What do you do when you arrive at the airport? Where do you go and how will you recognize the people picking you up?”
Good questions and here are the answers:
The Tel Aviv Airport has a beautiful, new, and very large terminal. Planes park at the terminal and you exit directly from the plane into the terminal, as at most large airports.
When you arrive you will walk down a long series of ramps until you come to several kiosks where you will line up to speak to a visa control officer. Get in a line marked for Non-Israeli Citizens. Have your passport ready. You may be asked basic questions such as why you are visiting Israel, do you know anyone in the country, where will you be staying, and what will you be going. The officials are trained to pick out anybody suspicions. Just act like a tourist and don’t offer information you don’t know. If you don’t know where you are staying, just say at different places during your tour, but you don’t know the names. If you are asked who else is on the tour, point out the people traveling with you and say that the other members of the tour are coming from different places and meeting together at the airport or the hotel. Some may have arrived a day early or will be arriving the day following. If you don’t know something, just say you don’t know.
If asked who the Tour Operator is, his name is Danny Kransdorf, of Love Israel Tours. Either Danny, or one of his representatives, is meeting you beyond baggage pick-up.
Normally (but not always) we will be able to have a representative in the visa kiosk area with a sign that says either “Experiencing Israel” or with the name of your group leader or family. The representative should be able to expedite your movement past visa control and into the baggage claim area. This representative is responsible for helping you get your baggage and escorting you to the bus which will take you to your first night’s hotel.
If a representative does not meet you at the visa kiosk it is because the airport has changed its security policy. Not to worry. When the visa officer is done asking you questions he/she will stamp your passport or stamp a ticket which will be handed back to you.
Walk around behind the kiosk and enter the huge baggage claim hall where you will pick up your bags. Make sure those traveling with you stay together.
After gathering your bags, look around the walls for a large, green sign marked “Customs: Nothing to Declare”. Walk under this sign and you will exit the baggage claim area and into an area where people are gathered waiting to greet arriving passengers. When you enter this area, look to the right and you will see several rows of chairs. Walk past these chairs and you will see a sign hanging from the ceiling that says KAKO with some tables and an eating area. I will be waiting for you in this area..
I certainly hope you are excited as you are just about to be in the Promised Land!
Shalom until then, Chris