People often ask me, when planning their trips, what is the best airline to fly to Israel. The short answer is easy: El AL Israel Airlines is by and large the best way to go. I am not paid to say that, and that is my opinion based on personal experience. However, it must be noted that other major airlines serve Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion International Airport. All of these offer one thing that El Al does not, which is service on Saturday (El Al planes do not fly on Saturday because of the sabbath). But there are other differences, many of which I will presently recount to give you some details you won't find on the likes of Orbitz or Kayak.com. Without further ado:
United: I flew this airline most recently, and the verdict? Not bad. The 777 aircraft from Newark was clearly recognizable as an "old" Continental plane but was very clean and generally in good-looking shape. Service was friendly if perfunctory. Perhaps the dinner entree of sesame chicken was better than the penne pasta and meatballs I opted for, but, quite alarmingly, the omelette served prior to landing was almost devastatingly delicious.
Delta: I have written for Delta's in-flight magazine, Sky, and byline or no I can say that if stuck on a tarmac at JFK -- where Delta's non-stops to Tel Aviv originate -- I'd rather have their magazine in my hands than United's. Delta is always on-the-ball and I've never heard a bad word about their international service.
USAirways: Recently introduced non-stop service from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv.
Lufthansa: I flew Lufthansa recently from Tel Aviv to Frankfurt and it must be said that it was absolutely the cleanest airplane I have ever been in, period. Flight attendants actually seemed to like their jobs. Highly recommended.
British Airways: Also recommended, but the 767 aircraft used on the Heathrow-Tel Aviv route are not new.
Alitalia: Good food, nice and frequent service. Recommended.