Travelling to Jerusalem with an eager and keen party of pilgrims is invariably exciting and challenging, and for many they may have never been all that far from home.
Now, when you live in a quiet town or village in the north of Scotland that can be thrilling combined with apprehension. We fly from Inverness or Aberdeen to Heathrow, London, and check in with El Al, the airline of Israel.
Why do I choose El Al? Well, as soon you board the aircraft it is as though you have arrived in Israel and your pilgrimage has started.
Before you board, of course, check in is exceedingly thorough. I have pre-warned the thirty or so member in our party that there must be no silly jokes and that each must co-operate with the El Al security staff. This is to ensure our safety. I have found the El Al people to be so firm but fair and we have never had any trouble.
El Al use modern aircraft and they usually have our group seated in the one section and that is reassuring, especially for those who may have never flown previously.
The music is Israeli and lilting. The food is Israeli and kosher. The staff is Israeli and efficient. The announcements are in Hebrew as well as English.
The atmosphere sets up the party for the twelve day visit to the Holy Land. There will be comments made to me such as: “I am so glad we chose to come on this Israeli plane, and meal was was so good”. Many of these dear people have been looking forward to this flight for over a year. I need to remember that when I am leading a Tour.
Having flown El Al on each occasion I have never had a poor flight yet. I have never had a poor flight no matter where I have flown but going to Israel is special, and there is no question about that.
Yes, there is a choice, when we fly from London to Tel Aviv, but I would always take our people El Al for the reasons outlined here and of course for many other reasons too which I may explain in another article.
Sandy Shaw is Pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship, Chaplain at Inverness Prison, and Nairn Academy, and serves on The Children’s Panel in Scotland, and has travelled extensively over these past years teaching, speaking, in America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, making 12 visits to Israel conducting Tours and Pilgrimages, and most recently in Uganda and Kenya, ministering at Pastors and Leaders Seminars, in the poor areas surrounding Kampala, Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.
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