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Nightmares And Thefts: Air Malta TLV-MLA-TLV  
User currently offlineEL-AL From Israel, joined Oct 2001, 1306 posts, RR: 5
Posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 27828 times:

Hello,
This is a report is describing TLV-MLA-TLV flights with Air Malta. First TR on this route here (and my 747th post on a.net).
http://img707.imageshack.us/img707/3682/imgp5752z.jpg

Background:
The jewish holydays season is back – the best season to travel around since Israel is pretty shut down during this month, while abroad the high season is over, prices are lower and weather is better. Thinking about where to go, my parents got a recommendation about Malta. Since non of us was ever there and since it looked like an interesting place to go we decided to visit the Island state.

Malta is a country between Italy and Lybia, consist from 3 islands in the Mediterranean, with 7000 years of history and population of just over 400,000. Malta bombarded heavily during WW2, and became independent from Britain in 1964. In 2004 Malta joined the EU, becoming its smallest member state. Luqa Int'l is Malta's sole airport, known usually as 'Malta Airport' with relatively new terminal opened in 1992. Air Malta, the national airline, operates seasonal charter flights to Israel.


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Photo © Roberto Benetti
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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Roberto Benetti



Booking:
Using Israeli travel agency we bought vacation package including direct Air Malta flights, with flight hours giving us 5 full days in the country.

Pre flight:
With SDT at 03:10, we got to TLV airport already at 1:10am. One hell of a red eye. We were given a very warm welcome when a big red "DELAY" was flashing next to our flight:
http://img690.imageshack.us/img690/2545/imgp5730.jpg

45 minutes delay is not so bad, but from my previews experiences with charter flights (mainly Turkish to be honest) it can start from short delay and last for hours. You never know for sure you will actually fly until till you see the plane at the gate.

The holydays season means heavy traffic in TLV, but that night was my worst experience I had in the airport ever. The queue for security was as long as A346, with people standing almost to the terminal doors. Just take a look:
http://img214.imageshack.us/img214/8849/imgp5734.jpg

Half way:


I never saw such a thing in TLV before. Not since Terminal 3 was opened in 2004. Not in holydays, August or any other season. As soon as we stood there the queue streached quickly behind us.

We thought it may take forever, but eventually it took 'only' 25 minutes to pass it, when it usually takes less then 5 minutes. Check in was fast, and we were given row 4, seats A through D.

After checking it, there is another queue in the next hall where passengers are been checked for boarding pass, after that then they head for hand bag check. We were shocked, again, from the queue: it was so long, that it reached back to the check in hall! Take a look for yourselves:
http://img692.imageshack.us/img692/5409/imgp5735.jpg

Not only it was long as hell, but it wasn't moving. And of course, We were standing at the slowest moving queue. This part took no less then 15 minutes, when it usually takes 30 seconds.

The worst part was hand bag security: out of 20 stands just 4 were open, and it simply took forever. I have never seen such inefficiency before. 3 tourists from Singapore heading for Swiss flight in C class were standing behind me; I was embarrassed to be Israeli at that point, due to the way foreigners saw the main gate of my country. I felt absolute disgrace at my home airport, for the first time since T3 was opened.

My queue, again, was the slowest, with this part taking 40 minutes. With another 15 minutes at passport control (with 20% of booths open) I was heading for the gate no less then 1.5 hours since entering the Terminal. Just for comparison, when I flew to Cyprus in May this part took my just 15 minutes, and even on high season it takes no more then 45 minutes. If my flight wasn't delayed, I would be in the airside 15 minutes after boarding was due to start. Well, that part ended, thank god.

FIDS:
http://img8.imageshack.us/img8/7049/imgp5733c.jpg

Only then I had sometime to relax and look around for some airplanes. Air Berlin is doing well in Israel: 2 of their A330s were on the gates, one heading for DUS and the other to MUC. There was also TK A321, 2 flights to Poland (Arkia B753 & LOT B763) and many LY B737s.

Gate:


Boarding was due to start at 03:05, but there were only passengers at the gate at that time. Boarding eventually started at 03:40. We were busses to remote stand near terminal 1, with Arkia’s Embraer next to us. On our way, I saw that all the remote stands near T3, so as the airbrigers gates, were totally full. No wonder the airport was in such a mess.

Boarding 9H-AEO, my first Maltese jet:
http://img202.imageshack.us/img202/9408/imgp5748h.jpg

http://img228.imageshack.us/img228/654/imgp5749.jpg

http://img163.imageshack.us/img163/3002/imgp5750.jpg

Cockpit:
http://img718.imageshack.us/img718/3936/imgp5754.jpg

Flight Details:
Flight: DM 7829
Airline: Air Malta
Plane: Airbus A320 9H-AEO
Seat: 4A
Route: Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Israel (TLV) -> Lqua Int'l Malta (MLA)
Date: Thursday, September 20th 2010.
Runways: 12 -> 31
Gates: B1 -> bus
SDT/SAT: 03:05/06:10

Actual timing:
Pushback: 04:55 (I entered the plane at 04:17)
Taxi: 05:00
Wheels off: 05:12
Touchdown: 07:50
Full stop: 07:53

Airborne time: 2 hours 37 minutes
Gate to Gate time: 2 hours 58 minutes (Scheduled 3:05) DELAY 1 hour 43 minutes
In total, I spent inside the plane whole hour more then the airborne time.

