Most of the time I prefer to fly as early in the morning as possible. There are fewer opportunities for delayed flights, and I just like to be up and out of the house. Our 2:30pm start to our journey on Monday, however, meant that we would get to Tiberias at dinnertime, with bedtime hot on its heals. Our first leg was to Charlotte and the second was to JFK. Both flights were easy and quick, but few of us were prepared for our experience transferring to El Al when we arrived at JFK. Since we changed planes we had to claim our baggage and then recheck it. We were let into the El Al ticketing area about ten at a time because there were so many of us, and as soon as the small group that I was traveling with was admitted into the ticketing area, we found out that getting to the actual plane was going to be quite an ordeal.
By the time I got to the ticketing area, at least one person ahead of me had been asked to point out the people in the line that he knew. Soon enough, one of the people that I was walking with got pulled from the line. After questioning her extensively, the security agent asked her to pull out everyone in the line that she knew. Eventually seven of us were waiting in a corner. This was ostensibly to expedite the process, but several in our group barely made it to the gate by the time boarding started.
Once aboard, all was fine. I slept a bit, but woke up when many of the passengers got up to move to the back of the plane for prayers. I was groggy, the cabin was barely lit, and watching the men move quietly back and forth was surreal. The same thing happened several hours later, and after what seemed like an absolute lifetime, we were on the ground in Tel Aviv. Baggage claim and Passport Control were a breeze, and soon we were on a bus to Tiberias!