El Al's New Low-Cost Carrier: A Cheaper Way To Get To Israel?

by  Alex Schechter | Dec 6, 2013
Tel Aviv skyline
Tel Aviv skyline / Dance60/iStock

East-bound Europeans will be happy about the launch of El Al's new low-cost carrier, UP. Based out of Tel Aviv, the offshoot airline will directly compete with Europe's budget airlines like EasyJet, which offers service to Israel for as low as 68 EUR (about $93) each way. That's more expensive than the fares offered on UP, which will start at just $69 each way.

Beyond price, frequency of service is a key part of UP's strategy: a total of 50 flights per week will shuttle between Tel Aviv and Berlin, Kiev, Prague, Budapest, and Larnaca, some of Europe's most popular hubs.

And here's our favorite part: A new low-cost carrier in Europe can mean cheaper flight options for U.S. travelers heading to the region. Opting for a layover in Europe, and a switch to a budget carrier once you get there, can really save. And the difference in price can far outweigh the inconvenience of connecting in another airport. As El Al's new low-cost carrier augments service to Tel Aviv, we're wondering: could UP offer a new solution for U.S. travelers trying to get to Israel more affordably?

Let's look at an example. With a current special offer from Turkish Airlines shows, fares from New York to Tel Aviv are available for as low as $687 in March. This is quite a good rate, however it's not really indicative of the typical cost. (Compare that to April, when the lowest rates shoot up to $850.) Meanwhile, a flight to Berlin, one of UP's five European destinations, can be had for around $700 (and sometimes even less). Add $69 to that, and presto, you're in Israel!

For those who are planning a trip to Israel, it's a good idea to check rates to both Tel Aviv and one of UP's European hubs. Depending on when you're traveling, you could wind up finding a cheaper way there through UP. You'll spend more time in the air, but you could save some money, and a layover in Europe is usually never a bad thing.

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