El Al Airlines

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Founded in 1948, El Al Airlines currently flies to over 50 international and domestic destinations from its main base at the Ben Gurion Airport, Israel. The airline operates an all-Boeing fleet consisting of 38 aircraft. Annually it flies over 4 million passengers. It owns several subsidiaries, including the budget airline “Up” and currently employs more than 6000 staff.

Contact details

El Al Airlines Customer Relations Department
POB 41, Ben Gur Airport 7015001

What are my El Al check-in options?

Online check-in
Flying with children
Seating for infants and children
Unaccompanied children
Flying while pregnant
Group bookings
Disabled access and medical equipment
Pets and service animals

Online check-in

El Al Airlines provides an Express Check-In Service. You can check in online with your booking details here. Before you go, be sure to check out our guide to ten things to do before your flight.

Priority boarding

Infants less than 7 days old cannot fly on board El Al Airlines, but if you plan to travel with your infant aged between 7 days and 2 years old, note that you can carry them on your lap and that they cannot occupy a separate seat. The infant fee is 10% of the seat price paid for by the adult accompanying the child. Each adult may only travel with one infant. Passengers with additional infants must purchase child tickets for each additional infant, in which case these additional infants may occupy their own seats. You can also bring one foldable stroller into the cabin per passenger if you are traveling with a child over two, plus baby food and necessities on board, but you must show them to security control staff when boarding.

Flying with children

Free bassinets are offered to babies aged less than 9 months. You will need to reserve this service at least 24 hours before your flight via the airline’s website, or call the service center or apply in person at the local ticket offices affiliated with El Al Airlines.

Unaccompanied children

An unescorted child refers to a child aged between 5 and 15 years who is traveling without the escort of a parent or an 18-year-old traveler in the same cabin. El Al’s Child Care service is required for these children. Children aged below 5 without an adult supervising them are not allowed to board any flight. You can also apply for your service if your child is over 15 but it is not required. The cost of the service is $100 per EL AL flight segment.

To apply for the service, you will need to fill out this form and return it to the customer service team.

Note that the unescorted child must be escorted to the departure lounge and an adult must be named at the arrival point to collect the child. You will need to provide the address and phone number of this person to El Al. Here’s our guide to kids flying solo.

Flying while pregnant

El Al stipulates the latest stage of pregnancy that expectant mothers can fly. In most cases, pregnant women who have entered the Week 28 of their pregnancy are not permitted to fly unless they apply through the ticket sales department while making the booking and provide medical certification that includes the following:

  • Name and age of passenger;
  • Date of pregnancy;
  • Flights and dates of travel;
  • Whether they are fit for air travel;
  • Whether special onboard care is required, etc.

The medical certificate must be issued within 48 hours prior to the flight departure and signed by the doctor before validation. El Al doesn’t accept pregnant women who are expecting to give birth in 4 or less weeks from time of departure. From the 36th to the 37th week, permission to fly is subject to the approval of the El Al Chief Physician or an El Al-recognized doctor (MEDA).

Here’s our guide to flying while pregnant.

Group bookings

On reservations of over 15 passengers, you may request a group price from El Al’s Group Desk. You can make your booking over the Telephone Service Center hotline: 1-800-223-6700.

Disabled access & medical equipment

El Al Airlines provides a variety of services for disabled travelers. These include:

  • Electric wheelchair check-in.
  • In-flight wheelchair for passengers who are unable to walk.
  • Stair-aid wheelchair for passengers who can enter/leave cabin and walk to/from seat but need assistance when encountering stairs
  • Wheelchair on airport apron for passengers unable to walk long distances but can use stairs and walk to their seat.

You will need to apply at least 48 hours in advance for any of these services by calling the service hotline after you have completed your reservation online. El Al does not charge a fee for supplying a wheelchair or for transporting your wheelchair in the aircraft hold. Crutches, a cane, a collapsible walker or a white cane (can be carried onboard with you if these aids can be stored in the storage area overhead. No extra fee is charged for these items.

Further details regarding the airline’s disability policies can be found here. Here are our guides to flying with disabilities and traveling with medication to help prep for your trip.

Pets & service animals

If you plan to travel with your pet or service animal, you will need to apply to El Al’s service center when booking your seat, as reservations for the service cannot be made online. The service is limited to one cat or dog per passenger. Cats and dogs must be placed in an individual cage for them to be taken into the cabin. The exception here is guide dogs. For full information regarding the kind of pet you plan to take and the desired destination, click here. The following charges apply for an animal weighing:

  • up to 17.6 lbs: $100 in each direction.
  • 19.84 – 110.23 lbs: $200 in each direction.
  • 112.43 – 220 lbs: $400 in each direction.
  • over 220 lbs. will be handled by EL AL Cargo 972-3-977-1177.

You will also need to obtain and provide vaccination certificates and entry permits from the relevant authorities in transit and final destinations. A written request for these permits, together with a valid check must be sent at least 10 days before your planned flight date. Check out our guide to flying with pets.

What are El Al baggage allowance limits and fees?

