VIP escort at the airport and Transfer to the hotel–why?

As mentioned in one of my previous blogs – Is it better to travel with security in Israel? – Israel is probably the safest place to travel in the Middle East by far – you are statistically far safer in Israel than you would be in most major US or European cities. In fact, violent crime levels in Israel are very low and its public transportation is very good. However, Israel’s safety depends on the implementation of strict security screening, particularly at international land and air borders, but also at any key site. These are more stringent than in most other countries and cause some travelers to Israel slight headaches when they arrive to Israel or when trying to go into the various sites. This is when you should ask yourselves – do I need the VIP escort at the airport? What about a pre-arranged transfer to the hotel? Let’s explore those questions together.

Well, when you land in Israel, it is pretty clear where you are supposed to go – passport control, baggage claim, customs, exit the terminal. I am certain you can figure it out on your own as this is not a very big terminal. When arriving at the passport control look for the booths designated for your passport type and head there or just use the automated option if your passport is accepted there. You will very quickly notice that you are standing politely at the line while everyone is cutting it. That is due to the fact that many local Israelis do not believe that the line is for them. We jokingly say that here it is the “Funnel System” instead of the line. This may lead to some frustration and aggravation after a long flight but don’t

let it. Israel stopped stamping passports a few years ago and instead you will be handed a small printed piece of paper the size of a business card. That is your entrance visa so please make sure not to lose it as you will need it. Placing it in your passport cover is the best option probably.

Once you pass this process, you will go through to the baggage claim area. Look for the screens that will direct you to your luggage carousel and wait for your luggage to start popping out. There are trolleys available if that is more convenient. You need to swipe your credit card in order to release one but don’t forget to return it to the station outside and swipe the card again before returning it or an additional charge will apply. Once you’ve gathered all your luggage head towards the exit through customs. There are restrooms there for you as well.

After passing through customs (Red = Declare / Green = Nothing to declare) you will emerge at the arrival hall. There are 3 main levels: buses leave from level 2, the train is on level 1 (where you are) and taxis are on this level also, outside and to the left. Head to the booth of the taxis and reserve one otherwise they will not take you. Simply hand the driver your hotel info and off you go. The whole process probably took you about 2 hours so be prepared for that.

So, if it’s so easy, why should you even consider the VIP option and private pre-arranged Transfer?

Well, when you choose to use the VIP escort service, you will skip all this nonsense. A representative will actually wait at the sleeve and as you come out of the plane, your family/group name will be waiting for you. They will than rush you through side corridors and through the 1st class passport control with no line and wait. Following that, you will be asked to sit comfortably while a cup of coffee, tea or cold drink is provided. While you sip your beverage in peace someone from the team will go and retrieve your luggage which was marked and separated when you got on the plane to begin with. With the luggage pushed on a trolley by the team, you will be escorted to a pre-arranged English speaking driver who already knows where you are supposed to go to and has the A.C. pumping with cold water bottles waiting for you. The whole process at the airport probably took you 30 minutes or so and you are already headed to your hotel and a nice shower. During the drive, your driver will call the hotel and make sure your rooms are ready and they are waiting for you. Upon arrival he will make sure your luggage gets off the car and into the lobby so the hotel staff can get it to your rooms. Look for one of my other blogs – Arrival at the hotel – what should you expect? – for more info on what to expect from this process.

Now all that’s left to do is check in, go upstairs, get a shower and change and head out to lunch, dinner or for a bit of exploration. Is it worth the added expense? It’s all a matter of money vs. time and in this case add in the hassle and headache. It may be worth it to invest in this and experience a hassle free easy arrival that will leave you fresh and able to enjoy your first afternoon or evening.

On Key

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