International Flights to Israel: Fun Fun Fun!

Aaaaaand we’re back from America.  Did you have a nice Yom Ha’atzmaut, my loyal readers?  If you didn’t eat at least 45 cows, busha v’cherpa to you (roughly translated as “shame shame shame, everybody knows your name”).

I write you (wrote, rather) from seat 28D on my Delta flight back to Israel.  Frequent flyers* may know that Delta eliminated the direct flight from Atlanta to Tel Aviv a year or two ago, probably because they’re raging anti-Semites.  (Either that or for legitimate business reasons.  One of the two.)

(*My friend and former colleague once told me that he overheard our Israeli co-worker speaking to the airlines on the phone and referring to what he thought was called his “freaking flyer membership”.  You can’t make this stuff up.  By the way, after five-plus years in Israel, I have Gold membership in the frequent freier club.  Unfortunately, it gets me very little except screwed.)

I’ve taken the JFK-Tel Aviv route a few times and, well, it’s not so bad.  With real problems in the world (we may be on the verge of war with Iran….yiyeh b’seder!… warming is causing worldwide natural disasters….yiyeh b’sedeeeeeeeeer!), I’ve gotten used to these planes not having individual TV screens.  It does suck a little when you can’t even watch the movie on the big screen because your controller is broken.  WTF, Delta?  And by that, I mean of course…..

This one made the rounds a few months back.   (Click to enlarge if you can’t see the smaller text)

I mean, seriously-how did this happen?

Marketing meeting:

Moty:  “Ehhhhh, tov-I hev called you here because we bedly need new cereal slogan.”
Shmuel:  “I hev two ideas.  Nahmber one:  We taste good.  Nahmber two:  deh brekfest of chempions.
Moty:  “Ma, ata dafuk?  B’seder, I hev it.  How about WTF?
American Masa intern walking past the office:  “Excuse me, I’m so sorry for interrupting, but I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation.  I kind of think that maybe you shouldn’t use WTF.”
Moty:  “Why not?
American:  “Because everyone knows that it stands for ‘what the f***?’ “


Moty:  “B’seder, we use it!  WHO CAAAAAAAAAYREZ???????????”

(American returns to desk, shakes head, and updates Facebook)

So yeah-the downside of no individual TV screens is that you have no individual TVs.  The upside is watching the cleavage shots of “Mission Impossible:  Ghost Protocol” ‘s Paula Patton blown up on a massive screen, knowing that certain people on the plane are squirming in their seats trying not to look.  (Sorry, fellas, I can’t join your minyan.  Do you see what movie is on?)

Highlights of the flight (besides the movie):

  • Realizing I knew three people on my flight.  One from ROI (we had figured this out last week thanks to the most popular website in the Jewish world.  No, not the Times of Israel.  Esther K.’s Facebook wall.).  Another was from a party in Tel Aviv like 4 years ago (we haven’t seen each other since but are Facebook friends, funny how that works.)  And one who works at the OU in Israel who I met through Avi Liberman and have since met with a couple of her groups.
  • What’s cooler than realizing you know three people on your flight to Israel?  (And, by the way, if you don’t live in Israel and are fazed by this, don’t be.  Didn’t you read #4 on this list?  This happens every five seconds in Israel.  Which means I shouldn’t have been the least bit surprised by what happened next….) When I had to go to the bathroom with my dinner tray still on my tray table, I did that little magic trick where you try to get out of your seat without getting sauce all over your pants.  The woman next to me asked in English, “can I help you?” and took the tray off my table.  Ok, nobody has ever done that before so I thought something was fishy.  Upon returning, I asked her if she was visiting or living in Israel. She said living. Within five minutes, it came out that, surprise, she was an Israeli scout on Young Judaea Year Course four years ago and had seen me perform when I did a show for her group in Bat Yam.  How the hell do these things happen?  I love it.  And if you didn’t follow, the “fishy” part was resolved when I realized she was Israeli.  Disagree if you want but they’re just different.  #crazyhelpful


This generalization has been brought to you by the number 18 and the color “chumus beige.”

Two more things:

One of the flight attendants made an announcement to “please not bring your trays to the galley, leave them on the floor, or hand them to the flight attendants, as we will come get them as soon as we can.”  The funny part?  The first time, she made it only in English.  What’s the point of that?   That’s like making an announcement only in Hebrew to please stop going to the Cheesecake Factory and eating a giant burrito in one sitting.

“Mission Impossible” again:  because my stupid controller wasn’t working, I couldn’t hear the audio.  While looking up at one point, I saw that they referred to Tom Cruise’s character Ethan Hunt as “Eitan” in the subtitles.  NO WAY!!!  HE’S ISRAELI!  Who knew?  Next mission, if he chooses to accept it:  to get ten people to finish a meeting without interrupting each other and yelling “shniya!” every 45 seconds.

It’s good to be back.  More blog updates and columns on the way.

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  1. Ilana May 2, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    I’m gonna be on that Delta flight next week and I’m disappointed and depressed that they haven’t done any retrofitting for personal screens yet. Oh, well, then maybe I can sleep.

    Last year, when I came back to Israel I flew on a Friday night. I was trying to figure out why the flight was so pleasant, but I’m sure you can figure out why.

  2. Benji Lovitt May 2, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    They lit candles in first class?

  3. Mark May 3, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

    I really miss the ATL – TLV route. I called Delta and they told me that they didn’t cancel the route and that they haven’t given it up, but just that it is on “hiatus”. Whatever that means. Maybe it means that they could find anyone to buy the route from them? Or maybe it means “we have enough planes flying out of ATL everyday that we can always use another available gate in terminal E”. Or maybe it really means that they are planning on servicing that route again someday.

  4. Benji Lovitt May 4, 2012 at 4:56 am #

    I hope so, Mark. I feel like it was often cheaper to fly there than NY/NJ.

  5. Chaim May 17, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    Great article !!! I think you will like this one too…

    Jewish communities

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