The Birthright Israel program makes use of multiple airlines. Flights may be direct from the departure airport to Israel or they may include a change of planes in Europe. Baggage limitations vary from airline to airline with most allowing one (1) checked bag, one (1) carry-on luggage and one(1) small personal item (i.e., purse).
What airlines are used?
Our group flights are booked on EL AL Airlines, Continental, Delta, US Airways and a number of European airlines. Most group flights originate from New York (JFK Airport or Newark Airport). Participants are always responsible for arranging their own travel to the departure airport. Actual flight details are released once we have assigned you to a trip.
How do I get my plane ticket?
All tickets are issued electronically. Participants will receive a printed copy at the airport. It is impossible to reserve seats on the plane in advance. Additional airport meeting instructions will be sent once you have been confirmed on a specific group flight.
Can I extend my ticket?
Yes! Participants are able to extend their trip up to 90 days, depending on the airline. You can arrange for your extension before the trip or during the trip with Gil Travel. Please keep in mind, extra fees will apply for a trip extension. Participants can find more details on fees and travel in the Flight Details section. Unfortunately, extensions can only be made for the end of the program. It is not possible to arrive in Israel ahead of the group.
Am I guaranteed a spot on this trip?
If the total number of applicants exceeds the number of spaces available, some applicants will be assigned to a waitlist. Your chance of being put on a waitlist depends on when you registered, as well as which trip dates you have requested.
How is the order of trip assignments determined?
There are frequently more eligible applicants than there are available spots on a trip. Our goal is to keep the process as fair as possible. YJ assigns applicants to trips according to when they complete their application. We consider the application to be complete after they have fully finished the Primary Application – including submitting the refundable trip deposit. We recommend completing the Primary Application with YJ on the first day of registration to give yourself the best chance of getting on the trip you want. All applications received on the first day will be treated the same no matter what time of day they were received. Priority trip selection status is granted to applicants who have applied in the past, as well as applicants who are about to turn 27 and “age out” of the program.
What if the flight that I want is not available?
Trip dates are determined by Birthright Israel. Typically, trip dates are issued in multiple stages. Even if the trip date you want is not offered in the initial allocation, it may be offered soon thereafter. If your first choice trip date is not available originally, we do suggest that you select as many back-up trip dates as possible just in case your ideal dates do not get issued. Trip date selections can be entered and updated anytime on your Personal Profile once you have fully completed the Primary Application.
How flexible are the group flight rules?
Not very. Here are some very important limitations to keep in mind:
Getting to the airport
You must depart for Israel with the group from the scheduled gateway airport
You can not meet the group in Israel, even if you are already in Europe at the time
If you wait to extend your ticket until after your return-flight departs Israel, your ticket will be void
You can not pay extra for a stopover or to change your return flight destination
It’s impossible to get frequent flier miles for your ticket given the nature of the ticket
If any of these limitations come as bad news to you, we are sorry! Please take our word that it is impossible to get around them!
Participants are responsible for arranging their own travel to and from the departure airport. You are required to arrive at the departure airport at least four hours before your flight to Israel is scheduled to depart. A YJ representative will meet you at the airline check-in area and will give you instructions on the check-in process and how to proceed through the security screening. When you arrive at the airline check-in area, simply locate the YJ staff member. He or she will be wearing a YJ shirt and will be looking for you too! 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.
Special meal requests & seating on the plane
All seating requests must be made at the airport on the day of departure. Special seat requests cannot be made in advance. If you have a special meal request, we will submit the request on your behalf to the airline according to the instructions you submit as part of your personal profile.