Tel Aviv to Eilat

I landed early morning at Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv Israel and took an airport shuttle to the domestic terminal where I was greeted with closed doors because it was a little too early.  They opened it up within five minutes and I sat inside until security opened up.  I was questioned quite a bit, for about an hour total including a back room full body check, but they ultimately helped me get a standby ticket and treated me fairly nice.  They are very thorough with their security processes but one can only imagine how necessary it is. 

I finally got on an Arkira 757-300 as one of last passengers and boarded up for a 20 minute flight.  The aircraft was full and we cruised relatively low for quite a while.  DSC04661The approach into Eilat was great passing by the beach as the beginning of the runway boarders the north west side of the Red Sea.   I walked a little way to the Hostel that my friend Bobby told me to go to, changed in the closet, locked my things up and walked around with a new friend that I met at reception who was well trvaeled for the last few months.  Mike and I walked around for about 2.5 hours just wasting time and touring around until our rooms were ready.  I had a chance to take a dip in the Red Sea that early afternoon and check out the boardwalk.  I have to admit that it was very Mexico Riviera with the bars and beach chairs lining up the "ocean." 

I headed back to the Eilat Youth Hostel and Guest House, took a shower and napped to where I woke up a little later to Bobby and Donna arriving around 5:45PM.  The Hostel ended up being about $40 a head per night but also included a pretty impressive kosher breakfast.  Apparently, most Hostels in Israel include breakfast due to necessity of having Kosher meals.  No complaints here for sure. 

We headed out for a good dinner after catching up a bit and found a good restaurant on the boardwalk.  Mike joined us and we even toured the Hilton Queen of Sheeba Hotel.  It was definitely a step up from the hostel, but considerably much more.  We agreed to change the trip from Petra to Cairo the night before and we partied a little bit that night in anticipation for a 5.5 hours van ride to Cairo leaving at 6:00AM the next morning from the Hostel.  Eilat was quick, but we knew that we would be coming back in a couple of days.

Third Time is a Charm

I initially planned on hopping on a flight to Tel Aviv on Saturday but then figured out that I could end up going one day early so I tried for the Friday night red eye.  I was fourth on the list and it wasn't looking too good, but I thought that it would work out.  I got to the airport early and low and behold, there were a couple of flights that were diverted to Atlanta due to weather at JFK.  Those planes had passengers that were going to depart to Tel Aviv from JFK but instead were re-routed to ATL.  So, now I was out of luck.  They let 3 non revenue passengers on and I was fourth on the list.  There were over 20 other non revenue passengers that were waiting for a seat for the past few days, so I guess I didn't have it that bad.  I'll give it a try to next day. 

This time, the list looked good enough so that I would get on.  I ended up seeing the same couple from the night before and made friends with a few other familiar faces in the terminal all going to Tel Aviv for a summer vacation.  The flight originally made to depart at 10:40PM ended up being postponed due to maintenance till 12:40AM but as we started to board, the right engine cowl was still wide open with just a lot of flashlights peering into the engine nacelle.  I knew that it might be a little while longer until anything was going to be resolved.  Well, by the time we board and I had a breakfast mimosa, about around 2:00AM, the captain came over the loud speaker and announced that the flight would have to be canceled.  By then, it was almost a no go for, but when I got back to the house around 5:00AM, I saw that Delta had created an extra flight to accommodate the previous canceled flight at 11:00AM.  I called up one of my buddies, made it to the airport on time and even bought an ID90 (airline discounted ticket) on Arkira air so that I could fly to Eilat, Israel once I landed.  I boarded up along with the other people from the 2 previous tries and we headed out!  Third time is a charm.