV -> Eilat Hozman ETH (both in Israel)
Seat: 55K
Gate: 43 (Terminal 1)
Runways: 30 -> 03
SDT/SAT: 13:45/14:40

Actual timing:
Pushback:14:10
Taxi: 14:15
Wheels off: 14:25
Touchdown: 15:05
Full stop: 15:12

Airborne time: 40 minutes
Gate to Gate time: 1 hour 2 minutes (Schaduled 0:55)

Cabin view (in a photo that I took after landing):
http://a.imageshack.us/img405/6603/imgp5473800x600.jpg

My Seat:


I took a photo of the rare galley:


Special headrest:


Spiecial inflight magazine:
http://a.imageshack.us/img838/8088/imgp5350800x600.jpg

Sick bag and safety card:
http://a.imageshack.us/img821/5420/imgp5715800x600.jpg


Legroom – way better then Arkia & Israir ATRs:


LY’s graveyard – B742F & B762:
http://a.imageshack.us/img248/462/imgp5352800x600.jpg

We taxied to RWY 12, powerfull takeoff, and we were on our short flight to Eilat. Terminal 1 view:
http://a.imageshack.us/img835/8325/imgp5353800x600.jpg

We stopped and waited for OA flight to land:
http://a.imageshack.us/img827/4254/imgp5355800x600.jpg

RWY 26 after takeoff – it’s closed for extension:
http://a.imageshack.us/img837/1909/imgp5358800x600.jpg

We departed westbound, over Holon, then turned over Tel Aviv, headed east over Ramat Hasharon, north of Jerusalem, then Dead sea, then along the Arava south to Eilat.
http://a.imageshack.us/img195/2832/imgp5361800x600.jpg

http://a.imageshack.us/img205/4650/imgp5362800x600.jpg

http://a.imageshack.us/img843/2759/imgp5366800x600.jpg

Road 1:


Shapirim junction:


Ganot junction:
http://a.imageshack.us/img267/8499/imgp5365800x600.jpg

Hashiva’a junction:
http://a.imageshack.us/img820/2386/imgp5367800x600.jpg

Road 4:


Tel Aviv area:
http://a.imageshack.us/img101/5740/imgp5369800x600.jpg

http://a.imageshack.us/img693/9589/imgp5372800x600.jpg

http://a.imageshack.us/img844/1909/imgp5387800x600.jpg

Yamit water park:
http://a.imageshack.us/img840/1950/imgp5370800x600.jpg

Holon:
http://a.imageshack.us/img837/1869/imgp5371800x600.jpg

http://a.imageshack.us/img530/4615/imgp5374800x600.jpg

Kibbutz Galuiot junction:
http://a.imageshack.us/img811/3513/imgp5376800x600.jpg

Givataiim:
http://a.imageshack.us/img693/4229/imgp5377800x600.jpg

View to the airport:
http://a.imageshack.us/img168/883/imgp5378800x600.jpg

http://a.imageshack.us/img444/2875/imgp5382800x600.jpg

http://a.imageshack.us/img507/8852/imgp5390800x600.jpg

Ramat Gan stadium, Mimadion water park, Beni Brak:


Morasha junction:
http://a.imageshack.us/img825/3347/imgp5384800x600.jpg

Ramat Hasharon:


This is Atarot Jerusalem airport, which is closed for 10 years now:
http://a.imageshack.us/img340/2492/imgp5396800x600.jpg

http://a.imageshack.us/img440/8507/imgp5397800x600.jpg

Bad view of Jerusalem:
http://a.imageshack.us/img153/4379/imgp5405800x600.jpg

Heading to the Dead sea:


http://a.imageshack.us/img508/4923/imgp5413800x600.jpg

http://a.imageshack.us/img444/9092/imgp5417800x600.jpg

Service for this short flight – water bottle, sparkling wine in a can (we were given wine-like plastic cups), nuts and brownie:


Boarding pass:
http://a.imageshack.us/img228/3953/imgp5276800x600.jpg

Entertainment was few parts from Keshet TV shows, Israeli network broadcasting in Israel’s channel 2 (מונית הכסף, כוכב נולד, ארץ נהדרת), headphones were given (for free) right after takeoff. What is the entertainment on IZ & 6H flights? Oh right, nothing. There was a lot of media action during the flight:
http://a.imageshack.us/img689/8357/imgp5420800x600.jpg

Neot Smadar:


