Top five people you’ll meet on an El Al flight

Written by
Kayla Levy

1. The religious man

What seems like merely an aircraft for some, is actually a living room, kitchen, and shul for these passengers. The black hats and religious garb are telltale signs of the flight experience to come – complete with discussions about life in an ever-changing Williamsburg and periodic congregations in the rear for prayers (God does not always coordinate with the FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELT sign). Should religious controversy arise, remember: why would it be reasonable to expect Israel’s national airline to be any more capable of dealing with theological disputes than the country itself? After all, “it’s not just an airline, it’s Israel!”

2. The overly concerned traveler

While everyone around them is trying to stuff a slightly oversized carry-on into the slightly undersized overhead compartment or herd their many children into seats, this person has become a self proclaimed Mossad agent. Last night, they dove deep into the recesses of the internet, and in short, things are not looking good. The four rounds of security did little-to-nothing to assuage their anxiety and clearly, no one can be trusted. The person with the blood shot eyes and single carry on is probably just exhausted from international travel, right? Maybe I should play it safe and alert a flight attendant just in case.

3. The Birthright bunch

Regardless of where you are seated, you’ll hear this group before you see them. The telltale sounds of superlative conversations (“this is going to be the best trip of our lives!”), Snapchat notifications, and introductions between potential future marital partners permeate the dead air of the 400+ person aircraft. There’s simply no escaping the Birthright bunch, and it’s best to just buckle up and steer clear of lanyards and fallen nametags on your way to the bathroom. You can only hope that their enthusiasm dulls as their phone batteries die.

4. The Yente 

She shows up to the flight late, guilts you into giving up your window seat for her middle, and then launches into an inquisition about your personal life. Before the aircraft has even taken off, she knows your salary, dating history, and has given your phone number to her son, grandson, and nephew. Don’t waste your breath telling her you’re not hungry (“what do you mean you don’t want some of my homemade munn cookies?”) or that you’re taken (“meet my son/grandson/nephew and we’ll see about that”).

5. The Catholic tourist

There’s something confusing about these tourists, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. They have the co-ordinated group shirts and fanny packs, but upon closer inspection it’s clear that their tour of the Holy Land might include a little more Nazareth and a little less Bnei Brak. Between their questions about the Arik Einstein promotional music and Kosher food, just remember that there are some idiosyncrasies about Jewish culture that simply cannot be explained.

By Kayla Levy, who always flies El Al.

Not a frequent flyer? Take a look at the top five people you'll meet on the bus.

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