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Layover at JFK

Stillwater, Oklahoma
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2 posts
14 reviews
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Layover at JFK

I am traveling to Israel for the first time with a tour group. The experienced group leader has told me that he is concerned that if I leave JFK during our 11 hour layover, there could be some potential security implications with El Al. Also, he believes that I might have trouble checking back in to the airport as "my boarding pass will not be issued until three hours before flight departure" according to him.

I don't NEED to leave the airport, but it seems like if I can, there is plenty to do in NYC instead of sitting in the airport.

On a related side note, if I am flying AA to JFK, will I need to claim my checked luggage from AA and recheck it with El Al? Or will AA check it all the way through?

Thanks for any insight.

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
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15,765 posts
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1. Re: Layover at JFK

I don't know whether your luggage will be checked straight through - it may be, even though it will be subject to more security at JFK - the only reliable place for that answer would be AA or El Al, or both.

I don't see any reason you can't leave the airport with such a long layover, as long as you are back there 3 hours before your flight.

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
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14,246 posts
265 reviews
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2. Re: Layover at JFK

Your luggage should be checked through but you will need to identify it before boarding. This is standard practice for boarding any flight to Israel on any airline with a delayed layover.

This being said you can check into the ElAl flight before getting in the first flight. Therefore there is no reason you can't take advantage and take the train to town and see some of New York. You will need to go through security once you return so be sure to allow yourself at least two hours for this when returning to the airport. This will be okay only if you are flying in/out of Kennedy and there is no more than a 12 hour layover(maximum time your luggage will be held by any airline).

Chana

Israel

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
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35,032 posts
35 reviews
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3. Re: Layover at JFK

HI! As the part time New Yorker whose Israeli nephew is constantly connecting at JFK let me answer.

Flying AA your luggage will DEFINITELY be checked through to TLV. ( on the return, you will have to claim it to go through customs and then recheck it) My nephew flies AA from JFK to BOS and this is what happens with him.

He also very frequently leaves the airport. AA lands at Terminal 7 or 8 (blanking on which) ELAL leaves from Terminal 4. You are outside security-and no one knows where you went or what you did. --

El Al strongly suggests you check in 3 hours before your flight. ( and considering the TSA lines at T4, I suggest it too) There is absolutely no reason why you can not leave JFK and go to Manhattan. Don't forget you will be shlepping your carryon with you. --or looking for and locating the baggage check in in Terminal 4 to leave it! ( which understandably means El AL will, most likely, go through that piece of luggage)

In summation:

What time is your scheduled arrival and JFK and what time is your scheduled departure. THEN it can be figured out what time you really have and what you an really do.

Also, I am assuming this is an ADULT tour--and your tour leader has maybe never really been to JFK or NYC. He has read two many urban legends re: El Al. Those of us starting in NYC-El Al trusts us as much as someone making a connection--bottom line, the leaders logic is not logically and makes no sense.

Post on the NYC forum for ideas of what you can do in a small window of time. --also date would help.

Edited: 10 June 2014, 13:36
Ottawa, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jerusalem, Galilee, Tel Aviv
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4. Re: Layover at JFK

Your tour leader is either just being super cautious or is just plain wrong. I ran into a similar situation flying to Israel through Heathrow in London. The tour leader told us we could not leave the airport during a 7 hour layover as 'El Al' did not allow it. Such nonsense. I happily took the tube into central London, had breakfast in Covent Garden and then attended the Israel Day festivities in Trafalgar Square (that was sheer coincidence) before returning to the airport 2 hours in advance to go through security and continue my journey. I was the only one of the group who did this and it was no problem at all. I couldn't imagine being 'imprisoned' in an airport for 11 hours without the option of leaving. People leave all the time on far shorter layovers just to go outside for a cigarette!!!! You aren't wearing a tracking device. I hope your tour leader also gives you some freedom to explore when you are in Israel and doesn't insist you stay in the hotel when not group touring.

Stillwater, Oklahoma
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2 posts
14 reviews
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5. Re: Layover at JFK

Thank you everyone for confirming what I thought. I think he is overly cautious and nervous about herding 86 people together. I have travelled quite a bit overseas, but El Al was the one thing I didn't know about. I have heard and read the stories about super increased scrutiny (understandably) and didn't want to make assumptions based on other travel experiences. Thank you again!!

USA
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1,025 posts
127 reviews
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6. Re: Layover at JFK

I have another JFK connection question: On my return I have a two hour layover between EL-AL scheduled landing and AA connection. It is a legal connection (but not by much - the JFK legal connection time for international to domestic is 1 hour and 45 minutes). Anyone want to guess, based on their experience, how likely I am to make it? (If I don't make it, I will be protected, as it's a single ticket - but would be nice to make it)

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
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7. Re: Layover at JFK

You might make it, but you will be running since you must collect your luggage go through customs put it on a rack to be transferred to the second flight and then RUN to the next terminal, go through security and catch the plane. Some airlines don't have you going through security to get to the second flight as transportation is within the airport without going outside. Get your running shoes on and use the bathroom on the plane. You may make it, but don't be surprised if you don't. Immigration can also take an hour.

Chana

Israel

Spokane, Washington
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76 reviews
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8. Re: Layover at JFK

I think 2 hours is very tight at JFK. You are competing with lots of other incoming international flights for customs. This was the main reason I chose to flight to Europe from the West Coast rather than go through JFK.

USA
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127 reviews
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9. Re: Layover at JFK

I would have liked to avoid JFK. But we are using miles, and wanted to fly El Al, so had limited options. Not looking forward to JFK. But it is a small price to pay for the great privilege of being able to visit Israel, so we will deal...

New Albany, Indiana
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1,096 posts
137 reviews
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10. Re: Layover at JFK

We had a 1 hour 45 minute layover between our Delta flight into JFK last week from overseas and our connection to home. It was tight but we made it to the gate 20 minutes before boarding. So it is possible but leaves nothing to chance. I was sure Delta would change it on us as they always have in the past. I personally hate it when they give us 4 or 5 hours because I just want to get home. But it worked out and I was thrilled.