Ovda airport:
http://a.imageshack.us/img535/6348/imgp5430800x600.jpg

Negev:
http://a.imageshack.us/img3/4548/imgp5435800x600.jpg

Timna:
http://a.imageshack.us/img440/1567/imgp5432800x600.jpg

Descending – air breaks on while we turn north, to RWY 03:
http://a.imageshack.us/img715/2921/imgp5439800x600.jpg

Heading to the Red sea:


http://a.imageshack.us/img265/1386/imgp5446800x600.jpg

Approaching:
http://a.imageshack.us/img299/3889/imgp5448800x600.jpg

Crossing Eilat’s beach:
http://a.imageshack.us/img838/5097/imgp5449800x600.jpg

This is Arkia DC-3, located as monument at ETH airport:
http://a.imageshack.us/img691/2228/imgp5450800x600.jpg

Landing on RWY 03:
http://a.imageshack.us/img375/7136/imgp5452800x600.jpg

We landed, then taxied on the runway torwards the terminal when…Water canons! Is this inaugural flight or not?
http://a.imageshack.us/img825/6171/imgp5454800x600.jpg

http://a.imageshack.us/img576/4904/imgp5455800x600.jpg

http://a.imageshack.us/img341/3235/imgp5456800x600.jpg

The fire truck:
http://a.imageshack.us/img820/5861/imgp5459800x600.jpg

View to the runway:
http://a.imageshack.us/img823/6240/imgp5458800x600.jpg

Airport employees gather to see the new guy on the block:
http://a.imageshack.us/img825/4411/imgp5462800x600.jpg

Arkia and Israir ATRs from my window:
http://a.imageshack.us/img841/7988/imgp5465800x600.jpg


"In our country, those who do not believe in miracles are irrational" - David Ben Gurion.
39 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineEL-AL From Israel, joined Oct 2001, 1311 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 26724 times:

Post flight:
Every person that flew to Eilat knows that the first thing the you feel when the airplane door open is a heat wave – with +43C today, one hell of a heat wave it was! Deplaning:
http://a.imageshack.us/img833/7189/imgp5475800x600.jpg

El Al tail and the Terminal:
http://a.imageshack.us/img718/8665/imgp5477800x600.jpg

With its rivals:
http://a.imageshack.us/img148/3117/imgp5478800x600.jpg

View to Eilat's small terminal (I wrote about ETH airport and it's development on my other ETH TR - Inside Israel: SDV-ETH-TLV; Israir & Arkia (+pics) (by EL-AL May 19 2010 in Trip Reports) :
http://a.imageshack.us/img299/4438/imgp5479800x600.jpg

Flags of El Al, Israel Airports Authority and Israel:
http://a.imageshack.us/img341/9329/imgp5482800x600.jpg

El Al plane park in Eilat – sight that was unthinkable till a year ago:
http://a.imageshack.us/img202/8066/imgp5480800x600.jpg

http://a.imageshack.us/img204/1379/imgp5486800x600.jpg

Baggage claim hall was decorated for us:
http://a.imageshack.us/img231/5875/imgp5487800x600.jpg

http://a.imageshack.us/img687/4735/imgp5489800x600.jpg

“Airports Authority and Eilat airport greets El Al airline for launching new line to Eilat”:


External view:
http://a.imageshack.us/img819/2531/imgp5493800x600.jpg

All the city was decorated in flags of El Al and in commercials for the new line:
http://a.imageshack.us/img844/8131/imgp5497800x600.jpg



After landing, we were taken for lunch and some speeches in Isrotel Agamim Hotel. View from the bus:
http://a.imageshack.us/img823/807/imgp5500800x600.jpg

http://a.imageshack.us/img228/5896/imgp5502800x600.jpg



“Welcome – El Al to Eilat”:


For left to right – Eilat’s mayor Meir Itzhak Halevi, El Al CEO Shkedy & Minister Katz:
http://a.imageshack.us/img33/5955/imgp5510800x600.jpg

Shkedy said that the new line has no intention to destroy Arkia & Israir, but to increase the total number of tourists visiting Eilat. He called it “a win-win situation”. Shay Shabtai, CEO of Eilat hotels association, said that he is proud of minister Katz and his courage. Katz himself said that the new route is just the first step in connecting Eilat to central Israel – his office plane a railway that will connect Eilat to central Israel in 2.5 Hours so as a new airport to the city. Eilat’s mayor said that he is sure that El Al’s actions will progress all companies flying to Eilat.

