Ben Gurion Airport
The Gate to the Land of Israel

A State of the Art International Airport

The humble origins of Ben Gurion Airport go back to the British Mandate over Palestine. It was called Lydda Airport and was built to serve the beginning of aviation in the area.

With the birth of the State of Israel the name was changed to Lod Airport (Lydda in Hebrew) and also for the nearby town of Lod.

It was a small airport with the typical terrace on top to wave good Bye to the travelers on their way to the staircase of the planes. I speak about this and it seems it was in another life or another dimension.

A great place to relax and have something to drink before your flight

In Honor of David Ben Gurion

Now since 2004, with the growing of Israel Tourism, a state of the art International Airport named for the Israel’s first Prime Minister and one of the founders of the country David Ben Gurion.

Ben Gurion Airport, in Hebrew Namal Hateufa Ben Gurion and also known by its abbreviation of Natbag, operated by Israel Airport Authority is located midway from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Actually it is 20 minutes from Tel Aviv and 35 minutes from Jerusalem.

Many travelers are confused by the name Tel Aviv to the airport and the international city code of TLV.

Many times I have been asked by someone staying in Jerusalem that they need a room in Tel Aviv in order to take a flight tomorrow morning. Then I explain that the airport is midway and tomorrow morning you just need 35 minutes to get there.

The airport is the headquarters and hub for El Al Israel Airlines, Arkia, Israir and Sun d’Or International Airlines.

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A bust of Israel's First Prime Minister David Ben Gurion at the entrance

Arriving to Ben Gurion Airport

After a long flight from America or Far East or a shorter one from Europe you are looking forward to a smooth arrival. This is what you find at this airport. The planes arrive directly to the gate and you have to walk a little bit too much to the Passport control are.

They have separate lines for Israeli Citizens and for foreign visitors. It is usually a very quick unless you arrive in the peak hours when the lines are long, really long…

Once you finish your passport control you are in the Holy Land. You are living a dream that millions of Jews and Gentiles dreamed and couldn’t achieve. You are lucky.

Pick a free luggage cart or two and go to the luggage carrousel. If it took long at the passport control the possibilities are that your luggage will be waiting for you spinning around in the carousel.

Customs is easy for tourists, unless they see something suspicious, and you are out on the Arrival Hall. If you are part of a group, the guide will be waiting for you and from that moment on you are with him/her until the day of departure.

If you are on your own, you may take a taxi, a bus or a train to your destination. Taxis are by the hundreds, also public sharing taxis to Jerusalem, Haifa and other towns.

Buses take you to Central Station to continue to your destination and a train will connect you to anywhere the railway system serves in the country.

But if you are courageous I suggest you rent a car. Driving in Israel is easy and friendly. All signs are in Hebrew, English and Arabic and the roads are superb.

I am amazed at the progress achieved by the governments of Israel when it comes to roads and highways.

Shop 'till you drop at the Duty Free Shops at the airport

Departing from Ben Gurion Airport

Again, if you are part of a group and have your guide with you, don’t worry he won’t leave you until you are all set.

After arrival go to the security point assigned to your flight and be ready for an easy or a difficult event. It depends on your nationality, origin, looks and many more features used by security people to try to find the bad ones.

You don’t have to worry, you are a good person that came to visit Israel for a visit and you won’t have any problem. Just be patient, answer to the questions and in a few minutes you’ll be at the airline desk sending your bags and getting your boarding passes.

Aerial view of Terminal 3 taken from a departing plane

This is the reason why this Ben Gurion Airport is the safest airport in the world. We are proud of it.

Go straight to Passport control for you official exit from Israel and go to the Departure Hall. Now a new experience starts. You will see a round large hall leading to several concourses and many Duty Free shops that you will love and your husband will hate.

You’ll find electronics, men, women and children apparel, sports equipment, souvenir and books stores and the list goes on and on. It is one of the few airports worldwide where the shops are open 24/7 for the comfort of the travelers.

Did you do your shopping? Now go and relax in one of the areas at the center and have a coffee or anything you wish at the cafeteria.

While sitting there don’t stop looking to the departure board that change constantly. Seating there you will notice what I noticed long ago. There are flights from Ben Gurion Airport to all corners of the world. About the small Lod airport just fond memories remain.

Pick your free cart, go to the carousel, pick your bags
On your way to a great Israel Experience

Image Credits:
ben gurion airport by berthold werner
duty free by david shay
aerial by amit moscovich
bg bust by yehudit garinkol
carousels by david shankbone

All courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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