Boarding Pass:
http://img338.imageshack.us/img338/6716/imgp5740g.jpg

We sat at the 4th row. Doors closed, and we prepared for pushback. After a while, the captain spoke to us, and said in low slow voice, the due to the delay, take off will be delayed in … 2 hours and 20 minutes. He sounded pretty depressed, and told us that the crew is shocked from it.

Sighs were heard all over the cabin, but in just few moments (after a passenger asked a crew member to close the lights) passengers closed the shades, reclined their seats and fell asleep. The cabin was dead quite in few minutes. I started to read something, and then tried to sleep too.

About 30 minutes afterwards, suddenly I felt that the plane was been pushbacked. At first, I thought that we are been transferred to another stand to use this one to another plane, but no – the plane turned its engines on, and we started taxing to runway. Messiah!

Lights turned on, the crew demonstrated the safety procedures (2 video attempts failed) and we departed from RWY 12, in total delay of 2 hours. Not a ward was heard from the captain, all the way to the very end. Terminal 3 while taxing:
http://img26.imageshack.us/img26/9571/imgp5758f.jpg

Takeoff:

Turning right after takeoff:
http://img214.imageshack.us/img214/687/imgp5763.jpg

Climbing:


We all thanked the allmighty that we were in the air, at last. Nightmare was over.

Later on during the flight:




Crew wasn’t so nice either. Except from the meal service, they (2 male and 2 female) were out of sight, closed themselves in the galley, with closed curtain, and tried to avoid the passengers for most of the flight; this repeated itself on the return leg also.

Legroom was very good:
http://img401.imageshack.us/img401/1039/imgp5759w.jpg

flight meal was surprisingly big: full cold meal, more then expected for 3 hours charter flight. There was also drinks round right before the meal and tea/coffee round right afterwards. The main course was chicken salad, which was fine, no more and no less.

http://img69.imageshack.us/img69/5157/imgp5780.jpg]

There was no entertainment: blank screen, then stupid (and pretty wired) clips, and only an hour or so before landing we got the moving map. There was no Audio or headphones.

LF was 100%. Cabin:
http://img85.imageshack.us/img85/4162/imgp5783.jpg

Former owner?


Flight path:
http://img836.imageshack.us/img836/2479/imgp5788.jpg

We approached from south, landed on MLA RWY 31, one of the longest runways in Europe. Descending:


The first view of a new country always excite me!
http://img26.imageshack.us/img26/4122/imgp5795.jpg



This was an airport during the war, one out of 3, now closed (the other uses as parking lot near Mdina and the 3rd is the active Luqa airport):
http://img175.imageshack.us/img175/6784/imgp5797.jpg

Landing on RWY 31:


View to the terminal from my plane:
http://img696.imageshack.us/img696/489/imgp5804.jpg

Post flight - The tarmac full of many DM's jets, at least 8, with no other airline in sight:
http://img691.imageshack.us/img691/2205/imgp5805.jpg

Airport bus:
http://img843.imageshack.us/img843/1179/imgp5806.jpg

Deplaning:
http://img535.imageshack.us/img535/6087/imgp5807.jpg

http://img835.imageshack.us/img835/7533/imgp5808.jpg

External view of the terminal airside:
http://img84.imageshack.us/img84/9197/imgp5809.jpg

We entered the passport control hall, with the first passengers been rejected from passing since they didn't fill an arrival form. No one know we had to fill one – nothing was given to us on board. There were few forms in the hall, but they all run out pretty fast, and it took the local police a while to bring new forms. Considering that we were the only landing flight, it was very unprofessional.

One passenger approached one of the booths with her passport been covered in removable plastic protecting cover – pretty normal around here – and an angry policewoman took her aside and shouted on her, loudly and in front of other passengers, that she can't do that, it's "Illegal" to cover the passport nationality, and that she can get arrested for that.

Rubbish - this plane is coming from Tel Aviv, with the first passport page says "STATE OF ISRAEL", how can anyone hide it's nationality? Many Israelis cover their passport for protection, and I never sow something like that in any airport. And of course – why shouting at anyone in front of other passengers? Of you have a problem – take her aside. I have to admit that my first impression from Malta was very negative. After passport control, heading to baggage claim:
http://img340.imageshack.us/img340/4692/imgp5811p.jpg

Our luggage was out in no time; baggage claim hall:
http://img571.imageshack.us/img571/9158/imgp5813.jpg

MLA's arrival hall:
http://img267.imageshack.us/img267/6600/imgp5814.jpg

After that sleepless night, we exited the terminal and boarded the bus to our hotel. External view:
http://img299.imageshack.us/img299/4493/imgp5815.jpg

Malta is very interesting place. For those who look for beach & sun vacation – go someplace else, the Maltese coastline is rocky (without sand) and usually 3-4 meters lower from the street level. Yet, for those who look history and exploring new culture, Malta has a lot to offer. Here are some pics. The capitol, Valletta (view from Sliema):
http://img818.imageshack.us/img818/6517/imgp6023.jpg