I went to look around the hotel, since I was never there. Look how some rooms has direct access to the pool:


http://a.imageshack.us/img84/48/imgp5525800x600.jpg



http://a.imageshack.us/img266/4605/imgp5528800x600.jpg

http://a.imageshack.us/img822/1072/imgp5529800x600.jpg

That’s what I call an active bar:
http://a.imageshack.us/img175/1858/imgp5523800x600.jpg

Shkedy at the Hotel’s entrance:
http://a.imageshack.us/img832/2809/imgp5531800x600.jpg

El Al choose to start the new route in what turned out to be the hottest day of the year – yes, that is hot even in Israel summer standarts (not only Russia gets heat waves this summer):


After that, we were driven to Herods Hotel, one of the best hotels in Israel. We had some free hours to use the spa, pool and to go to the beach. Some pics:
http://a.imageshack.us/img340/2851/imgp5563800x600.jpg

From the beach:
http://a.imageshack.us/img175/7325/imgp5588800x600.jpg

From above – inside the hotel:


View southeast:


http://a.imageshack.us/img826/5353/imgp5551800x600.jpg

View to northeast:
http://a.imageshack.us/img829/2026/imgp5553800x600.jpg

View to northwest:
http://a.imageshack.us/img690/2419/imgp5554800x600.jpg

View south:


http://a.imageshack.us/img132/9040/imgp5601800x600.jpg

View southwest:
http://a.imageshack.us/img836/8330/imgp5604800x600.jpg

Hotel’s beach (open to public):
http://a.imageshack.us/img248/2254/imgp5561800x600.jpg

Beach view:
http://a.imageshack.us/img228/7072/imgp5585800x600.jpg

At 19:00, we walked to the nearby Royal Beach Hotel for the main event of the day – some more speeches, dinner and a preformence of an Israeli singer (Zvika Pik).


Prior to dinner, I went to a balcony on the hotel’s 14th floor to take some more pics. View of Eilat city:
http://a.imageshack.us/img832/9822/imgp5611800x600.jpg

Royal Garden Hotel:
http://a.imageshack.us/img832/9698/imgp5614800x600.jpg

Royal Beach hotel pools:


And east view of the beach:
http://a.imageshack.us/img690/6524/imgp5621800x600.jpg



The event hall:
http://a.imageshack.us/img517/8447/imgp5631800x600.jpg

Shkedy gives Rafi Sade, maneger of Isrotel hotels who supported LY’s efforts to fly domestic an LY B772 model:
http://a.imageshack.us/img38/2896/imgp5637800x600.jpg

At this event, Shkedy said that he wants every Passenger coming from New York or Hong Kong passing smoothly throught Ben Gurion airport, without the need to pass security again, and to offer Eilat residents to fly to all El Al worldwide destinations from Eilat directly when they check in at ETH.

At the end of the event, we were taken by bus back to the airport. On the way, we were told that the bus will take us directly to the plane, without passing in the Terminal – never felt more VIP. The bus passed some kind of security inspection, so as us passengers, but it was short and in no time the bus parked at ETH airside:
http://a.imageshack.us/img525/7824/imgp5655800x600.jpg

Terminal view:
http://a.imageshack.us/img801/3080/imgp5664800x600.jpg



Boarding:
http://a.imageshack.us/img828/5059/imgp5662800x600.jpg

http://a.imageshack.us/img717/7965/imgp5663800x600.jpg

Flight details:
Flight: LY406
Airline: El Al Israel Airlines
Airplane: Boeing B737-758 4X-EKD "Eilat - Red Sea" (built 1999).
Route: Eilat Hozman ETH -> Tel Aviv Ben Gurion TLV (both in Israel)
Seat: 45A -> cockpit jumpseat
Gates: none!
Runways: 03 -> 12
SDT/SAT: 22:25/23:15

Actual timing:
Taxi: 22:24
Wheels off: 22:25
Touchdown: 23:05
Full stop: 23:11

Airborne time: 40 minutes
Gate to Gate time: 47 minutes (Scheduled 0:50)

When I entered the plane, friendly FA, woman in her 40s, greeted me; I took a deep breath, told her “isn’t plane smell is great?” She answered “the best”. Then, I had a crazy idea – if my group was secured enough to bypass the terminal, maybe…
Me: “Tell me, is there any chance to enter the cockpit?”
The FA: “I’m sorry; it is very much against the rules”.
Me: “I know, but I thought since we are all El Al’s guests, and we were all invited by the company…”
FA: “You know what? I’ll check, but I can’t promise anything”.
Then she asked me to my name and to my seat number, I thanked her and got to my seat. I sat next to Israel hotel association CEO who was on the isle seat, with the middle seat empty.

My Fantastic legroom:


Boarding Pass:
http://a.imageshack.us/img715/9123/imgp5471800x600.jpg

We taxied right on time and less then a minute afterwards we took off from RWY 03.
Right after takeoff, the FA came to my seat and told me “come forward in 10 minutes, you’ll be able to enter the cockpit for landing”.

