The following section contains general information about our group flights and instructions on how to extend your stay in Israel if you wish.
General Flight Information
Getting to the Airport
Participants are responsible for arranging their own travel to and from the departure airport. You are required to arrive at the airport departure terminal for check-in at least four hours before your flight to Israel is scheduled to depart.You will be met at the airline check-in area by a URJ Kesher representative who will assist you with check-in to receive your boarding pass, check your bag, and give you instructions on how to proceed through the security screening and check-in processes. When you arrive to the airline check-in area, simply locate the URJ Kesher staff members. For the return flight, if you are scheduling a domestic connection, plan for at least three hours between flights to allow for passage through customs/baggage claim, etc.
Airline delays are common, so if you are arriving to the gateway airport on a domestic flight, we HIGHLY recommend arriving a day early to reduce the chance of missing our group’s international flight.
If you must arrive on the day of departure, please allow plenty of time to spare. If there is a convenient/reliable way to arrive at the gateway airport by bus or train, we recommend it over air travel. Of course, in the event that your flight is delayed on departure day, please alert us immediately. We will try to schedule you on the next available flight, but you will be traveling to Israel without staff, and there are no guarantees that your flight can be re-scheduled successfully. Again, plan your connecting travel conservatively. This may be your one chance, and we don’t want you to miss it.
Meeting Our Staff at the Airport
You will be met in the check-in area by a URJ Kesher representative who will give you instructions on how to check-in. Look for staff wearing a URJ Kesher t-shirt when you arrive to the terminal. Please do not try to check in for your flight before meeting with URJ Kesher staff.
Return Travel to America
For the return flight, if you are scheduling a domestic flight home, plan for at least three hours between flights since you will need to clear customs/border control.
Special Meal Requests & Seating on the Plane
All seating requests must be made at the airport on the day of departure. Special seat requests can NOT be made in advance. If you have a special meal request, we will submit the request on your behalf to the airline according to any instruction you submit are part of your application (note about peanut allergies).
General Group Flight Rules
- Passports must be valid for 6 months from the date of the return. No exceptions!
- You must fly with the group from the scheduled gateway airport.
- You cannot meet the group in Israel…even if you are already in Europe.
- You can extend your ticket up to 2-3 months from the date you depart depending on the rules of the airlines we are flying (see below).
- You must extend your ticket before the scheduled return flight departs. If you fail to do so, your return ticket will be void.
- If you stay in Israel for longer than the airline allows, you will be responsible for buying your own return flight.
- You must fly home to the gateway airport from which you departed. You cannot pay extra for a stopover in another city or change your return flight destination.
- It is not possible to get frequent flier miles for your ticket.
Some airlines limit the number of tickets that can be extended within the group. See the airline-specific rules below for details. Sorry if any of these limitations comes as bad news for you. Please take our word that it is impossible to get around them!
Extending Your Plane Ticket Home
There are two ways to extend your trip. The first is by doing a 4 or 5 day Birthright Israel Plus extension opportunity, focused on your particular passions (no prior knowledge or experience necessary) They allow you to have get an in-depth understanding of Israeli society and culture, while meeting participants from around the world. http://birthrightisraelplus.com. This winter we have three program dates December 31st, January 7th and January 28th.
If you register for BRI+, the program fee covers the cost of flight extension, accommodations and most meals for those four or five program days. So you won’t need to pay for your extension flight! Additionally, for this season, we will allow participants to use their Birthright deposit towards the payment of the program fee
If you want to extend on your own, you must visit our travel agency’s website (Gil Travel) and check Birthright icon to obtain full details and apply for the extension. https://www.giltravel.com/welcome-birthright-israel.
Please check their website for procedures, deadlines and airline cost for extensions.
Birthright Israel is not involved in your personal extension. Not responsible for changes that are or are not made for your return flight. These changes are made with an agreement directly with Gil Travel.
Extensions are NOT guaranteed. It is NOT recommended for you to make on-going plans prior to departure until you have been notified by Gil Travel (or Air Canada for Canadian trip organizers) that your return is confirmed from Israel.
You as the traveler must ensure that you are in possession of a valid passport with an expiration date of 6 months or more from the intended extended return date.
Please review carefully each airline requirements and fees.
Please be mindful of the days of the week when selecting your travel request dates. Some airlines fly on Friday nights and Saturdays out of Israel.
It is highly recommended that extensions be arranged prior to departure as the seats are limited, subject to availability, contract specifications, and specific class of service determined by the airlines. Some fees may seem less after the departure but the availability of seats are limited, not guaranteed and time consuming to finalize once in Israel. There are seat limitations for our class of service in economy due to our special airfare.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Change or cancellation of return must be directed to the airline more than 24 hours (some require 48 hours notice) prior to the departure from Israel. It is the participants’ responsibility to contact the airline if they are not flying on the original or new extended return date. Participants who are no-show to the airline risk having their return ticket “NULL and VOIDED.” Their return flight ticket will be cancelled and it will be their responsibility and their expense to return back home.
Maximum stay 3 months. Cost for extensions prior to departure is $90.00 subject to seat availability in the same class of service. Cost of extension once in Israel is $75.00 subject to seat availability. Change must be made more then 5 days prior to original return date. Once in Israel, contact Brussels Airlines directly for all changes: Email [email protected] or call from Israel 03-518-5262 Sun-Thu 10-1PM, Assaf or Etty.
El Al Airlines
Ticket is valid for a maximum stay of 3 months. To extend your stay prior to departure, the fee varies according to availability of seats for the day you select. Extensions prior to departure is $165.00 subject to seat availability in the same class of service. Change once in Israel, fee can range from $50.00 plus difference in airfare and up depending on availability. Handled directly with EL AL in Tel Aviv: 03-977-1111, open 7 days, 24 hours.
To cancel a return flight once in Israel, send request minimum 4 business days before via email to [email protected]