Friday 12 April 2013

EasyJet, Luton to Tel Aviv

EasyJet's flights to Tel Aviv leave from Luton - probably London's grimmest airport. When you check-in online, you should consider paying for an extra legroom seat for this five hour flight. In any case, aim for a window seat as you can get some fine views of the Greek coastline and its islands. But don't bother paying for speedy boarding - seats are allocated anyway. It is best to avoid the lengthy baggage drop queues by only taking hand-luggage, as the security checks at Luton tend to be under-manned and slow. When you finally make it to the gate, you might be approached by EasyJet staff and asked to put your hand baggage in the hold - they sometimes do this if the flight is full. But make sure you take on some food and drink, as the refreshments on board aren't great. In early April, the plane can be packed with families of orthodox Jews who may stand in the aisle mid-flight to pray. There is no in-flight entertainment system, so make sure you bring plenty to read.

Thorough inspection 
When you arrive at the impressively-modern and well-staffed Ben Gurion airport, you can get through passport control and the security checks surprisingly quickly. It takes about 30 minutes in a taxi to the city centre. But, on the way back, make sure you get to the airport three hours before your flight. For EasyJet, you are supposed to go through Terminal 1, which is primarily for domestic flights (you will actually be flying from Terminal 3). Even if you don't have hold luggage, you'll need to undergo several security checks, potentially involving questions about the stamps in your passport and a very thorough inspection of your luggage. But the queues can be short. Once you are done, you are transported air-side by coach to Terminal 3, which is well equipped with pricey shops and cafes. Eat here, as the food is a lot better than on EasyJet. When you arrive in Luton, passport control can be refreshingly quick, but you have to catch a bus to the train station. 6/10