Oh my god! And I thought that this day can’t get any better! Do I need to explain the meaning of entering El Al cockpit during landing in Israel?

We were offered headphones, nuts, beers and shandy or water but I was too exited to eat or drink anything. I tried to explain the guy next to me what does it mean for me to seat at night in the cockpit during landing in Ben Gurion, but I don’t think he understood.

After looking at my watch every 10 seconds, when those 10 minutes passed I went upfront, and after cretin process I found myself in the cockpit. I was in Cockpits before, but never at night, way better at night I think. Both pilots were extremely nice, but couldn’t answer too many questions since they were busy in the landing process – in ETH-TLV flight there is pretty much just takeoff and landing, without any “flying”. I was allowed to take as many photos as I wished, but with no flesh, so most of the pics are blurry due to the bumpy landing with long exposure, sorry.

http://a.imageshack.us/img441/2381/imgp5676800x600.jpg

http://a.imageshack.us/img685/2261/imgp5678800x600.jpg

When I entered we were near Hebron, then I saw Jerusalem to the left and Amman to the right. It’s amazing how those 2 cities close to each other.

http://a.imageshack.us/img193/6956/imgp5679800x600.jpg

http://a.imageshack.us/img535/866/imgp5684800x600.jpg

I had an amazing view of Terminal 3, all of Tel Aviv area with the skyscappers all light up, then turning over the sea, crossing the beach and watching the coming light of the runway till landing. Of course it was also very interesting to see how both pilots land the plane and talk with the control tower. Heading to Tel Aviv:
http://a.imageshack.us/img834/6167/imgp5686800x600.jpg



Crossing the beach line:
http://a.imageshack.us/img687/1082/imgp5690800x600.jpg

http://a.imageshack.us/img59/1083/imgp5692800x600.jpg

Heading to TLV:
http://a.imageshack.us/img707/1083/imgp5692800x600.jpg

Parking:


After we landed the captain asked me “well, did you like it”?
Me: “I have no idea how I’m suppose to fly back in cabins now”.
Captain: (laughing) “well, you should be a pilot”.
I thanked to both of them, told them it was an exellent landing and exited the cockpit. I was standing right near L1, so I was also the first out of the plane. Deplaning:
http://a.imageshack.us/img836/4715/imgp5703800x600.jpg

Baggage claim hall:
http://a.imageshack.us/img227/8151/imgp5707800x600.jpg

Arrival hall:
http://a.imageshack.us/img843/8183/imgp5286800x600.jpg

I arrived!
http://a.imageshack.us/img225/9957/imgp5708800x600.jpg

The end, like 12 hours ago – external view of Terminal 1:
http://a.imageshack.us/img525/8274/imgp5712800x600.jpg

Oh, what a wonderfull day it was, first time that I am making a 'day trip' like this (my last day trip to Eilat included 11 hours on buses) and taking part in an sugnificant day for Israeli aviation. It's not just another airline operationg another new route, it's substential change for us Israelis. I would like to thank Liron, Idan and to all El Al crew for this day.

I hope you guys liked this report. Comments and feedback are always welcome.

(flags of Israel and Eilat)
http://a.imageshack.us/img80/1327/imgp5590800x600.jpg

Please take a look at my other trip reports:
2 Countries, 1 Dollar: TLV-LCA-TLV Arkia E195+B753 (by EL-AL Jun 3 2010 in Trip Reports)
Inside Israel: SDV-ETH-TLV; Israir & Arkia (+pics) (by EL-AL May 19 2010 in Trip Reports)
Special TR: Preparations For El Al Ind.day Flyover (by EL-AL Apr 20 2010 in Trip Reports)
LCC In Spain: TLV-BCN-SVQ-REU With UX, VY & FR (by EL-AL Apr 18 2010 in Trip Reports)
Y Viva Espana! TLV-BCN-TLV; EL-AL 'basic' (+ Pics) (by EL-AL Jan 29 2010 in Trip Reports)
EL-AL At It's Best: TLV-MXP, FCO-TLV (+pics) (by EL-AL Oct 12 2009 in Trip Reports)
First Sun D'or Pax TR TLV-BOJ (new Link To Pics) (by EL-AL Sep 12 2009 in Trip Reports)



"In our country, those who do not believe in miracles are irrational" - David Ben Gurion.
User currently offlineflymia From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 7175 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 26352 times:

Great report! And in a El Al cockpit! Wow talk about awesome.


