Today you are joining me on my journey back home to Israel, after a holiday in amazing Amsterdam. Last time I have been to Amsterdam was back in 2015, and I flew with KLM 739. I wasn't fully satisfied, So this time I chose to fly with EL AL, which was 300$ cheaper booking than KLM. I personally prefer to book in regular airlines (not low - cost) for flights that are more than three hours long.
First I'd like to share with you selected shots from beautiful Holland:
Schipol airport was very convenient, same as I experienced 3 years ago. There are plenty of restaurants and souvenir shops, both local and international. An average passenger could easily kill time before check-in.
Regarding my check-in started at 8:30 am, I couldn’t go to the terrace. But my spotting spirit was not completely down as I found a great view at the gates as soon as I arrived them.
Baggage drop, security and passport control went very smooth in a calm atmosphere, despite the heavy amount of passengers. The airport personnel handled us with ease and I didn’t witness any issues in my surroundings during the process.
As soon as I left passport control I was approached by a KLM 747 (PH-BFS, “city of Seoul”). It took off half an hour later, immediately replaced by KLM 788 (PH-BHE, “Dahlia”).
I had one hour before scheduled gate open, which I spent very joyfully doing one thing (and one thing only): spotting. Schiphol Airport is 8th largest in Europe and I was short on time, so I was able only spotting around the main restaurant square and all around concourse G, the one held my gate, G2. Along with the terrace which (unfortunately), I couldn’t pay a visit to this time, I found Schiphol Airport to be very welcoming towards spotters and aviation lovers. The windows are enormous, super clean and clear.
And the best part, the end of concourse G was only windows so I could watch all landings and takeoffs! The airport, in general, looked all clean and well handled.
I can barely see our plane arriving through the window.
There were several issues regarding the passes and luggage of few passengers, causing our boarding to be delayed. We finally started boarding at 11:15, instead of 10:35. Hello there 4X-EKP!
I was very happy to seat over the engine, which I really like to listen to during flights. The seats are decently comfortable but could be better for a flag carrier. However, The pitch is more than enough, as I am 6 feet tall. (183cm).
During boarding, they played a video showing Israel. Safety brief started in the overhead screens, in Hebrew followed by English.
The captain informed us takeoff will be delayed due to luggage issues. After it ended, There was no more delay and we took off as soon as we reached our runway, at 12:16.
There is no WiFi on this flight, nor power outlets. The absence of WiFi means no device streaming as well. I asked one of the FA, about of this pickle; She explained me the reason: we’re in a 738, and only 739 has WiFi and power outlets.
Speaking of the entertainment- I might have found solace in the overhead screens. There was a screen per 3 rows. Selected Israeli shows were streamed over the flight, as well as episodes of Friends, the Big Bang Theory, and the new Thor movie. I was actually looking for a chance to see this specific movie, so it made the flight pass surprisingly fast. There was absolutely no flight data on the screens, such map or time/temperature at the destination. Only media was played.
I could pick a French dub (instead of the original English/Hebrew voices) by choosing the specific channel. Speaking of the channels, there are 10; 1st is the audio for the overhead screens. 2nd is French dub. 3-10 are music channels, with a variety of genres. I found the headphones not cancelling any noises, unfortunately. Despite what was written on their package.
Service started 15 minutes after takeoff. We were served with cold drinks and crackers. Crackers were very good, the same I had with my flight on their 744 in 2012. (LY001, JFK-TLV).
Lunch has been served 1 hour after takeoff. The exact same lunch I had in 2012 - a typical Israeli dish. Browing at other reviews of EL AL, seem like it's the same meals in all of their flights. I could pick between pasta in bolognese sauce or chicken meatballs with couscous.
I chose the pasta, which was served along with hummus and pita bread, vegetable salad and a snack. The pasta tasted very good for an economy flight, but the hummus tasted industrial, however bearable. The salad had no taste at all but was edible thanks to the sauce. Pita bread was a bit dry but tasted fine.
Most of the flight we could barely see anything, according to a thick white layer of clouds. (However, it is not El Al’s fault this time). There was massive bright sun at my window, Leading the FA to ask all my side of the plane to lower our window shields, so passengers will be able to rest. Some parts were a bit bumpy but seem like the passengers were calm. I personally prefer my flight as bumpiest as possible, (Not while I’m eating or standing, obviously).
The cabin during flight:
2:20 hours after takeoff duty-free service started. They offered 20% off the second product you buy, along with regular deals for frequent flyers. (Matmid club members)
2:40 hours after takeoff I left my seat in order to review the lavatory for you guys. It was satisfyingly clean, although I prefer the more modern design I saw in Wizz Air a321.
Finally reaching Israel's coast and preparing for landing:
Landing and some findings:
The landing was smooth and easy. No longer than 10 minutes and I was already waiting for my baggage. For the non-Israeli passport holders, it took around double time. Getting off TLV airport is pretty easy - you got licensed taxi drivers, a train station that can take you to most of the country, and car rental agencies.
El Al Israel Airlines
Amsterdam - AMS
Tel Aviv - TLV
Overall, it was a smooth quiet travelling from Schiphol airport, the flight itself, and arriving at Ben Gurion airport. I didn't face major issues regarding any aspect of the whole experience. As I know El Al from previous flights, they take extra security measures which mean more hassles on your way to your detonation. Their baggage drop counter was the farthest, and every task EL AL land crew had to do was double-timed. I can say with no doubt in their favour they treated us in a very professional way and behaved nicely to everybody. As for the flight, their service was very good and caring, and they tried hard to solve any problem whom the passengers were facing or their requests. I will absolutely consider EL AL for future short-haul flights, as long as their pricing is attractive comparing to other airlines.
However: Frankly, I expected to board (and review) a 739. Considering these features (WiFi and power outlets) were promised by the airline, and were my main factors for choosing this flight, I find it very dissatisfying. On the other hand, they did mention during the booking that due to unexpected reasons we might not get our promised aircraft.
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