Archive for the ‘Airlines’ Category

Two High Holy Days recipes from El Al

August 25, 2010 Leave a comment

NEW YORK (Press Release)– With the Jewish New Year soon to arrive, EL AL, the national airline of Israel is preparing for this holiday season by offering traditional desserts which symbolize a sweet new year. 
More than 550 pounds of honey cake is served to passengers travelling on EL AL from the USA in all classes of service as well as to premium class passengers in the King David Lounges. 

Also offered in the lounges is another symbolic holiday snack, apples and honey. Over 330 pounds of sliced apples and 170 pounds of honey will be consumed! 

In celebration of the Rosh Hashana holiday Chef Steven Weintraub, Executive Chef of Borenstein Caterers, is providing two special recipes for signature holiday sweets. 


1 cup of honey
½ cup of sugar
4 whole eggs
1 cup of coffee, black and room temperature
¾ cup of vegetable oil
1 fresh orange, grated fine (include juice pulp and skin)
4 – 4 ½ cups of flour (adjust flour amount to ensure mixture is moderately loose)
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
A pinch of salt (1/8 tsp)
1 cup of raisins


Mix honey, sugar, eggs, coffee, oil and orange thoroughly.  In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Slowly add dry mixture into liquid mixture.  Blend well.  Fold in raisins.  Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 greased baking pan or into a 36 muffin tin.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour.  After 45 minutes of cooking, check periodically.  Let cool on a wire rack.

 Another delicious recipe that EL AL passengers have enjoyed is Baked Apples:


6 fresh, large Granny Smith apples
1 cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
4 oz of almond or macaroon paste
¼ cup of dark raisins
2 egg whites from extra large eggs
2 cups of honey (for sauce, 2.5 oz per portion)
1 tablespoon of cinnamon-sugar mixture (1/2 tablespoon of each) 


Blanch the apples in boiling water for 5 minutes and shock in cold water, drain well. From the top of the apples, make a crater by coring and removing the inside meat down 10 % depth, leaving the outside edge with an approximate ¼ even border. Place the apples in a shallow pan and set aside. Using a mixing bowl, add brown sugar, cinnamon, almond/macaroon paste, raisins, egg whites and blend well. Reserve honey and cinnamon-sugar mixture for garnish. Fill apple crater with mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes. Test for doneness to the feel of a cooked baked potato. Cool apples down to a warm state and serve with honey at room temperature. Finally, sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Preceding provided by El Al Airlines

Haitian earthquake victim to receive prosthetic feet in Israel

August 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Sounlove, in wheel chair, and sister Baranatha await El Al flight at JFK

NEW YORK (Press Release)–EL AL, the national airline of Israel, recently hosted 19 year old student Sounlove Zamour on a flight from New York to Israel.  Sounlove is a double amputee victim of the horrific earthquake that took place in Haiti this past January.

Sounlove is in Israel to continue with the next stage of her recovery process.  She is being treated at the premiere high-tech rehabilitation center of the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer Hospital. 

The plan is to fit Sounlove with prosthetics and have her walk again, as has been done with many previous patients.  Her sister Baranatha is accompanying Sounlove in Israel for the four month long stay where they are guests of the Friends of Sheba Medical Center, a foundation based in Los Angeles.
EL AL has a history of providing humanitarian assistance during times of need. In keeping with this tradition, two EL AL aircraft carried more than 80 tons of supplies, dozens of medical personnel, search and rescue teams as well as a canine rescue squad from Israel to assist with the relief efforts in Haiti. 

Preceding provided by El Al Airlines

El Al offers suggestions for in-flight exercises

July 15, 2010 Leave a comment

NEW YORK (Press Release) – EL AL, the national airline of Israel, has offered some tips for passengers to stay in shape, relax, and feel fresher.  

These exercises are intended to provide a safe and healthy way of stretching certain muscles which may otherwise be tight as a result of sitting for any lengthy period of time.  Each exercise can easily be done from the comfort of any seat, without disturbing neighboring passengers. Exercises can be repeated as often as desired but should not be performed if there is difficulty or if pain occurs.