"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
User currently offlinejmy007 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 598 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 26349 times:

Excellent report! Thank you for taking the time to share it.

I'm a surprised you were able to take all those exterior shots at TLV terminal one. Many years ago, when I was waiting for check in to open, I step out side to the little park that's in front of the terminal (back when it was the only terminal), snapped a picture, and literally a security agent stepped out of the bushes and started asking me all sorts of questions!



Cookies are the Gateway pastry. They lead to Éclairs and Bear Claws.
User currently offlineoa260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26978 posts, RR: 57
Reply 4, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 25308 times:

Hey Jonathon,
Very nice report and pics. Always nice to be part of an inaugural. The hotels look very nice also.

Quoting EL-AL (Thread starter):
We stopped and waited for OA flight to land:

lol... nice to see pics of OA's A/C around the region. First one I have seen in Israel.


Keep up the good work.


Philip


User currently offlinetk747 From Australia, joined Sep 2009, 341 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 24999 times:

Fantastic report. How were you able to take so many photos in the airport? Do you have a permit or something? My friend was in TLV a few months ago and virtually everytime he reached for his camera he was stopped and scolded by security.

Thanks


User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1201 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 24702 times:

Fantastic. I really enjoyed your report. I remember the old terminal check in area with zillions of people. Strange to see it empty.
I thought Aegean have now replaced Olympic on the Athens to TLV route. Maybe both are now operating the route.


User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5090 posts, RR: 55
Reply 7, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 24616 times:

Awesome report. I am going to visit my "interest" in TLV, so may take the flight to ETH ... though, I love the drive ... let's see. Thanks again for sharing.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineoa260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26978 posts, RR: 57
Reply 8, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 24301 times:

Quoting tk747 (Reply 5):
My friend was in TLV a few months ago and virtually everytime he reached for his camera he was stopped and scolded by security.

Funny enough I never had any issues taking photos in TLV and I took loads. I actually didnt expect there to be many photo opportunities but was surprised.


User currently offlineStarAlliance38 From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 1445 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 24200 times:

Excellent TR! Thanks for sharing! Very interesting marketing promotions and advertisements for the inaugural. I would have loved to get one of those El Al flags! Very cool inaugural none the less.


Roar, lion, roar
User currently offlineEL-AL From Israel, joined Oct 2001, 1311 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 23994 times:

You guys all can find more photos from Eilat airport that day here:
http://www.vatil.org.il/vatil/board/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=33362

And a video from an israeli news website here:
http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3928490,00.html

Quoting flymia (Reply 2):
Great report!


Thank you.

Quoting flymia (Reply 2):
And in a El Al cockpit! Wow talk about awesome.


At first, it was unbelieveable, then it was amazing. I'm telling you, it's just beautiful to see all the lights or Tel Aviv then the landing in TLV from up there.

Quoting jmy007 (Reply 3):
Excellent report! Thank you for taking the time to share it.


You are very welcome, it was my pleasure.

Quoting jmy007 (Reply 3):
I'm a surprised you were able to take all those exterior shots at TLV terminal one. Many years ago, when I was waiting for check in to open, I step out side to the little park that's in front of the terminal (back when it was the only terminal), snapped a picture, and literally a security agent stepped out of the bushes and started asking me all sorts of questions!


I'm always taking photos when I fly on/out of Israeli airports, and no one ever told me anything.

Quoting oa260 (Reply 4):
Hey Jonathan,Very nice report and pics. Always nice to be part of an inaugural


Thx Phil, inaugural flights are nice.

Quoting oa260 (Reply 4):
The hotels look very nice also


So when will we see you Eilat TR about them?

Quoting tk747 (Reply 5):
Fantastic report


Thx TK.

Quoting tk747 (Reply 5):
How were you able to take so many photos in the airport? Do you have a permit or something? My friend was in TLV a few months ago and virtually everytime he reached for his camera he was stopped and scolded by security.


I'm surprised to hear that, taking photos in civilian airports in Israel is free, and as you can see in my trip reports, I take many pics in Israel when I fly and I never had any problem.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 6):
Fantastic. I really enjoyed your report


Thank you, I'm happy that you enjoyed it.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 6):
I remember the old terminal check in area with zillions of people. Strange to see it empty.


Oh yea good old Terminal 1...
The next day in the papers someone quoted an El Al employee who said that it's worth it just to return to Terminal 1.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 6):
I thought Aegean have now replaced Olympic on the Athens to TLV route. Maybe both are now operating the route


The Greeks are making great profit from the crisis with Turkey, every available Greek (and Cypriot & Bulgarian) plane is flying to TLV this summer, with tourism to Greece growing by 100% this summer.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 7):
Awesome report


Thx Alex.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 7):
I am going to visit my "interest" in TLV, so may take the flight to ETH ... though, I love the drive ... let's see


You rather Drive 4 hours in the desert then spending 30 minutes in a plane? If you do fly to Eilat, you better take one of the small ATRs out of SDV, it's more unique.

