Last month I went to Israel for 10 days. My flights were booked for me on Brussels Airlines, from New York (JFK) to Tel Aviv (TLV) via Brussels (BRU). I was looking forward to the trip as it would be my first time going to Israel and flying on Brussels. I was not able to have seats assigned when my flights were booked. After calling, I was told they could assign seats for the BRU-TLV and TLV-BRU legs a few days prior to departure but not the Trans - Atlantic flights. These seats would be assigned at the airport upon check in. The day before my flight I called again and the agent was able to assign me the last window seat they had open in one of the last rows. My flight from JFK was scheduled to depart at 615pm, since I would be flying into New York from Phoenix, AZ I had no choice but to take a 6am flight from PHX-JFK. This flight arrived a little before 2pm and allowed me plenty of time to transfer terminals and check in with Brussels at Terminal 1.
Brussels Airlines 502
New York (JFK) – Brussels, Belgium (BRU)
Scheduled Departure Time – 615pm
Actual Departure Time-642pm
Scheduled Arrival Time –745am
Actual Arrival Time- 646am
6 hours 4 minutes
The line for check in at Brussels Airlines was long. It took about 45 minutes of waiting on line before reaching the counter. Then it took the agent about 10 minutes to check in each person. Once I had my boarding passes and checked my bag I was on my way to security. Brussels participates in TSA Pre Check. While there was not a designated line, I did not have to take off my shoes or take my laptop out of my bag. By the time I was all checked in and through security, I had about an hour until boarding started.
My plane parked at gate 9
Boarding started about 45 minutes prior to departure and everyone just boarded at one time. Everyone was on the plane and all the bins were closed with about 20 minutes until we were scheduled to leave. Eventually the door was closed, and we pushed back about 5 minutes early. Once the engines were started we began to taxi to 22R. JFK was busy and it took about 40 minutes until we were number 1 for takeoff. After a long takeoff roll, we were airborne and climbing out along the coast of Long Island. About 30 minutes after takeoff the flight attendants had already started the dinner service.
Cabin before departure
Taxing to 22R
After dinner the lights were turned down. A few hours later as the sun started to come up flight attendants came through the cabin with breakfast. Shortly after this we began our descent into Brussels. The CA made an announcement welcoming us to Brussels, and that thanks to a strong tailwind we would be arriving an hour early. Besides arriving early the flight was relatively short at only 6 hours and 4 minutes. We made a smooth touchdown at 646am and parked at the gate a few minutes later. There was still a little over 2 hours until the flight to TLV was scheduled to depart. After walking around the terminal for a little while, I headed to the gate to wait for boarding.
Brussels Airlines 3289
Brussels, Belgium (BRU) – Tel Aviv, Israel (TLV)
Scheduled Departure Time – 935am
Actual Departure Time-1015am
Scheduled Arrival Time – 305pm
Actual Arrival Time- 333pm
4 hours 18 minutes
Boarding began about 10 minutes late. We had to take a bus ride from the terminal to the aircraft. It took several buses to get all the passengers to the aircraft. By the time everyone was onboard and we were ready to go, we were about 20 minutes late. After a quick taxi we were airborne and headed southeast towards Tel Aviv. On this flight everything was for sale including water. The flight was full and multiple people were standing and walking up and down the aisle through the entire flight , after being told multiple times to take their seats. Eventually we began our descent into Tel Aviv. After landing we deplaned and headed to immigration. This process took about an hour between waiting on line and getting our bags.
Descending into TLV
Welcome to Tel Aviv
After 10 days in Israel it was time to head back. The return flight was also on Brussels Airlines. My flight was scheduled to depart at 450am. We arrived at the airport around 130am. Checking in at TLV consisted of waiting on line to be questioned by a security person. Then you got on another line to receive your boarding pass and check your bag. Once this was done you went through security and then passport control. This whole process took a little under 2 hours. The main area of TLV had lots of shops and waiting area. There were several flights departing before dawn this morning, and the airport was very busy. Just like on the flight from BRU, boarding started about 20 minutes late even though our plane was already here. Once everyone was onboard we pushed back and taxied to the active as the sun was rising. We were number 2 in line for takeoff behind a Swiss A330 headed to ZRH. While holding short an El Al 747 arrived from BCN. It was nice to be able to see, as EL Al will soon be retiring their 747s. A few minutes later we were climbing into the early morning sky above the Mediterranean. Just after takeoff the flight attendants asked everyone to close their window shades as most people on the plane wanted to sleep due to the early hour of the flight. Just like on the flight from BRU, everything including water on this flight was for purchase. Eventually we began our descent into an overcast sky over Brussels. After landing I had to go through security before heading to the gate were my flight to JFK would depart from.
Brussels Airlines 3294 Tel Aviv, Israel (TLV) - Brussels, Belgium (BRU)
Scheduled Departure Time – 450am
Actual Departure Time-512am
Scheduled Arrival Time – 850am
Actual Arrival Time- 852am
4 hours 40 minutes
EL AL 747 from Barcelona
OO-SNB after arrival from Tel Aviv, before departure to Moscow
Brussels Airlines 501 Brussels, Belgium (BRU) – New York, NY (JFK)
Scheduled Departure Time – 1030am
Actual Departure Time-1114am
Scheduled Arrival Time – 1250pm
Actual Arrival Time- 103pm
7 hours 49 minutes
Other than the JFK-BRU flight, every other flight including this flight began boarding late. This flight began boarding about 25 minutes late. This flight was completely full and boarding took quite a while. Once everyone was on board we pushed back from the gate 30 minutes late and taxied to the runway. We followed a United 777-200 to ORD towards the runway. Shortly after takeoff lunch was served and shortly before landing a small snack was served. After this we began our descent into JFK, touching down on 22L just after 1pm and at the gate a few minutes later.
OO-SFO to JFK, the same A330 I flew from JFK-BRU
Descending into JFK
OO-SFO at Terminal 1
Once we landed I downloaded the mobile passport app, which made the line at immigration very short. After waiting for my bag I had about 2 hours until my DL flight back to PHX through SLC. It was a great trip to Israel and experience on Brussels Airlines. The only negative was the delayed boarding on all but one of the flights.