Mdina, the old capitol and beautiful middle age city:
http://img534.imageshack.us/img534/8470/73422800.jpg

http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/7089/imgp6200.jpg



Sliema:
http://img139.imageshack.us/img139/4960/imgp5995.jpg

http://img801.imageshack.us/img801/5231/imgp6018.jpg

Sliema's beach:


Malta's west coast:
http://img840.imageshack.us/img840/1677/imgp6128.jpg

Blue caves at the west cost, the same like the one in Capri (Italy) only way bigger in size, and number (7 caves in total):
http://img29.imageshack.us/img29/4205/imgp6161.jpg

Malta is the most densely populated country in Europe and the Maltese usually try to save open space. Here is nice example – the largest mall in the country, "The point", is build underground, except for the top floor using for entrance and exit:


…and the roof is been used as soccer field:
http://img197.imageshack.us/img197/3746/imgp6021.jpg

North part of Paceville, where my hotel was located:
http://img63.imageshack.us/img63/263/imgp5979.jpg

View from my hotel back to Sliema:
http://img181.imageshack.us/img181/9638/imgp6244.jpg

From the same place, view north to Gozo, Malta's north Island:


My hotel, Corinthia St. George:
http://img229.imageshack.us/img229/8885/imgp5985.jpg

View from my room:


Also part of my hotel, this tower which was built to protect Malta from sea invesios. Towers like this are spread all over the Islands:


Hotel at night:
http://img231.imageshack.us/img231/6663/imgp6198g.jpg

From my room – notice the large number of ships:

I do not recommend staying in this hotel (I'll be happy to answer in more detail on private massage).


"In our country, those who do not believe in miracles are irrational" - David Ben Gurion.
26 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineEL-AL From Israel, joined Oct 2001, 1306 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 27830 times:

The public transportation in Malta is based on old buses – very old buses. Instead of replacing them, the government decided to keep it's old buses from the 1950s and on. This is not just a tourist attraction – those are the actual buses been used for public transport in the country, for tourists and locals alike.

http://img87.imageshack.us/img87/4910/imgp6231t.jpg

http://img97.imageshack.us/img97/55/imgp6232.jpg

http://img139.imageshack.us/img139/4216/imgp6065.jpg

http://img407.imageshack.us/img407/1153/imgp5948.jpg

http://img96.imageshack.us/img96/4945/imgp5949v.jpg

http://img820.imageshack.us/img820/8339/imgp5989n.jpg

http://img404.imageshack.us/img404/8568/imgp5939.jpg

http://img801.imageshack.us/img801/2613/imgp5968.jpg

Harbour Air (yes yes, just like the airline from British Colombia, Canada) is an airline operating scenic flights in Malta using Twin Otters. Those planes land and depart from the seaport in the east side of Valleta:
http://img830.imageshack.us/img830/6506/imgp5908.jpg

http://img713.imageshack.us/img713/8698/imgp5910.jpg

http://img811.imageshack.us/img811/1376/imgp5911.jpg

http://img687.imageshack.us/img687/8284/imgp5913r.jpg

Other side (Valleta in the background):
http://img229.imageshack.us/img229/4968/imgp6097.jpg

http://img143.imageshack.us/img143/9539/imgp6098.jpg

http://img233.imageshack.us/img233/3670/imgp6099.jpg

http://img100.imageshack.us/img100/6168/imgp6100.jpg

Time to return home. With SDT only at 23:30, we were still taken from the hotel at 19:45, getting us to the airport at 20:30, 3 hole hours before takeoff. External view of the Terminal:
http://img194.imageshack.us/img194/3721/imgp6261.jpg

http://img22.imageshack.us/img22/9057/imgp6262.jpg

Again, we were 'greeted' by a long line going outside the terminal doors, only for our flight:
http://img101.imageshack.us/img101/9397/imgp6259.jpg

http://img825.imageshack.us/img825/1986/imgp6258.jpg

http://img412.imageshack.us/img412/42/imgp6254.jpg

There was another DM flight (to Moscow) with way shorter line. Our line was separate due to some kind of security inspection, in which among other things our luggage was opened. In my suitcase I had a packet of cigarettes for my brother, something that the security guard saw (200 cigarettes total, worth 35 USD). Why is that important? Read on.
This part (security + check in) took 30 minutes. I asked for a window seat to the right not over the wing, I was asked if row 21 is OK, I said it's excellent and we were given boarding cards with seats C to F in row 21.
http://img825.imageshack.us/img825/2699/imgp6256.jpg

Check in hall:
http://img295.imageshack.us/img295/5972/imgp6263.jpg

From above, about 45 minutes later:
http://img571.imageshack.us/img571/9775/imgp6270.jpg

Since there was still a lot of time, I went to look around for a bit. Nicely decorated fast food area between arrival and departure hall:
http://img30.imageshack.us/img30/5255/imgp6268z.jpg

There was a sign directing to 'viewing point’, thought it may be interesting. I was disappointed to find out that there is just a restaurant with view of the tarmac (closed only for customers, naturally) and kids playground with one bench facing the tarmac, yet, it was full of kids and so noisy inside, so I left after one minute. Not much to see anyway, just 3 A320, 2 of KM and one of Vueling.

