A mini-roundup on Israel travel news.
In case you missed it, here is the link for the 10/9/20 News Roundup: COVID-19 Second Wave, Flights To Nowhere, Skymiles Mortgage, Airlines Banning Food, Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Home Makeover, Faked Death, And More!
- Israel is emerging from a 2nd lockdown and while foreign nationals are still banned from entry, Israelis can once again purchase tickets to fly abroad.
- El Al is slowly relaunching service after a 6+ month hiatus, but with foreign nationals still banned, it won’t be easy for them to fill their planes. With a 2nd wave now in many countries, it’s not looking good for travel to Israel anytime soon. Color me surprised that El Al didn’t pull a Qantas and close down shop until 2021. Maybe the cargo operations to the limited destinations are profitable?
- El Al appears to have quietly extended Matmid status by 12 months, a good move considering their extended shutdown. Now if only they could make the program competitive with their competition, they might be able to stem their revenue and market share losses.
- Israel is moving the UK from Green to Red this week, as England is in the midst of their own COVID-19 2nd wave. That means Israelis will have to quarantine upon return from the UK.
- A current list of Green and Red countries can be found here. With a 2nd wave now taking hold in Italy and Germany, don’t be surprised to see them go red again as well.
- Israel will accept antibody tests for a quarantine exemption. Until now you needed to provide an positive and negative PCR test in order to be exempt from quarantine. However due to people forging antibody results from abroad, you will officially be required to take an antibody test in Israel as well and then wait for the results. Locations are listed here. While antibody tests are covered by insurance in the US, they are pricey in Israel.
- DDF member ExGingi posts that his wife was able bypass quarantine with US antibody test results and she wasn’t even asked to produce the results that she brought along! Share your experience in the comments!
- Israel and Bahrain have signed an agreement establishing diplomatic relations.
- Expect to see direct flights between the countries on Gulf Air, El Al, and/or Israir in 2021.
- Israel and the UAE have agreed on 28 weekly nonstop flights between the countries.
- Expect to see flights on Emirates, Etihad, El Al, and Israir between Tel Aviv or Eilat and Abu Dhabi or Dubai in 2021.
- Israir has added business class seating to their flights. It’s no Emirates or Etihad shower class, but it beats all coach seating:
לאחר שהפסידה את המכרז ההיסטורי להטסת המשלחת הישראלית לאיחוד האמירויות בחודש אוגוסט, חברת ישראייר הפיקה לקחים, והתקינה בשבוע החולף מחלקת עסקים באחד ממטוסיה. כעת תוכל החברה להטיס את צמרת המדינה לאירועים רשמיים בחוץ לארץ ברקע הדיבורים על מדינות ערביות נוספות שינרמלו@ynetalerts pic.twitter.com/XUnldSoxOa
— איתי בלומנטל Itay Blumental (@ItayBlumental) October 13, 2020
- Etihad has launched a Hebrew version of their site for Israelis as they prepare for direct flights. I also love how they write Etihad as Etichad in Hebrew:
Here is how they pronounce their name. It’s interesting to see it marketed with an H in English, but with a CH in Hebrew. Maybe they’ll start using Etijad en español?
- Meanwhile, the Ben Gurion site has the airline listed as Ethihad 😀
It shows a nonstop Etihad flight staying on the ground for just 2.5 hours tomorrow for the first official delegation official from Abu Dhabi to Israel. Due to COVID-19, their meetings will be limited to the airport.
That saved some travel time over their previous routing that avoided Israel:
- A new era, Inshallah!
'A new era inshallah'.
Listen to Israeli atc exchange with Etihad flight, overflying Israel for historic first time back to Abu Dhabi
— avi scharf (@avischarf) October 14, 2020
2020 will be the first year that we don’t make it to the holy land in several years, but hopefully 2021 will herald a return to normal!