Carry-on size
Checked luggage size
Extra and overweight baggage charges
Musical and sport equipment

Carry-on baggage allowance

Carry-on baggage refers to bags you can stow in the overhead baggage compartment or beneath your seat. The limits for carry-on bags vary depending on your travel class, destination, cabin location and whether a child is traveling with you. For international flights:

  • First Class: 2 pieces no larger than 22in x 18in x 10in at a maximum weight of 52 lbs.
  • Platinum and Business classes: 2 pieces at 22in x 18in x 10in at a maximum weight of 48 lbs.
  • Economy: 22in x 18in x 10in at a max weight of 9 lbs.

Checked baggage allowance

For North American flights, the free checked baggage allowance for each passenger is as follows:

  • First Class: 4 pieces, weighing up to 70 lbs. per piece
  • Business Class: 3 pieces, weighing up to 70 lbs. per piece
  • Economy Class: 2 pieces, weighing up to 50 lbs. per piece

Maximum Dimensions of each piece: 62 linear inches (length + width + height).

For a full overview of the international checked baggage allowance based on your arrival and destination points, as well as your fare class, click here.

Extra and overweight baggage charges

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Musical and sport equipment

Sporting equipment can be carried for free if its size is within the above free limits. In addition to the baggage allowance, every passenger may transport a ski set ( a pair of skis, a pair of poles and pair of ski boots) or a snowboard set (one board, a pair of ski boots) regardless of size or weight.

Transporting bicycles requires the approval from El Al, which is granted on a space availability basis. The weight restriction for bicycles is 33 pounds.
Sports equipment that measures more than 110 inches or weighs more than needs to be transported by cargo.

For a full overview of what is permitted regarding sporting equipment and their respective size and weight restrictions, click here.

Musical Instruments/Equipment Sent to the Hold of the Plane

If it is not possible to transport the musical instrument or equipment as hand luggage, the regulations for regular baggage will apply.

What additional fees does El Al charge?

Booking fees
Flight cancellation policy
Travel insurance

Booking fees

Contact the airline directly to determine any applicable booking fees for your flight destination.

Flight cancellation policy

Contact the airline directly to determine the applicable booking fees for your flight destination.

Travel insurance

El Al has partnered with Harel Insurance to provide passengers with travel coverage. You can add insurance to your flight after making your reservation. You can also contact Harel’s customer support team at 1-700-50-55-55. They also have a 24-hour service hotline for passengers overseas at the time of an insurance-related event. The number to call in this case is 972-3-7547030.
For coverage details, click here.

What amenities does El Al offer?

In-flight entertainment
Frequent Flier Program

In-flight entertainment

Personal screens are provided on 747 and 777 flights, allowing passengers to watch a large selection of entertainment programs during the flight. Multiple films, series, music, children’s entertainment, games and more are available via streaming services 767 and some of 737 aircraft. To use this service, you will need to download the app or program to your device or computer before you leave.


El Al Airlines provides kosher food in flight, as well as specially ordered food you can reserve 24 hours before departure here. You will need to enter your reservation code and last name to access the menu service. You can also order special meals for children and those with allergies. The food and beverages served onboard are free of charge. These include:

  • Fish meal
  • Fruit meal
  • Pure vegetarian (vegan) meal: Meal contains no eggs, dairy products or animal products
  • Vegetarian meal that includes dairy products and egg products
  • Asiatic vegetarian meal
  • Hindu meal: contains no beef (when a meat meal is served)
  • Poultry meal


El Al Airlines has lounges at most airports. They are open to First, Platinum and Business Class ticket holders, as well as top tier Madrid frequent flyer club members. El Al passengers who are King David Club members are also entitled to access the lounges. For more info about El Al Airlines’ lounges and their locations, click here.

Frequent flier program

El Al Airlines offers the Matmid frequent flyer program which provides members with extra services and benefits, an overview of which can be seen here.

Seating and legroom

If you’re looking to have some extra legroom for your flight, El Al’s Economy Class Preferred Seat is located near an exit seat or a bulkhead. These seats are assigned according to a priority list and without payment to Top Platinum members (and one accompanying passenger) as well as to Gold and Platinum customers. In some cases of availability, it may be possible to purchase the seat for money. Click here and log in with your flight details to check if a seat is available on your flight for purchase.

Bulkhead seats are allocated to parents flying with babies up to 9 months old at no charge.

What about missing or damaged baggage?

Delayed, missing or damaged luggage
Compensation for baggage

Delayed, missing or damaged luggage

If your baggage is delayed, El Al will reimburse reasonable payments you need to make during the waiting time. In the event of a delay in the arrival of your baggage, you will need to contact the Luggage Location Center on 03-9771111 (extension 5) as soon as possible. In the case of lost baggage, you can lodge a claim using the form. You will need to attach a copy of the following documents to your claim and retain the original:

  • Flight tickets
  • Boarding passes
  • Baggage tags (attached to the flight ticket and/or the suitcase)
  • Lost or damaged baggage report from the airport
  • Applicable receipts in support of the claim

El Al’s liability in such cases will be determined by the applicable international treaty
If your baggage has been damaged, you will need to make a report within seven days of noticing the damage.

Fun facts

  • El Al means “To the Skies” or “Skywards” in Hebrew.
  • The airline’s inaugural flight was from Geneva to Tel Aviv.

Image source: Papas Dos, 4X-ECA B772 El Al DME UUDD via Flickr CC BY 2.0

El Al Airlines was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Martin Clinton