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El Al or United Airlines

Chicago, Illinois
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16 posts
1 review
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El Al or United Airlines

Me again, Thanks so much for all your help. I'm in the process of trying to buy a ticket. All things being equal, which would be the better airline for a trip to Israel from the US, El Al or United Airlines?

Thanks

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
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15,126 posts
288 reviews
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1. Re: El Al or United Airlines

El Al is the Israeli national airline with the best airline security in the world. United Airlines flies to Israel only from Newark on Continental planes which are usually small than those on El Al (that flights from JFK, Newark and Toronto). Since you are in Chicago you may choose to fly via Europe which is recommended from your point of departure for convenience in both directions. However, those flights may be a combination of more than one airline but a United Airline ticket.

Chana

Israel

Chicago, Illinois
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150 posts
71 reviews
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2. Re: El Al or United Airlines

I am also flying from Chicago - in May. I booked last year via United, but because I was using miles to pay, they booked me on Luftansa via Frankfort. I would have preferred the Continental option via Newark, but it was not offered to me. Also, if you go Luftansa, the return flight leaves at 5am. (they may have a later flight but I don't know, and it wasn't offered to me).

doug

wgr
Vancouver, BC
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1,241 posts
109 reviews
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3. Re: El Al or United Airlines

Air Canada is a code share with United and there is good connection through Toronto. Returning is not so good as you would have to overnight in Toronto but would not leave TLV until early afternoon.

Connections are obviously very important but if comfort and service are a factor any of Air Canada or almost any European airline will provide better service than United.

Ottawa, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jerusalem, Galilee, Tel Aviv
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5,927 posts
142 reviews
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4. Re: El Al or United Airlines

Having never had a good experience with United, I try to avoid even flying codeshare with them.

Why not fly El Al - it is far more reliable than United in my opinion and you get the flavour of Israel from the moment you put your foot on the plane.

The Air Canada option is also very good. They are my airline of choice and it works if you are leaving from Chicago. However, it is definitely not the least expensive option.

Edited: 28 March 2012, 21:36
Paragon
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1,747 posts
46 reviews
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5. Re: El Al or United Airlines

I've flown Continental, Delta and El Al to Israel and had good experiences with all.

Kathy

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144 posts
119 reviews
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6. Re: El Al or United Airlines

I have flown El Al, "Continental" when it was still that, and Delta. My most recent trips (Dec 2011 and Feb 2012) were both Delta because flight times worked better. While the flights themselves were fine, the connections/Delta terminal at JFK were awful. A true "balagan"; so I would avoid that if I could.

My past experiences with El Al were pretty good.

But I have no idea about travel from Chicago, so the connection issue seems to me to be paramount.

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
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36,694 posts
38 reviews
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7. Re: El Al or United Airlines

I just looked. The non-stop flights from Newark to TLV use either a 747 or 777. That is the same equipment that El Al uses, so I do not know what Chana means when she says smaller plane. There are flight through Europe that use smaller equipment, but if you decide to go United, and you are already making a connection, I dont know why you would want to first stop in Newark and THEN stop again in Europe!

Personally, I like El Al. They are NOT the most comfortable in economy. ( I don't know who is nowadays) BUT they have the best security. After all, they wrote the book and it is to them that everyone else turned when they needed to learn how to do it. ( and some learned and others created their own jokes)

I just went back and checked something out. Interestingly the direct flights report only 1 meal per flight, while El Al does two!

Edited: 29 March 2012, 01:29
Maryland
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144 posts
42 reviews
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8. Re: El Al or United Airlines

We flew Continental from Newark and were served two meals.

wgr
Vancouver, BC
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1,241 posts
109 reviews
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9. Re: El Al or United Airlines

What you choose will depend on what is important to you. I was fooling around playing amateur travel agent on

expedia and if elapsed time travelling (ie. how long from take off in Chicago to landing in Tel Aviv is important, then your best bet is:

El Al with American to Newark and El Al to TLV in 14 hours 10 minutes

Second is Iberia through Madrid (15 hours 10 minutes). Slightly longer is Lufthansa through Frankfurt at 15 hours 25 minutes.

With United, the shortest elapsed time is 17hours 25 minutes. For United?

Tel Aviv, Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
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2,537 posts
24 reviews
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10. Re: El Al or United Airlines

When I fly to the US, I never use El Al because it is inconvient. They fly non-stop to New York and Los Angeles, which would mean going through passport control and collecting luggage in one of two really busy airports and then connect to a domestic flight - probably in another terminal.

I usually fly either to Chicago or San Francisco, so I choose an airline (either US or European) that gives me a connection in a European airport and a non-stop flight from there to/from the US, so my luggage is handled, and I don't have to go through passport control - unless I choose to have a long connection time (for instance, arriving in London in the morning and flying to Israel at night, giving me a day to sightsee or visit friends in London).

There are several European airlines that fly to O'Hare. Last year, I used British Airlines. 2 years before that, I flew KLM, who are in partnership with Air France, so I flew KLM through Amsterdam in one direction and Air France through Paris in the other. My main consideration is price. The connecton times always seem to be good.

I use expedia.com to find the airlines that fly my route. Then I go to each of their websites to look for flights. The prices are as good (sometimes better) and I see all the flight options, while expedia will only give a few.