The last week of the year…always a popular week to travel. In the States, a time to turn on your “out of office” and use your unusued vacation days. And in Israel, a time to welcome the flood of Americans who visit Israel on a mission, a school trip, work-related event, or stam (just because). A few hundred of those visitors are here this week visiting their kids on Year Course which means a few extra work events for me, meeting with parents and showing them what their kids have been up to for the last 4 months). One of these events happens to be in Eilat, a gala dinner for all of our British participants and their parents. When the opportunity arose to take my first domestic flight within Israel (and recap it for you, my loyal readers), you can bet I jumped at it.
- Dov Hoz Airport (“Sde Dov”) resides just a hop, skip, and a jump from the port of Tel Aviv. This was by far the smallest airport I’d ever flown from. The inside was one room and from the feel of the waiting area/café, we could have been in the middle of rural Kansas (with the rednecks replaced by arsim).
- The security guy at Arkia Airlines interrogates us far less intrusively than the El Al guys. Are the Arkia security guys like Canadian Football League players who dream of one day making it to the big-time? While based on nothing factual, I feel safer knowing the flight originates and ends IN ISRAEL. Is security even necessary? “I’m going to ask you a few questions: at any point, did someone…no proh-blem, enjoy your flight!”
- I consider filling out an Arkia luggage tag before deciding against it. IT’S ARKIA! Where could my bag possibly get lost? “Hello, Meester Lovitt? I know these sounds crazee seeing that we fly between Tel Aviv and Eilat, but your bag ended up in Tallahassee. It’s the damndest thing!“
- A woman asks “kamah stend-bys yesh?” It’s a good thing she only needs one stend-by. I don’t know if it’s possible to get two stend-byot.
- After engaging in the annual “who’s the most attractive person in the office?” conversation, my co-workers and I prepare to board the tiny plane. Here we go…I’m walking up the stairs…I’m entering, and…? It’s a normal plane. How disappointing. I was hoping for something special to Israel, like a staff of scantily-clad Bar Refaeli clones fanning us and feeding us chickpeas.
- Ech omrim “mile high club”? Moadon 1.6 kilometers?
- As we drive on the runway, I can see we’re just a stone’s throw from the water. Well, a stone’s throw for an athletic person. My throws usually end up in the ground four feet ahead of me.
- I think as a joke, Nefesh B’Nefesh should set up their table and welcome party in Eilat. Israelis would get off the plane, besieged by music, festivities, and “Welcome to Israel!” signs and think “What the hell???” (Actually, imagine any international airport completely redoing an arrivals gate with the language of another country, like a Hollywood set. They bring in a group of “extras” of a different ethnicity, completely freaking out and confusing the incoming flight. Would that be the best April Fool’s joke ever?)
- “Everyone using portable computers are kindly requested to turn them off.” KINDLY REQUESTED??? An Israeli didn’t make that announcement! Call the army-SOMETHING’S GONE HORRIBLY WRONG!
- The pilot translates his announcements into English. That’s nice of him but it’s a domestic flight! If I were the pilot, I’d say “Eets Yis-rael! FAHK EET!”
- They just served me Yotvata chocolate milk. I LOVE ARKIA.
- The Mediterranean looks beautiful. Seriously, has anyone thought about taking the Kotel and a couple of coffeehouses and setting up shop off-shore? Only praying when a lifeguard is present of course.
- Rejected Arkia slogans: “We loooove to fly, and it…..ehhhhhhhh”, “Arkia: No Davening Here”, “Security? Ha!”
- What does Arkia mean anyway? Regardless, do any investors want to fund my efforts to launch a new airline, Arsia? If the Palestinians deserve the right to self-determination, shouldn’t the arsim have a right to self-transportation? They can build the airport between Holon and Bat Yam and distribute complimentary gold necklaces to first-class passengers. Air Arsia…coming soon to a…AHLO, BOOBAH! (I don’t even know what I’m talking about anymore.)
- “Thank you for choosing Arkia.” Choosing??? We’re flying Tel Aviv to Eilat, what other options did we have? Hooters Air?
- In a record two seconds after landing, the man next to me stands up and starts walking to the exit of the plane. My co-worker Mike and I lock eyes in amused shock. The flight attendant attempts to say something to him but he disregards her.
That concluded my flight. 45 minutes and we made it to Eilat. Nicely done, Arkia. If only I knew how my bags ended up in Maui.