How to get through the El Al Pre-Check-In-Security Procedure with a smile

El Al Security

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.

Extra Check-In-Area

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.

el al israel munich safety
© Pia Kleine Wieskamp

The Questions

  • 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?
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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.

el al safety armoured vehicle
© Pia Kleine Wieskamp

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.

Stay safe!

Cheers,

Viki

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7 Comments

  • Oh yes, I had a similar experience when traveling to Israel. On the question “Do you intend on visiting the West Bank?” we said No although we knew we would go there. Just in case, no idea what happens if you say Yes? Did you?
    On my way back the security opened my suitcase (after checking it in) “for security reasons” by braking the built-in TSA lock. I just saw it when we were back in Berlin. :-/
    I mean, it’s all good about safety etc., but I was slightly annoyed by their paranoia… Anyways, apart from that, the trip was amazing! 🙂

    • Dear Mandy!
      They didn’t ask me the WB question – but they looked at my itinerary and it said Dead Sea, Wadi Qelt and Negev. Strictly this all is WB, but they are referring to cities like Jericho where it is prohibited for Israelis to go there by law.
      But they did ask me if my bag was unlocked and I nodded.
      Safety is one thing but as you say paranoia is a different pair of shoes!
      I’m glad you enjoyed your trip! I did so too!

  • In re the word “paranoia”? in prior commentaries:

    You (two of you) cite “paranoia” of El Al (employees) as causing one to be “slightly annoyed?” How frontally naive and stupid you really are!

    Your ticket purchase is your contract of consent to abide by rules. Stay home! People like you should never exit your doorway into the public areas of the world.

    • I’m not saying that I don’t accept the rules – I flew more times than I can think of and know the standards on airports and different airlines.
      Your comment actually made me giggle, maybe you should stay home today if your attitude is like that 🙂 Have a great day

  • That is exactly what happened to me when I flew out of JFK in May of 2018. Only as a New Yorker I couldn’t care less about the security. The chick who questioned me was absolutely beautiful
    and I just went with the flow. I was traveling solo so perhaps that’s why she searched my carry on.
    again, safety comes first so I was cool with it

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