The airline with the best average rating is El Al Israel Airlines with 8.1/10.
The average flight time is 4 hours and 45 minutes.More information
Hello and welcome to my flight report about my flight with Arkia (which operated by Smart wings) from TLV to BCN.
After almost 3 years without traveling abroad, this was my first time to do so.
When I booked the tickets for this flight, the take off time was 14:15 and the designated aircraft was Arkia's Airbus A321.
Unfortunately, 2 months after my booking, Arkia sent me an email about delay in the take off time (16:15) and I also saw that this flight will be operated by a 30 years old A320, which Arkia leased from Electra airways.
1 day before the flight, Arkia sent me a SMS about the flight operator - Smart wings.
Long time readers of my flight reports, probably know my opinion about Smart wings.
If you didn't read my flight reports about Smart wings, here they are:
After a short drive to the airport, we arrived to terminal 3 area.
I don't know what is the building with the Israeli flag, but I assume that it's a new parking lot or some extension of terminal 3.
In the past, there were some programs regarding expanding the check in area.
We arrived to the airport 3.5 hours before our scheduled take off time.
As you will see in the following photos, the airport was very busy.
This queue is for the first security check for your baggage.
The queue was so long, and I assume that if we would wait on this queue, we would wait around 2 hours.
We used VIP service which saved us a lot of time on this queue.
The check in area was busy as well:
It seems that after the corona virus, TLV airport is not prepared to handle the passengers amount.
As far as I know, they are still looking for new workers in the airport, in 2020, due to the corona virus a lot of workers were fired or resigned.
Anyway, here's my boarding pass:
On our way to the second security check (body scan and hand baggage scan):
Photography is prohibited in the security areas, so I didn't took a picture of this area in the airport.
I can tell that the queue there was much bearable, but longer than pre corona virus times.
It took 20 minutes approximately to finish the second security check and the passport control.
On our way to the duty free:
Terminal 3 hasn't changed too much in the corona time.
My last flight from terminal 3 was in 2019, and it looked almost similar to how it looks today.
I went to the gates area, and took a photo of this Fly Dubai aircraft (Boeing 737-9 MAX I assume):
We went to the dinning area, which was very crowded:
We bought two meals in mcdonalds and we paid 107 ILS (31 USD).
Not cheap at all, but in a "standard" mcdonalds branch (not in the airport) you'll pay probably just a bit less.
Did I told in my previous flight reports how much I hate the windows in TLV airport?
After finishing our meal, we went to the duty free shops:
There are many shops in TLV airport, something which I almost never saw on any European airport.
This is something I really like about this airport, but the prices in the duty free for some products are not lower than the prices on any regular shop.
When we waited in the queue in James Richardson shop, I saw that our flight is delayed by 30 minutes. It's not a lot, but later you'll find out the this wasn't the take off time.
For the first time I visited in the airport lounge - Dan lounge.
There is also another lounge for Elal flights.
I didn't paid for entering, but in my opinion, the choices were very limited and I wouldn't pay more than 30-40 ILS (8-12 USD) if I had to pay some amount of money.
As you can see, the lounge was clean., but the choices were limited.
4-5 types of salads (non of them looked appetizing in my opinion), soft drinks, beer, soup (who can eat soup when the temperature outside is 35 degrees??), 2 or 3 types of cookies and hot drinks.
I expected to find some sandwiches, cheeses, etc.
While eating, I saw this Boeing 747-400 which Elal used until 2019.
And this Ethiopian airlines Boeing 737-800:
While waiting in the lounge, I saw that our flight was delayed again, this time to 19:30!
The toilets were clean on the lounge:
We tried to spend more time in the lounge, but it was very boring, so we came back to the dining area.
While walking from the lounge to the dining area, I took some photos:
As you can see, the dining area was crowded, but less than the first time.
Somehow, we found that the boarding time has changed to 17:15 and the flight take off changed to 18:00.
We bought coffee in Aroma:
Some aircraft photos from the dining area:
Blue Bird Boeing 737-300
Smart wings Boeing 737-800 (Our aircraft)
Lufthansa Airbus A320 or A321
After drinking our coffee, we started to walk to the gate area:
And another visit in the toilets before the boarding…
As you can see, the toilets were clean.
We headed to our gate, C5:
And our aircraft from the jet bridge:
Started it's life in Travel service in May 2007 under the same registration, became a member of the Smart wings fleet in May 2016 (And was leased many times to Sunwing Airlines from Canada, with the registration C-GTVG)
Was 15.2 years old when I flew on it
I sat in my seat, and the first thing I noticed was the lack of legroom.