Quoting StarAlliance38 (Reply 9):
Excellent TR! Thanks for sharing!


You are very welcome.

Quoting StarAlliance38 (Reply 9):
Very interesting marketing promotions and advertisements for the inaugural. I would have loved to get one of those El Al flags! Very cool inaugural none the less.


Yes LY invested a lot in that day, it wasn't just advertising but also celebration after a year of legal wars to open that line.



"In our country, those who do not believe in miracles are irrational" - David Ben Gurion.
User currently offlineCXA330300 From South Africa, joined May 2004, 1562 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 23931 times:

Great report! Todah rabah lekha!

Terminal 1 really brings back the memories....

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 7):
though, I love the drive ... let's see.

I suggest you save the drive for a winter visit...even if you have A/C driving during the summer in the Negev is not always pleasant...



The sky is the limit as long as you can stay there
User currently offlineEL-AL From Israel, joined Oct 2001, 1311 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 23301 times:

Quoting CXA330300 (Reply 11):
Great report! Todah rabah lekha!


Thx! my plasure.

Quoting CXA330300 (Reply 11):
Terminal 1 really brings back the memories....

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Michael Sender
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Erezms



A lot of memories for sure. Do you remember the old departures hall? I remember myself standing on this gray carpet with my forhead aginst the glass looking at the runway as if it was yesterday.

Quoting EL-AL (Thread starter):
We taxied to RWY 12, powerfull takeoff, and we were on our short flight to Eilat


Correction: we departed from RWY 30.



"In our country, those who do not believe in miracles are irrational" - David Ben Gurion.
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6807 posts, RR: 77
Reply 13, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 23129 times:

Hi Jonathan,

really enjoyable report with many nice pictures! Good to see you got the chance to be part of that event.

Quoting EL-AL (Thread starter):
I think it’s cool that the CEO take the bus to the airplane just like the rest of the passengers

I can only agree.

Quoting EL-AL (Thread starter):
Prior to boarding, there was a short ceremony, in which the minister of transportation renamed the plane “Eilat Red Sea” (It’s old name was “Ashkelon”):

Very interesting. Will "Ashkelon" be used for another plane? Btw - I noticed that LY hasn't yet named several used aircraft. Do they only name factory new ones?

Quoting EL-AL (Thread starter):
Water canons! Is this inaugural flight or not?

Nice, I've recently enjoyed that, too.

Quoting EL-AL (Thread starter):
We taxied right on time and less then a minute afterwards we took off from RWY 03.
Right after takeoff, the FA came to my seat and told me “come forward in 10 minutes, you’ll be able to enter the cockpit for landing”.

Oh my god! And I thought that this day can’t get any better! Do I need to explain the meaning of entering El Al cockpit during landing in Israel?

I'm speechless...


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25369 posts, RR: 49
Reply 14, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 23087 times:

Cool report.

Nice to see LY ability to serve domestic market. Hopefully it does indeed grow the entire market and provide more traffic to Eilat and does not hurt or cannibalize traffic from Israir or Arkia.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineRJAF From Jordan, joined Jan 2007, 317 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 22958 times:

Thank you for a great TR EL-AL with tons of fantastic pictures.

I always wondered what Eilat looked like since I see it from the beaches of Aqaba! Since i was a kid, my eyes were focused on the Eilat approach from the south and watched the Dash-7s from afar with their incredible steep approach.

Thought I'd share my views (literraly) from the other side of the fence.

Cheers from Amman



Chance favors the prepared mind
User currently offlineairbus340 From Spain, joined Dec 2000, 130 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 22626 times:

Right after takeoff, the FA came to my seat and told me “come forward in 10 minutes, you’ll be able to enter the cockpit for landing”.

That happened to me before 9/11. It was on a Lufthansa BCN-FRA flight in the morning on an Airbus A321... You can imagine my excitement as well!   I was actually connecting in FRA to fly to YYZ!

Thanks for sharing all this wonderful day! What a story. I am sure you did a better job than many other on the plane!  

God bless!


User currently offlinereifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1360 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 22442 times:

Great report, and thanks for sharing!

I'm planning to fly to TLV in 3 weeks and I was trying to find cheap domestic flights, and indeed, it's difficult..