I passed security pretty fast (got yogurt which I took in the morning and forgot from thrown away, damn I hate EU airports, in Israel that’s not a problem) and went to departures hall. Now to get to it, a passenger must pass all the duty free area.

FIDS:
http://img22.imageshack.us/img22/2563/imgp6266w.jpg

MLA is pretty strange. With no airbrigers, all passengers are been bussed to their jets. Well that’s natural for small airports, but why all gates has one way mirror, that passengers can’t see anything but themselves? The only place where someone can see the planes is the smoking area, where I took the pic of the plane that will take me back to the holy land:
http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/581/imgp6283.jpg

Departure hall:
http://img547.imageshack.us/img547/8204/imgp6272.jpg

Non-spotters gates:
http://img339.imageshack.us/img339/3834/imgp6285.jpg

http://img411.imageshack.us/img411/6500/imgp6288.jpg

That raise the question, what is worse: passive smoking and stinky cloths or sitting down in a boring hall with nothing to see or do waiting for boarding? Also nothing to see from MLA's sole lounge.

When the time came, we passed passport control (which is only used for gates 12-15, for flights out of the EU I guess) and waited a bit more for boarding. Passport control:
http://img716.imageshack.us/img716/4613/imgp6292.jpg

Non-EU flights waiting hall:
http://img194.imageshack.us/img194/9227/imgp6294.jpg

Gate:
http://img688.imageshack.us/img688/2102/imgp6296.jpg

Boarding started 10 minutes late with no real reason – the plane was parking at least 2 hours prior to take off. Boarding itself was fast, and within 20 minutes all passengers were seated on board 9H-AEI.




מוראד, התמונה הזאת בשבילך:


http://img19.imageshack.us/img19/5638/imgp6303f.jpg

View to the terminal:
http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/5742/imgp6302.jpg

Registration:
http://img810.imageshack.us/img810/6856/imgp6304.jpg

Flight Details:
Flight: DM 7828
Airline: Air Malta
Plane: Airbus A320 9H-AEI
Seat: 21F
Route: Luqa Int'l Malta (MLA) -> Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Israel (TLV)
Date: Saturday/Sunday, September 25th/26th, 2010.
Runways: 31 -> 12
Gates: 12 -> C8 (T3)
SDT/SAT: 23:30/02:10

Actual timing:
Taxi: 23:34
Wheels off: 23:39
Touchdown: 1:59
Full stop: 02:05

Airborne time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Gate to Gate time: 2 hours 31 minutes (Scheduled 2:40)

Boarding Pass:
http://img704.imageshack.us/img704/8336/imgp6275u.jpg

Another DM A320 park next to us, AEK:
http://img245.imageshack.us/img245/4232/imgp6306.jpg

I was the last to board the plane. I asked for a blanket, but I was told that there aren't any left. We taxied 4 minutes late, with the safety demo on the screens this time, and took off from RWY 31. We had a great view of the Island – wonderful night view of Valletta and the area. Those spots are ships, waiting to enter Malta’s Freeport:
http://img716.imageshack.us/img716/9205/imgp6318.jpg

‘Entertainment’ was advertisements about Malta (pretty stupid to show them on the return leg, isn’t it?) then the flight path, around 1.5 hours prior to landing. Again, no headphones or audio. I can simply call it, for both flight, “no entertainment”. Not something expected from flag carrier. Food was the same like last time, only this time the chicken was very dry, so I passed it.

http://img37.imageshack.us/img37/1016/imgp6322l.jpg

Entrée:
http://img295.imageshack.us/img295/4149/imgp6323.jpg

Once again, after the meal the FAs entered the galleys, closed the curtain and were out of sight till landing. Asking for something to drink or anything else, a passenger (any passenger) had to get up, walk to the back, open the curtain a bit, to shove his head inside and to ask.

Safety card and airline magazine (safety card for trade, as usuall):
http://img191.imageshack.us/img191/4801/imgp6357h.jpg

For those who like name brand stuff, Air Malta is your dream airline. Everything is name branded, from the salt and pepper to the sick bag:
http://img16.imageshack.us/img16/1240/imgp6359.jpg

Flight path took us east till west of Cyprus, then southeast torwards Tel Aviv:
http://img299.imageshack.us/img299/5638/imgp6329.jpg

We had a view of south part of Tel Aviv. Crossing the beach over Jaffa:
http://img718.imageshack.us/img718/2519/imgp6331.jpg

Southern Tel Aviv, this while thing in the middle is Bloomfield stadium:
http://img299.imageshack.us/img299/4520/imgp6333.jpg

http://img85.imageshack.us/img85/265/imgp6334.jpg

Azur:
http://img822.imageshack.us/img822/2714/imgp6336.jpg

Road 4, which I drove on 40 minutes later.
http://img22.imageshack.us/img22/5343/imgp6338k.jpg

Smooth landing on RWY 12:
http://img697.imageshack.us/img697/6344/imgp6340.jpg

We taxied to gate C8 and disembarked. When I disembarked I notice the for the first 5-6 rows did have blankets and pillows.

In TLV:
http://img641.imageshack.us/img641/5028/imgp6347.jpg

Home sweet home!
http://img580.imageshack.us/img580/2346/imgp6348.jpg

One hour after wheels touchdown I was at home. TLV is back to it's normal self.