I'm not tall at all (1.64 meters) and I used a small bag for my photography gear, and still the legroom wasn't great:
Maybe it could be good for a short flight to Georgia or Romania, but for one of the longest flight from Israel to Europe - it's a big no no.
At least, the seats can be reclined.
We boarded to the aircraft on 17:30, but waited 40-45 minutes in the aircraft due to 2 missing passengers.
While waiting on the aircraft, I took a photo of this Classic Boeing 737 operated by Blue Bird:
I hope to fly on some 737 classic one day, unfortunately they just become rarer.
At 18:15 we started our push back, and one engine was started, finally:
I found it a bit strange, but the second engine was started only somewhere close to the runway.
Never experienced such a thing on jet aircraft, I know that it can happen on turbo prop aircraft like the ATR (which happened on my last flights with Israir).
I took some photos during the taxi:
Swiss Airbus A321 and AA Boeing 777:
Turkish Airlines Airbus A321:
Elal Boeing 737s and Israir Airbus A320:
During the taxi and the take off, another strange thing which I never experienced - the lights in the cabin were turned off:
Ryanair Boeing 737-800 landing on Runway 21:
Former Elal Boeing 747-400 (4X-ELH):
And some photos during climbing over Israel:
The legroom situation, again:
35 minutes after take off, the crew served us sandwich and glass of water.
We could choose between tuna sandwich and yellow cheese sandwich, I chose the latter:
Somewhere over Greece or Turkey, one and an half hours into the flight:
I also noticed that our aircraft was equipped with overhead screens, but they didn't used them on our flight:
I went to the toilets near to the cockpit, but found them occupied.
So I went to the one at the back of the aircraft:
Well, for 2 hours after departure the toilets looked horrible, I flew on longer routes and the toilets looked better.
Of course it's a shame for the passengers who used the toilets, but what about the cabin crew? They couldn't clean it during the flight?
I went back to my seat:
The rest of the flight was boring and uneventful.
Getting close to Barcelona!
The touch down was pretty hard one.
We were taxied to the terminal, so it was another time for photos:
Ryanair Boeing 737-800:
UPS Boeing 767-300:
Prime Air Boeing 737, Swift ATRs, Fedex Boeing 757-200 and some aircraft that I couldn't identify:
DHL Boeing 757-200, ASL Boeing 737 and Fedex Boeing 757-200 and probably Boeing 737:
Vueling Airbus A320 family:
We arrived to the gate at 22:00 (Spain time, 23:00 Israel time).
This old IFE…
And last cabin view:
Bye bye OK-TVG!
On our way to the passport control:
As you can see, BCN airport was clean and is looking good in my opinion.
The walking time to the passport control from our gate was around 5 minutes.
The passport control process was very fast, then we went to the baggage claim area.
Before entering to Spain, you need to show your corona virus certificates, the process was also very fast.
The baggage claim area:
Another good thing about this airport - the baggage came pretty fast!
Well done BCN airport!
Flights to\from Europe:
Flights to\from Canada:
Domestic flights in Canada:
F8 1821 (YYZ-YYC)
I hope that you enjoyed and hope to see you again in my future flight reports!
The flight was a big disappointment for me.
I hoped to fly on a new Airbus A321 with power sockets, Wifi and new cabin, but instead flew on a 15 years old leased Boeing 737-800 from one of my least favorite airlines with an old cabin and without any IFE options.
The cabin looked tired, old and not so clean, the toilets were very dirty and I also saw that some air vents were broken.
This is the reason I gave them such low cabin score.
At least, the served some food on the flight, the sandwich was tasty, but for such a long flight I expected to get a full meal.
The cabin crew was OK, but nothing to write home about.
TLV airport must recruit a new members for the security teams. The queues were very long, and now as we are closing to the children vacation, they will be more unbearable.
This is the reason I gave them only 6 in the efficiency score. Pre Corona virus time, I gave them better score on this parameter.
On the remained parameters, TLV airport was good as it was in the past.
The lounge was also nothing special.
The service in the lounge was good, it was clean and quiet, but the catering options were very limited,
BCN airport was very nice!
I was easy to navigate in the airport and the walking distance between the gate and the exit from the terminal wasn't too long.
Anything in the airport went well and very fast.
The services on 22:00 were pretty limited (just some coffee shop and probably some rental cars companies) , but it makes sense, since there aren't many flights on this hour.