How to get through the El Al Pre-Check-In-Security Procedure with a smile
I have been to Israel two times already and flew with the national airline El Al on both occasions. Their pre-check-in questions might sound a bit strange, but I want you to be ready and know what to expect.
In Vienna, Innsbruck, Munich, Berlin, Frankfurt, … the check in areas of El Al are either in a separate terminal or separated from the other airline check in counters. Local police, military and security staff by El Al are positioned around the areas and also the gates and runways. Even before you check in your luggage you will be questioned by El Al security staff at separate counters.
Have your passport ready!
The opening line is usually: Hi my name is XY and I am a member of the El Al security staff. I will ask you some questions about yourself and the luggage. It is for your own safety and the safety of the other passengers and the crew.
- Is this your luggage?
- Who packed it?
- Where was the bag when you finished packing?
- Did you receive any presents? (Then they add it could be a hazard.)
- Are there any sharp items in your bag?
- Any lighters or batteries?
- Are you carrying a weapon?
- Anything that could look like a weapon?
- Is your bag locked? (If you leave it locked, they might break the lock and still might go through your stuff)
- Have you been to Israel already?
- If yes- how many times, when and why?
- Have you been to the Middle East? (then they flip through your passport)
- If you have been to Middle Eastern countries they will ask you when, where and why?
- Do you know anybody from Africa or the Middle East?
- Do you know anybody from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, UAE,…?
- Why are you going to Israel?
- Where are you going to stay?
- How long will you stay in Israel?
- How will you be travelling?
- Do you intend on visiting the West Bank?
They also might go back and forth, mix and repeat questions.
They also will take your passport, check if your name is on the passenger list and walk around talking in Hebrew.
What have been your experiences with El Al or other security-obsessed airlines or airports?
Note: I am completely pro-safety! You never know what can happen these days, but some of the questions were just too much. Plus I am not used to me questioned like this before having even checked in my luggage and arriving at my final destination.