Yet, it wasn’t the end. When we came home, I notice the the packet of cigarettes for my brother was missing from the suitcase I sent on check in, while it still had the ‘Malta International airport’ safety sticker around it when I got it in TLV. Everything else was there.
Because I had it during the security check in Malta, and from that point till check in it was with me all the time, there is only one conclusion: someone from MLA airport broke into my suitcase and took it. Since the security guard saw it, and all baggage goes into scanning after check in, this is the only option.

I was shocked. It never happened to me. At home, I e-mailed the Maltese police, the airport authorities and the local ministry of tourism writing them about the case. I got a fast reply from the airport management, saying that they take those claims very seriously, and that it will be checked. Probably not the first time they get such compliant. I was asked to send them photos of the suitcase where it was stolen from, myself wearing the same clothes I had during the flight so as to complain to the local (Israeli) police. I did all that, and mailed it back but no reply ever since. I waited before publishing the TR to see if something will happen, but nothing did so far.

Shame something like this happened in EU airport.

Conclusion: poor Air Malta, 2 bad flights, but none of it was their fault. To Malta, TLV airport was a mess, which is not the usual case here, not even in high season. They had a delay of 1 hour 20 minutes which is not good, but reasonable. The extra 40 minutes delay was not their fault. On the return leg, again, the luggage theft was done by one of the MLA airport employees and not by Air Malta. Good points were the fine legroom and the relatively large meal, even in the middle of the night. Check in (not security) was also good, both ways. Bad points are the lack of entertainment and the unfriendly service. Both planes, in spite of their relatively young age, weren’t in good shape (torn seats, lamps not working etc).

This is it, I hope you liked it. Comments and feedback are always welcome.
http://img201.imageshack.us/img201/9057/imgp5882t.jpg

Please take a look at my other trip reports:

Flying The Box: Ayit Shorts 360 SDV-RPN-SDV (by el-al Oct 10 2010 in Trip Reports)

EL-AL Inaugural Domestic Flight 1.8.2010 TLV-ETH (by EL-AL Aug 2 2010 in 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)

[Edited 2010-10-22 05:14:47]


"In our country, those who do not believe in miracles are irrational" - David Ben Gurion.
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6758 posts, RR: 77
Reply 2, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 27712 times:

Hi Jonathan,

great report with many nice pictures, I really enjoyed reading. However, I'm disappointed by Air Malta, as a niche operator the company should focus a bit more on quality.

Quoting EL-AL (Thread starter):
We entered the passport control hall, with the first passengers been rejected from passing since they didn't fill an arrival form. No one know we had to fill one – nothing was given to us on board. There were few forms in the hall, but they all run out pretty fast, and it took the local police a while to bring new forms. Considering that we were the only landing flight, it was very unprofessional.

That's very bad indeed.

Quoting EL-AL (Thread starter):

One passenger approached one of the booths with her passport been covered in removable plastic protecting cover – pretty normal around here – and an angry policewoman took her aside and shouted on her, loudly and in front of other passengers, that she can't do that, it's "Illegal" to cover the passport nationality, and that she can get arrested for that.

Rubbish - this plane is coming from Tel Aviv, with the first passport page says "STATE OF ISRAEL", how can anyone hide it's nationality? Many Israelis cover their passport for protection, and I never sow something like that in any airport. And of course – why shouting at anyone in front of other passengers? Of you have a problem – take her aside. I have to admit that my first impression from Malta was very negative.

Unbelievable. I don't know how I would react when abroad - probably depending on the country - but I would never tolerate a German officer shouting at me.

Quoting EL-AL (Thread starter):
I passed security pretty fast (got yogurt which I took in the morning and forgot form thrown away, damn I hate EU airports, in Israel that’s not a problem) and went to departures hall.

Well, these rules don't just exist in the EU.

Quoting EL-AL (Thread starter):
Shame something like this happened in EU airport.

It's definitely a shame that it happened - but I guess that can happen anywhere.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineAIR MALTA From Malta, joined Sep 2001, 2499 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 27627 times:

Wait Wait... Look at my nickname!!!!

I am sorry you had such a bad experience with Air Malta, one of my favourite airlines... but I think the Air Malt's service for charter is not as good as mainline and scheduled operations.

As for the cigarette thefts, unfortunately, this happens at Malta International Airport but also happens at CDG and FCO.

I will counter attack and write an very positive Air Malta report I did in August : AMS-MLA-AMS.

I have to correct some stuff there : Malta has some sandy beaches, not much but still: Golden Bay, Ghajn Tuffieha, Mellieha bay, Paradise Bay and Ramla Bay (in Gozo). The nicest place to swim is the Blue Lagoon in Comino.

Funnily enough, I was in the same hotel as well and I did not like it. I have noticed some Israelis there as well. I tried to spy on them to brush up my Hebrew  ))

and finally Malta is a great place to be.

@EL-AL : Weren't you impressed by the Maltese language: another Semitic one, written with Latin characters. Did you recognize some words at least?

תודה על התמונה. תמונה מדהימה



Next flights : BRU-ZRH-CAI (LX)/ BRU-FCO-TLV (AZ)
User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1195 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 26687 times:

I loved Malta. Actually from the Westin one can swim in the sea but it was a bit cold.
I highly recommend you to Gozo and stay at the Kempinski; not on the ocean but they have a shuttle bus to the beach.

