By Stacey Dresner
BOSTON – When the Boeing 767-300 aircraft touched down at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport on the morning of July 1, the passengers applauded as those arriving in Israel always do. They included families with young children, singles and seniors, and an energetic group of young BBYO members from the Boston area. In the very back row, a young man strummed his yukele, playing a soulful version of “Hatikvah,” the national anthem of Israel.
These passengers were some of the first to travel to Israel on El Al’s new nonstop flight from Boston’s Logan International Airport to Ben Gurion.
The very first direct flight from Boston to Tel Aviv took off on Sunday, June 28 and landed at 3:05 p.m. on Monday. A ribbon cutting attended by El Al representatives as well as Israel’s Consul General in Boston, Yehuda Yaakov and Massachusetts Port Authority CEO Thomas Glynn was held to inaugurate the new direct flight.
Both the first flight, and the second flight on June 30, were full of passengers happy to have a more convenient way to travel from New England to Israel.
Fern Chertok of Sudbury, who works for the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University was on the second direct flight from Boston to Tel Aviv. Chertok travels to Israel once or twice a year for her job. On this trip she was doing research with Hillel International looking at a new Israel education program.
“It’s terrific,” Chertok said of the new flight from Boston to Tel Aviv.
“It means that it gives me another half a day. I don’t have to fly to Philly or New York or Newark, or to Europe and then spend three or four hours waiting for the next flight. On the way back, it means I don’t have to go through customs and then get back on a plane to go to Boston.”
“EL AL sees strategic value in reinforcing its activities in North America,” said EL AL President David Maimon. “The airline aims to expand and increase its routes between Israel and North America, meeting the demands and needs of the important business community, as well as promote tourism. With the opening of this new nonstop route, it is expected that the New England region will become a popular vacation destination for Israelis. For Americans living in this area, it will be easier and more popular to travel to Israel.”
According to Massport, which owns and operates Logan International, the Boston-Tel Aviv market has grown 16 percent in the last three years. This is most probably due to the strong ties that Massachusetts and Israel share in the high tech, life sciences, biotech, finance, clean energy and cybersecurity industries, and Massachusetts’ higher education and medical institutions which bring people to the state from around the world.
The new weekly Boston flights are in addition to the 34 weekly nonstop flights, which will take off this upcoming summer between North America (New York-JFK/Newark, Los Angeles and Toronto) and Israel.
The schedule for the new El Al flights from Logan includes three weekly nonstop flights departing Logan at 9 p.m. every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday and arriving at 3:05 p.m. the following day at Ben Gurion. The return nonstop flights depart Ben Gurion at 12:30 a.m. every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday and arrive in Boston at 5:45 a.m. the same day.
The 767 aircraft is configured with 218 seats, including 22 bed-like seats in Business Class and 28 in Economy Class Plus, an affordable class of service offering great value, extra legroom and additional seat recline, a curtain for privacy and more.
All passengers will enjoy a selection of movies, Israeli TV programs, children’s world, games, music and more on an in-flight entertainment system that is based on advanced streaming technology using their own personal device. And only El Al provides the quintessential Israeli experience – with native flight attendants, the best trained Israeli pilots, freshly prepared Kosher meals with an Israeli flavor and a selection of award-winning Israeli wine is served in all classes of service.
“Direct flights pave the way for further strengthening of Israel-U.S. ties, both economically and culturally,” said Israel’s Consul General Yehuda Yaakov. “We look forward to seeing even more of our New England friends exploring firsthand our diverse society and rich history.”
To book the only nonstop flights from Boston to Israel, travelers can visit www.elal.com, call EL AL reservations at 800-223-6700 or any travel agent. Learn more about EL AL news, special promotions and events in Israel plus useful travel tips by joining Facebook (ELALIsraelAirlinesUSA) and Twitter(@ELALUSA).