Ben-Gurion International Airport
The airport is located 12 miles southeast of Tel Aviv and 31 miles west of Jerusalem.
Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV) is Israel’s busiest airport. Situated nine miles from the cosmopolitan and friendly city of Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion airport is the perfect gateway to exploring the ancient history of the region or relaxing on Tel Aviv’s fantastic beaches.
Two of the four terminals of Ben Gurion International Airport are used regularly. Terminal 1 handles mainly domestic traffic and Terminal 3 handles international flights.
El Al, Israir and Arkia Airlines all use Ben Gurion as a hub, but there are also many other European and North American airlines that offer flights to Ben Gurion International Airport.
Security is paramount at Ben Gurion. Passengers can go through as many as five different security checks before reaching the check-in counter. Interestingly, most passengers report that the security procedures at Ben Gurion are far more pleasant and much smoother than those at airports across Europe and North America. The Israeli response to this compliment is “it’s all in the eyes”. So, when traversing the layers of security, be prepared for lots of eye contact.
A free shuttle service operates between the terminals at 15-minute intervals.
Getting into Town
Train: Trains are the best option for getting into Tel Aviv; they’re clean, fast and cheap. Trains run from level S of Terminal 3 to Tel Aviv Savidor Station. Tickets cost ILS 10 ($2.67 USD) and the trip into town takes 20 minutes. Passengers arriving after midnight will have to wait until 3am for the first train of the day. No service operates on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.
Taxis: Taxis usually wait outside the arrivals hall. Taxi fare for the nine mile trip into town costs ILS 90 ($24 USD). There is an added surcharge at night, on Jewish holidays and on the Sabbath.
Bus: Buses run from the nearby Airport City rather than the airport itself. Passengers can take the free Egged No. 5 Shuttle from the second floor of arrivals to Airport City.
The area directly in front of the terminals is reserved for pick-up and drop-offs only. Short-term parking is available in the parking lot in front of Terminal 3 as well car park number one. Parking is available on an hourly and daily basis. Long-term parking is available opposite Terminal 3 and in the same car park as the short-term parking for Terminal 2. A shuttle bus runs from the parking to the terminal at 15-minute intervals.
Information desks are located in the departures area and in the airport’s central arrivals hall. There are also a number of computerized information machines. The tourist information office is in the arrivals hall. Staff speak Hebrew and English and the tourist center is open 24 hours per day.
Money and communications: Currency exchange, ATMs, banks, public telephones and a post office.
Luggage: Luggage carts are free of charge. The Lost and Found desk and luggage storage are located on the ground level of the short-term (western) car park.
Conference and business: Business facilities, including internet access and fax machines, are available in the airline lounges, particularly the Arbel lounge, the two Dan lounges, the El Al King David lounge and the Metsada lounge. The airport does not have conference facilities, but a number of hotels in Tel Aviv (such as the Carlton and the Intercontinental) offer great conference services.
Shopping: The main shopping area at Ben Gurion International Airport, located on the same level as passport control in departures, is aptly named Buy & Bye. Prices range from small change items (books and holiday souvenirs) to big spender boutiques with items such as Dead Sea mud cosmetic products, electronics, clothing and alcohol.
Food and drink: Passengers rushing to catch a flight can grab a quick coffee from one of the numerous coffee shops in the terminal or food from fast food joints such as McDonald’s and Pizza Hut. For those wanting some kosher cuisine, there are a number of places that stock typical Israeli salads, falafel, pita, humus and more.
Other facilities: The Ben Gurion Airport has two synagogues, medical clinics, a police station, a VAT refund desk, special needs assistance services, a playroom and a mother and child room.
Wi-Fi: Free Wi-Fi is available in Terminal 3.