Air Malta used to have scheduled flights to TLV but dropped the route. Were most of the passengers Israeli? I would think the Maltese would go to Israel on pilgrimages?


User currently offlineglobalflyer From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 926 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 26093 times:

Hi Jonathan...very nice report! KM does not seem like a nice airline. What is the reasoning for the middle of the night departures in TLV? Just curious. Malta does look beautiful though! Excellent pics as well! Cheers! Liam


Landing on every Continent almost on an annual basis!
User currently offline777ORD From United States of America, joined May 2010, 496 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 25612 times:

great TR! And great to see some views of TLV again! I Love that city!

Sorry to hear about your cigarette experience. One thing I always do when traveling to less safe places, or where the price of them is very high, is to place a few packs of cigarettes in my suitcase, IN PLAIN VIEW so that may deter them from stealing something else. I don't smoke, so please go kill yourself for me. (sounds a bit morbid, oh well)


User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1931 posts, RR: 24
Reply 7, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 25472 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Good trip report!

Nice to read a report about Air Malta; you don't hear too much about them on here! Wow, 3:00am departure time .. that's amazing!

Beautiful photos of Malta. Definitely a very nice place.

Thanks for sharing!

Matthew (767747)


User currently offlineknightsofmalta From Malta, joined Nov 2005, 1822 posts, RR: 19
Reply 8, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 25330 times:

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 5):
What is the reasoning for the middle of the night departures in TLV?

Just maximum utilisation of the fleet. A few years back when they still operated the B. 737-200, Air Malta set up a new world record for the highest utilisation per day in September 1983 with 14.9 hours.


User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 9, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 25251 times:

Nice trip report! Sorry to hear about the theft in Malta. Hope you get some news concerning this!


Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3245 posts, RR: 12
Reply 10, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 24999 times:

Nice report, although the flights didn't seem terribly good. I with through of IST yesterday, and I realised when I got back bag back that my padlock had been cut off the bag - nothing was missing, but it wasn't very satisfactory. i didn;t realise until I got to the hotel, so I couldn't really complain.


http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:STN-SNN-STN,MAN-LHR-ARN-OSL-TOS-LYR-OSL-CPH-LHR,LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW-DXB-
User currently offlineEL-AL From Israel, joined Oct 2001, 1306 posts, RR: 5
Reply 11, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 24101 times:

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
great report with many nice pictures, I really enjoyed reading


Thx PH.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
Well, these rules don't just exist in the EU.


Yes, but it's still strange for us Israelis.

Quoting AIR MALTA (Reply 3):
I am sorry you had such a bad experience with Air Malta, one of my favourite airlines... but I think the Air Malt's service for charter is not as good as mainline and scheduled operations.


Hey mate, I'm afraid Air Malta wasn't that good, yet it wasn't horrible - the legroom and food were pretty good. I don't think KM still has scheduled flights to TLV, can't remember if there ever was.

Quoting AIR MALTA (Reply 3):
As for the cigarette thefts, unfortunately, this happens at Malta International Airport but also happens at CDG and FCO.


Not something i'd expect anywhere.

Quoting AIR MALTA (Reply 3):
Weren't you impressed by the Maltese language: another Semitic one, written with Latin characters. Did you recognize some words at least?


Not a single one! which is pretty strange, since I usually can understand many words while listening to Arabic. A local Maltese told us that she can understand some Hebrew word when she hears them.

Quoting AIR MALTA (Reply 3):
תודה על התמונה. תמונה מדהימה


בכיף

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 4):
Were most of the passengers Israeli? I would think the Maltese would go to Israel on pilgrimages?


100% Israelis, as those were charter flights being sold only by Israeli travel agencies. I don't know how the traffic is, but i have never seen Maltese tourists in Israel.

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 5):
Hi Jonathan...very nice report!


Thank you.

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 5):
What is the reasoning for the middle of the night departures in TLV?


2 reasons: first, the jewish holidays is a high season in traffic therefore there is high demand for flights. Second, TLV is currently having major runways extension project, forcing the airport to work with one active runway, Thus, all this traffic must be divided to all hours of the day to allow it to operate from the single runway.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 7):
Good trip report!


Thx.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 9):
Nice trip report!


Thank you.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 9):
Sorry to hear about the theft in Malta. Hope you get some news concerning this!


Promise to update if smothing happen.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 10):
Nice report, although the flights didn't seem terribly good


Flights weren't that good, but weren't horrible ether. I'd say the Air Europa flights i had in April are worse, yet I don't think that Air Malta would like to have the same service level as a Spanish charter airline.



"In our country, those who do not believe in miracles are irrational" - David Ben Gurion.
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8535 posts, RR: 54
Reply 12, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 24040 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Nice report and pictures, thanks for sharing.

Sounds like Air Malta are not as good as the could or should be.

Airlines for the smaller countries, such as Malta, really need to be ambasadors for their country and provide a high standard of service, something seemingly lacking in the TR's seen here in recent history.

Looks like Malta is the place to go for bus spotting!

The coast line is interesting, I knew parts were rocky, never realised it was pretty much all of it!