You Israeli people like balloons huh? The terminals looks like a zoo  

By the way, why does El Al have such strange seat numbers? I mean, a 73G has no 55 rows...


User currently offlineLY777 From France, joined Nov 2005, 2682 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 22285 times:

great TR indeed.
I wanted to fly to ETH these days, but it is currently too hot in Elat...Yesterday, the temperature reached 47°C/117°F at ETH!!!



אמא, אני מתגעגע לך
User currently offlineEL-AL From Israel, joined Oct 2001, 1311 posts, RR: 5
Reply 19, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 22003 times:

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 13):
really enjoyable report with many nice pictures!


Thx PH

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 13):
Very interesting. Will "Ashkelon" be used for another plane? Btw - I noticed that LY hasn't yet named several used aircraft. Do they only name factory new ones?


Well, 4X-EKB name is 'Eilat', I guess they will make it Ashkelon now.

LY has started giving names to airplanes since 1994, when the first B744 arrived (named "Tel Aviv"). Ever since, they named all their new planes, like B737NGs they got till today, so as their 6 B777s. Regarding used jets, LY's policy is not consistent: They did named EAF (B762ER, "Dalyat el Carmel") and ELE (B744, Rishon LeZion) but not all other used jets they bought/leased ever since (1 762 and 4 B763s).

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 13):
I'm speechless...


So was I.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 14):
Nice to see LY ability to serve domestic market. Hopefully it does indeed grow the entire market and provide more traffic to Eilat and does not hurt or cannibalize traffic from Israir or Arkia.


I hope so too.

Quoting RJAF (Reply 15):
Thank you for a great TR EL-AL with tons of fantastic pictures.


Thank you RJAF.

Quoting RJAF (Reply 15):
I always wondered what Eilat looked like since I see it from the beaches of Aqaba! Since i was a kid, my eyes were focused on the Eilat approach from the south and watched the Dash-7s from afar with their incredible steep approach.

Thought I'd share my views (literally) from the other side of the fence.

Those Dash 7 had one hell of approach angel, I do miss them. I have been to Aqaba last year, and from what I saw Aqaba still has the feeling of a small village, while Eilat gives the feeling of a larger city, even thought Aqaba is bigger then Eilat. I mean that in Eilat you have more malls, night clubs, restaurants and action all the time, even at 4 am, while Aqaba is more calm. Hotels in Aqaba are also smaller (5-6 floors while the larger hotels in Eilat has 12-16 floors and way more rooms).

You can cross it very easily, the busy border crossing is just 10 minutes drive.

Quoting RJAF (Reply 15):
Cheers from Amman


Saw your city from the cockpit, amazing how close Amman and Jerusalem are.

Quoting airbus340 (Reply 16):
Thanks for sharing all this wonderful day! What a story


You welcome, it was great.

Quoting reifel (Reply 17):
Great report, and thanks for sharing!


Thx, my pleasure.

Quoting reifel (Reply 17):
I'm planning to fly to TLV in 3 weeks and I was trying to find cheap domestic flights, and indeed, it's difficult..


Did you check with all 3 airlines?

Quoting reifel (Reply 17):
By the way, why does El Al have such strange seat numbers? I mean, a 73G has no 55 rows...


I have no idea why, but that's how they do it:
http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/El_Al/El_Al_Boeing_737-800.php

Quoting LY777 (Reply 18):
great TR indeed.


Thx LY777.

Quoting LY777 (Reply 18):
I wanted to fly to ETH these days, but it is currently too hot in Elat...Yesterday, the temperature reached 47°C/117°F at ETH!!!


Spend the day on the beach and nights in clubs, Eilat's policy



"In our country, those who do not believe in miracles are irrational" - David Ben Gurion.
User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5090 posts, RR: 55
Reply 20, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 21957 times:

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 10):
You rather Drive 4 hours in the desert then spending 30 minutes in a plane? If you do fly to Eilat, you better take one of the small ATRs out of SDV, it's more unique.

=Yes ... but I LOVE that drive ... especially stopping at my favorite random cafe near Dimona just after passing the "textile" factory ... I also don't drive via Be'er Sheva ... instead go to the Red Sea, and then take route 90 across.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineEgyptair269 From Egypt, joined Mar 2007, 198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 21938 times:

Wow, excellent TR!

You're very lucky to be invited to such an occassion, and just when it couldn't possibly get any better, you were invited into an El Al cockpit, for a landing in Israel!

