With chaos at airports, Israelis traveling this summer advised not to bring luggage

Amid scenes of chaos for several months at Ben Gurion International Airport, the Israel Airports Authority on Sunday recommended that travelers drop their suitcases when they go on holiday this summer.

Ofer Lapler, spokesman for the Israel Airports Authority, said the airport was short of 1,400 workers and advised passengers to “be patient” when flying out of the country.

He advised people to bring small suitcases on wheels that could be taken on board as hand luggage, rather than larger pieces of luggage that must be checked in.

Lapler also asked several to consider working at the airport to ease congestion, claiming it is “a great place to work.”

The shortage of staff has led to chaotic scenes at Israel’s travel hub since travel restrictions were largely lifted in March and large parts of the world have opened up to tourists.

In addition to the problems at Ben Gurion Airport, El Al customers have recently faced a number of cancellations while pilots go on strike to demand that the company return wages to pre-COVID levels.

Travelers at Ben Gurion International Airport, 14 June 2022 (Avshalom Sassoni / Flash90)

Passengers arriving at Ben Gurion’s terminal 1 have been forced to wait in queues that extend out the door, while main terminal 3 has seen that the departure hall is packed to the limit.

Lapler said that since March, Ben Gurion has seen a 340% increase in passengers and flights. He further added that the Israel Airports Authority has committed to handling only existing flights and is resisting pressure to add more flights during the current peak season, which ends in October.

Lapler noted that there were staffing problems at airports and airlines in a number of countries, and said that Israel was in fact in an “excellent position”.

At London’s Heathrow airport, a fault in the luggage system on Friday led to a two-hour waiting time for passengers at baggage claim, which resulted in luggage piling up at one of the world’s busiest airports; some travelers were forced to board connecting flights without luggage.

Suitcases pile up at Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport after a fault in the luggage system, June 17, 2022. (Screenshot / YouTube)

And Gatwick Airport, London’s second busiest, has been forced to limit activity in August to 850 departures and arrivals a day, 10% below the peak before the pandemic.

The UK Department of Transport and Civil Aviation wrote an open letter to airlines last week requesting that airlines cancel flights in advance instead of at the last minute.

Meanwhile, NBC News reported that 6,500 flights were canceled in the United States on Thursday and Friday, with almost 12,000 flights delayed. US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has asked tourism leaders to find solutions to the disruption, with concerns about mass cancellations for the weekend of July 4.

It’s not (just) about you.

Supporting The Times of Israel is not a transaction for an online service, like subscribing to Netflix. The ToI community is for people like you who care a common good: to ensure that balanced, responsible coverage of Israel continues to be available to millions worldwide, free of charge.

Of course, we’ll remove all ads from your site and you’ll have access to fantastic content that’s just for the community. But your support gives you something deeper than that: the pride of being part of it something that really means something.

Join the Times of Israel community Join our community Already a member? Sign in to stop seeing this

You are a dedicated reader

That’s why we started the Times of Israel ten years ago – to give discerning readers like you a must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other news channels, we have not set up a payment wall. But since the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.

For as little as $ 6 a month, you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREEas well as access exclusive content only available to members of the Times of Israel Community.

Thank you,
David Horovitz, founding editor of The Times of Israel

Join our community Join our community Are you already a member? Sign in to stop seeing this