Rgds

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineAIR MALTA From Malta, joined Sep 2001, 2499 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 23893 times:

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 12):
Sounds like Air Malta are not as good as the could or should be.

As I said before, AIR MALTA is a better airline for scheduled flights. They are the best in UK-Malta flights (well not surprising when you have the choice between KM, FR and U2). I have been flying them since 1998 with at least one round trip every year (including flights on AR7, 73A, 733, 734, 319 & 320).

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 11):
Not a single one! which is pretty strange, since I usually can understand many words while listening to Arabic. A local Maltese told us that she can understand some Hebrew word when she hears them.

Example : Xemx (X is like the sound "sh") in Maltese is the שמש in Hebrew.



Next flights : BRU-ZRH-CAI (LX)/ BRU-FCO-TLV (AZ)
User currently offlineinfodesk From Switzerland, joined May 2006, 1454 posts, RR: 33
Reply 14, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 23277 times:

Having flown on Air Malta myself I found your report very interesting. What a terribly stressful time you had at TLV on the outbound journey, it sounds awful. It shows you how bad things are when you are ashamed of your home airport!

As for KM, I found pretty much the same with our flights from ZRH. The meal was great for a 90minute hop, but the service was not so good. Staff seemed disinterested and never smiled the whole flight.

And as for the cigarettes, that's appalling. It's incidents like that which make you vow never to visit the country again, so the Maltese Authorities should take it seriously. I got done by a Maltese taxi driver on the way to the airport which left a bit of a bad taste.

Thanks for posting the pics of Malta, it is a lovely island full of history. I can recommend a nice hotel in St. Julian's if you ever go again.

Happy flying
Infodesk



"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5088 posts, RR: 55
Reply 15, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 22976 times:

Wow. What a horrible experience on Air Malta. I flirted with visiting Malta recently but your trip has certainly taken away from my excitment. It seems these small countries are unable to do anything beyond the norm. I had really poor immigration experience at Cyprus where the fools were convinced I was immigrating there because I wasn't the general typical tourist. Um hello, I am using a Liechtenstein passport  .

Quoting EL-AL (Thread starter):

The worst part was hand bag security: out of 20 stands just 4 were open, and it simply took forever. I have never seen such inefficiency before. 3 tourists from Singapore heading for Swiss flight in C class were standing behind me; I was embarrassed to be Israeli at that point, due to the way foreigners saw the main gate of my country. I felt absolute disgrace at my home airport, for the first time since T3 was opened.

= Why were you standing in the general queue? Don't Israeli citizens go through the separate security queue? It is usually the lanes on the right hand side no?

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
Unbelievable. I don't know how I would react when abroad - probably depending on the country - but I would never tolerate a German officer shouting at me.

= PH, you'd be surprised. I had a German officer yelling at me in Frankfurt. My offense - when he could not find the exit stamp from Accra on my passport, I told him let me show it. Why it matters is an entirely different opinion as I am an Euro citizen and this should not matter. Some people are just morons - usually, immigration in Germany is extremely good.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineViper911 From Russia, joined Oct 2005, 264 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 22728 times:

Quoting EL-AL (Thread starter):
Malta is the most densely populated country in Europe and the Maltese usually try to save open space. Here is nice example – the largest mall in the country, "The point", is build underground, except for the top floor using for entrance and exit

Great TR Jonathan, that mall looks exactly the same as Kenyon Azrieli in TA.


User currently offlineEL-AL From Israel, joined Oct 2001, 1306 posts, RR: 5
Reply 17, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 13 hours ago) and read 22182 times:

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 12):
Nice report and pictures, thanks for sharing.


My plasure BA.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 12):
Airlines for the smaller countries, such as Malta, really need to be ambasadors for their country and provide a high standard of service, something seemingly lacking in the TR's seen here in recent history.


I can only agree.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 12):
Looks like Malta is the place to go for bus spotting!


Absolutely! Take a look at this link (simply open messages with jpg attachments: http://www.tapuz.co.il/Forums2008/Vi...px?ForumId=394&MessageId=145508663

Quoting infodesk (Reply 14):
Having flown on Air Malta myself I found your report very interesting


Thx.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 14):
What a terribly stressful time you had at TLV on the outbound journey, it sounds awful. It shows you how bad things are when you are ashamed of your home airport!


I just have to say again that TLV is usually very efficient airport (both domestic and international) and this one was an exception.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 14):
And as for the cigarettes, that's appalling. It's incidents like that which make you vow never to visit the country again, so the Maltese Authorities should take it seriously. I got done by a Maltese taxi driver on the way to the airport which left a bit of a bad taste.


With those great buses, why taking a taxi? 
Quoting infodesk (Reply 14):
I can recommend a nice hotel in St. Julian's if you ever go again.


Don't think so, not in the near future at least. Thought it's very cheap: I saw today (october 28th) advertisement for Malta, flight + 4 nights for 269 USD, which is not much considering the now USD rate against the NIS now days.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 15):
I had really poor immigration experience at Cyprus where the fools were convinced I was immigrating there because I wasn't the general typical tourist


Which part of Cyprus that was?

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 15):
= Why were you standing in the general queue? Don't Israeli citizens go through the separate security queue? It is usually the lanes on the right hand side no?


