Getting to Israel cheaply is obviously important for a lot of tourists who visit Israel, particularly amid rising air fares. Whilst it may seem obvious, there are a number of ways to dramatically decrease the cost of your flights to Israel and after our recent article about the best ways to visit Israel on a budget, we publish this guide of the best ways to get to Israel cheaply with some general tips that you might find helpful in planning your trip. We’ve broken it down depending on where you’re coming from, and then at the end are some general tips.
Getting Cheaply to Israel from the USA or Canada
Flight to Israel, somewhere over Europe
Travelling to Israel from the USA or Canada can be expensive. There are a limited number of airlines flying between the countries, from a limited range of cities (New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Toronto) with a limited range of airlines (EL AL, US Airways, United, Delta, and Air Canada). For many people, this lack of choice means that instantly, they have to fly from their local airport to one of these hubs and then onto Israel.
Fly to Israel via Europe
It is usually cheaper to fly to Israel from the USA or Canada via a European city. The easiest way to do this is by flying with one of the big European Airlines via major European hubs. Often due to alliances, it is possible to even fly with a US airline to Europe and then another airline to Israel (for instance, fly American Airlines to London and then British Airways or EL AL to Tel Aviv on one ticket). Due to fare prices and flight timings, particularly popular connecting routes are currently with Swiss Air via Switzerland, Turkish Airlines via Istanbul, Brussels Airlines, British Airways, Alitalia, and Lufthansa.
Low-cost flights to Israel
Another way to arrange your trip which could work out even cheaper is to fly to a specific European city, and then take a low-cost flight with one of Europe’s many low-cost airlines to Tel Aviv. The problem with this is that you are booking two separate flights so a delay to one meaning you miss the other means you will probably not get an automatic free transfer. If you don’t mind the risk, or want to use the opportunity to spend some time in Europe, it’s a great option. Some of the best options are Easyjet, Air Berlin, Germanwings, Jetairfly, Niki, Smartwings, and TUIfly.
Getting Cheaply from Europe to Israel
From Europe there are many cost-effective ways of getting to Israel with a huge range of routes and airlines meaning that in many cases, the market is competitive and fares reasonable.
From Europe, flexibility in dates is a big part of getting a good fare, and booking far in advance also helps. The low-cost airlines start selling seats for a flight very cheaply, and increase the price as more people book meaning that in general the fares increase as the flight approaches. If you are flexible in date, and avoid the peak times of Passover, Easter, July and August, and December, you should be able to get a very good value flight.
Lots of low cost isn’t always low cost
There are lots of low-cost airlines now flying between European cities and Tel Aviv. These airlines often offer incredible fares, however it is also important to note that the low-cost carriers are not always cheaper than the regular scheduled airlines so be sure to check.
From Europe, the benefit of an indirect flight is often more marginal than from North America, especially if you book far in advance. Closer to the date, however, as fares have increased, there can be massive savings to be had, although these can still result in you paying the same, or more, than you would if you had booked earlier on a direct flight.
Getting cheaply from Latin America or the Far East to Israel
There is less choice in flying from Latin America and the Far East to Israel, meaning that there is less competition with fares. Flying via Europe is a great way of reducing fares from the Far East, however, can add a lot of time to flights seeing as you effectively fly past Israel, and then back again. The key principle is to be flexible, book in advance, and shop around.
General Tips for Getting to Israel Cheaply
Be prepared to fly to Israel on an indirect flight
Check direct with low-cost airlines which might not appear on regular booking sites or airlines own sites
Make use of airline alliances and code-share flights they offer
Book in advance
Avoid the busiest periods of the year
Search around on the internet and be aware of flight sales and special offers
Be flexible on your days
Consider staying overnight in Europe to take advantage of super low fares you can get with low cost carriers but which are considered to be two separate flights