Eilat resorts look like alot like Egyptian resorts, which isnt surprising since we share the Red Sea  

Salam,
Egyptair269


User currently offlineAlias1024 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2760 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 21879 times:

Nice report. That's incredible that you were allowed up front. Very cool.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 20):
I also don't drive via Be'er Sheva ... instead go to the Red Sea, and then take route 90 across.

I'd be tempted to drive it too. Route 90 along the Dead Sea is absolutely stunning. The drive from Tel Aviv to Be'er Sheva.........yeah, not stunning.

Though, if you go via Be'er Sheva it's a quick detour to the Israeli Air Force Museum.   



It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems with just potatoes.
User currently offlineEL-AL From Israel, joined Oct 2001, 1311 posts, RR: 5
Reply 23, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 21664 times:

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 20):
=Yes ... but I LOVE that drive ... especially stopping at my favorite random cafe near Dimona just after passing the "textile" factory ... I also don't drive via Be'er Sheva ... instead go to the Red Sea, and then take route 90 across.


I always drive via road 40, I think that Mitzpe Ramon is the most beautiful place in Israel, and I use every chance I have to visit. The ride is shorter too.

Let you Israeli translate this one for you: http://www.tapuz.co.il/blog/ViewEntry.asp?EntryId=918388

Quoting Egyptair269 (Reply 21):
Wow, excellent TR!


Thank you.

Quoting Egyptair269 (Reply 21):
Eilat resorts look like alot like Egyptian resorts, which isnt surprising since we share the Red Sea


From friends who visited Sinai, I was told that in Sinai it's more just lying down on the beach, without any city action like in Eilat, which combine both.

Quoting Alias1024 (Reply 22):
Nice report. That's incredible that you were allowed up front. Very cool.


Incredible indeed. I did not think myself they actually let me in.

Quoting Alias1024 (Reply 22):
Though, if you go via Be'er Sheva it's a quick detour to the Israeli Air Force Museum.


Haven't been there for maybe 10 years now. Shame on me. They have a B707, used as a cinema, with the original El Al configuration from the early 1980s.



"In our country, those who do not believe in miracles are irrational" - David Ben Gurion.
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6807 posts, RR: 77
Reply 24, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 21594 times:

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 19):
Well, 4X-EKB name is 'Eilat', I guess they will make it Ashkelon now.

I'll keep an eye on that.

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 19):
LY has started giving names to airplanes since 1994, when the first B744 arrived (named "Tel Aviv"). Ever since, they named all their new planes, like B737NGs they got till today, so as their 6 B777s. Regarding used jets, LY's policy is not consistent: They did named EAF (B762ER, "Dalyat el Carmel") and ELE (B744, Rishon LeZion) but not all other used jets they bought/leased ever since (1 762 and 4 B763s).

Some used 738s haven't been named either.



PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
25 LY777 : I was at the Israeli Air Force Museum in Beer Sheva today!!! It was nice but it was too hot outside... The 707 (or was it a 720?) had a spacious 2-3
26 Post contains images AIR MALTA : Very nice Trip Report! My target is to do the same trip next time I am ba'aretz May be we can organize something. I have notice that there was a fligh
27 LY777 : IZ operates this kind of flight: fly to ETH via VDA!!!
28 egyptair269 : It depends which part of the Sinai, Sharm El Sheikh has busy, and lively nightlife. A place like Dahab though, its only beach.
29 EL-AL : I forgot those 3: EKI, EKO & EKP. All others have names. When I was there, it had 2-2 business class configuration and 3-3 economy configuration.
30 LY777 : Is it a 707 or a 720?
31 EL-AL : B707-131, ex. TWA.
32 LY777 : ok, thank you
33 globalflyer : Excellent report. I liked your other one as well on the same route when you flew both carriers. Beach looks great there! I too had an opportunity once
34 EL-AL : I was just reading another report in an Israeli website about this flight, and according to the passenger they got a water bottle and the same browni
35 Post contains images abrelosojos : = Mitzpe Ramon is nice ... and so is the area way at the north of the Dead Sea. There is this incredible place ... it's right off 90, and next to an
36 Post contains images todaReisinger : Great to receive "Cheers from Amman" and to hear "Salam" from Egypt....... Thanks, makes me feel happier Yes, the only full ex-El Al plane which is d
37 EL-AL : Can't agree more... I always thought that instead of this useless garden between the two parking lots in T3 the IAA sould have place there an ex El A
38 daviation : This is a great report, as always. You are so f____ng lucky to visit the cockpit! I wonder how Israir and Arkia will respond to this. In all fairness,
39 Post contains links and images EL-AL : Thank you. I'm glad you like my reports. I'm heading for a big trip in few weeks, so many more to come hopefully. The problem is not the service leve
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