No, there was one queue for all passengers.

Quoting Viper911 (Reply 16):
Great TR Jonathan, that mall looks exactly the same as Kenyon Azrieli in TA.


Thx Viper. Azrieli is about 5 times the size of that Mall.



"In our country, those who do not believe in miracles are irrational" - David Ben Gurion.
User currently offlineAlexEU From Serbia, joined Oct 2007, 1817 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (3 years 10 months 6 days ago) and read 21751 times:

Hi, nice report and pictures!!

Quoting EL-AL (Thread starter):
Many Israelis cover their passport for protection

Why? I mean, this is Malta, it´s not Iran or Libya  


User currently offlineEL-AL From Israel, joined Oct 2001, 1306 posts, RR: 5
Reply 19, posted (3 years 10 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 21547 times:

Quoting AlexEU (Reply 18):
Hi, nice report and pictures!!


Thx.

Quoting AlexEU (Reply 18):
Why? I mean, this is Malta, it´s not Iran or Libya


As I wrote, the idea is not to hide the nationality but simply to protect it from damages.



"In our country, those who do not believe in miracles are irrational" - David Ben Gurion.
User currently offlineQFKangaroo747 From Australia, joined Nov 2004, 118 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (3 years 10 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 21257 times:

Thank you for a wonderful report Jonathan! I'm sorry to hear that your experience with Air Malta, and with the TLV and MLA airports was not positive. In fact, the whole airport experience of MLA sounds somewhat disgraceful. Nonetheless, it seems like it was all worth it to experience the magic of Malta. It looks like a tremendous place to visit and after reading your report I would really like to go there myself!

User currently offlineEL-AL From Israel, joined Oct 2001, 1306 posts, RR: 5
Reply 21, posted (3 years 10 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 20840 times:

Quoting QFKangaroo747 (Reply 20):
Thank you for a wonderful report Jonathan!


You welcome, I'm glad you liked it.

Quoting QFKangaroo747 (Reply 20):
Nonetheless, it seems like it was all worth it to experience the magic of Malta. It looks like a tremendous place to visit and after reading your report I would really like to go there myself!


Well, let me say it like this: if you're coming all the way from down under to Europe, there are some places that you sould see before Malta.



"In our country, those who do not believe in miracles are irrational" - David Ben Gurion.
User currently offlinestandby87 From Switzerland, joined Jul 2001, 536 posts, RR: 3
Reply 22, posted (3 years 10 months 11 hours ago) and read 20485 times:

Hi El-Al

Thanks for taking the trouble to write such a detailed report, very impressed.
We are flying to Malta in a couple of weeks from Zurich, and looking forward to it.

Cheers!


User currently offlinestandby87 From Switzerland, joined Jul 2001, 536 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 19125 times:

Et voila El-Al

As promised, here is our Zurich-Malta report

Air Malta ZRH-MLA-ZRH (by standby87 Dec 13 2010 in Trip Reports)

Quite a different experience flying Scheduled Air Malta isof. Charter Air Malta.
For us, it went perfectly.

Cheers!


User currently offlineTinosky From Canada, joined Mar 2010, 103 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 13106 times:

Quoting EL-AL (Thread starter):
Harbour Air (yes yes, just like the airline from British Colombia, Canada) is an airline operating scenic flights in Malta using Twin Otters. Those planes land and depart from the seaport in the east side of Valleta

I never knew that HA did charters there. Must be a long flight back home to YVR!

Cheers and great job on the report!

tinosky,


User currently offlinePs76 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 25, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 12930 times:

Hi!

Many thanks for the trip report. Tel Aviv to Malta is definitely a more interesting route to read about on Airliners.net. Sorry you had long lines at your airports though and your cigarettes were stolen. But you seemed to have a nice time in Malta and had some nice pics. What was wrong with your hotel? The photos of it look pretty nice, especially lit up at night. If you like islands with rocky coastlines if you haven't been there you should consider going to Madeira too. Anyway I enjoyed reading the report. Would like to go to Tel Aviv one day and the Eilat jazz festival.

Many thanks,

Pierre


User currently offlineEL-AL From Israel, joined Oct 2001, 1306 posts, RR: 5
Reply 26, posted (2 years 6 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 12579 times:

Quoting Tinosky (Reply 24):
Cheers and great job on the report!

Thank you very much, glad you read it in spite of it's "age".

Quoting Ps76 (Reply 25):
Many thanks for the trip report.

You welcome.

Quoting Ps76 (Reply 25):
What was wrong with your hotel?

The service was bad - we were given a bad room, and when we forgot something (bag of cloths) at the room during our last day it went "missing" when the room was cleaned.


Quoting Ps76 (Reply 25):
Sorry you had long lines at your airports though and your cigarettes were stolen

Yes, and nothing new from the Maltese authorities since it happened (16 months ago).

Quoting Ps76 (Reply 25):
If you like islands with rocky coastlines if you haven't been there you should consider going to Madeira too

Actualy Madeira was out first choise, but it's fairly expansive to get there - it was 450 USD to LIS, then another easyjet flight. Flights to MLA were about 300 USD. Maybe another time, I do want to visit Portugal soon.



"In our country, those who do not believe in miracles are irrational" - David Ben Gurion.
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