  • BACK BENDS: Fold hands behind your head and stretch upward. Then, slowly roll your head down and around in a circle, rising slowly (and change directions).


  • LEG JOINTS: Bring knee to your chest, keeping your back in an upright position. Rotate leg in small circles in each direction. Alternate legs.


  • SIDE BENDS: Sitting straight up, place your hand on the opposite knee and twist your body in that direction. Repeat the same twist in the other direction.


  • SPINAL STRETCHES: Link your hands together and stretch your arms overhead. Bend to the right and to the left.


Additional in-flight exercises can include:

  • ANKLE TWIRLS: Lift your feet from the floor. Outline a circle with your toe tips, moving one foot clockwise and the other counterclockwise. Switch directions.  
  • FOOT PUSHES: Begin with both feet flat on the floor, raising them as high as you can. Then, raise your heels high and keep toes on the floor. Perform this in a continuous movement.
  • KNEE LIFTS: Raise your leg with knee bent, contracting the thigh muscle (quadriceps). Switch legs.  
  • NECK SWIVELS: With shoulders relaxed, lower your ear to your shoulder and gently move your neck to the right side and then to the left.
  • KNEE TO CHEST: Bend forward slightly. Wrap your hands around your left knee and hug it to your chest. Hold the contracted position for 15 seconds. Still holding your knee with your hands, lower it slowly. Switch knees.
  • FORWARD BENDS: With both feet on the floor and belly contracted inward, slowly bend forward and move  hands downward, advancing toward feet. Hold this stretched position for 15 seconds and slowly return to a sitting position.
  • SHOULDER ROTATIONS: Arch your shoulders forward, upward and downward in gentle circular movements.

The above exercises are recommended by the Israeli Center of Pilates. EL AL is now serving new health-smart meal options. In addition to the regular menu, a variety of 20 special meals are available in-flight which must be ordered at least 48 hours prior to departure. EL AL is committed to ensuring all passengers have a pleasant and relaxing experience on every flight.  

Preceding provided by El Al

El Al to inaugurate Tel Aviv-Eilat route Aug 1

June 30, 2010 Leave a comment

TEL AVIV (Press Release)–EL AL, the national airline of Israel, is announcing the launch of its newest destination to the popular beach resort of Eilat which is located on the Red Sea in southern Israel. Beginning August 1st, EL AL will offer three daily roundtrip flights every Sunday through Thursday as well as one daily roundtrip flight every Friday morning and Saturday evening.

EL AL passengers have the option to travel to Eilat on the way to Israel, on the way home, or in the middle of their vacation.  A special roundtrip fare of $40 from Ben Gurion Airport to Eilat is available when purchasing the roundtrip EL AL flight from the USA to Israel.  The $40 Eilat fare is subject to availability and certain restrictions apply.

“We are enthusiastic to provide these first-ever EL AL flights so that many more Americans and all international travelers will be able to experience the beauty, relaxation, excellent year-round weather, and many fun attractions that Eilat offers,” said Offer Gat, EL AL Vice President, North and Central America.  “The fact that these flights conveniently depart from Ben Gurion Airport allows our passengers travelling from the USA to easily connect to their nonstop EL AL flight (in either direction) as well as save valuable travel time.”

 The maiden flight, appropriately named “EL AL Red Sea” will depart from Terminal 1 at Ben Gurion Airport, as will all EL AL flights to/from from Eilat. For passengers beginning or ending their trip in Eilat, EL AL allows the same hand luggage and checked baggage allowance as on the flights to/from the United States. To take advantage of the special $40 fare,visit, call EL AL at 800-223-6700 or any travel agent.

Preceding provided by El Al

El Al ticketing will lead to tree being planted in Israel

June 1, 2010 Leave a comment

NEW YORK (Press Release)– EL AL Israel Airlines and Jewish National Fund (JNF), are partnering in a promotion: Anyone who buys a ticket to Israel via  will have a tree planted in Israel by the Jewish National Fund.   Once the purchase is completed, the passenger receives a certificate via mail or email that EL AL and JNF are planting a tree on their behalf.  Every year, tens of thousands of passengers departing from the USA purchase their EL AL tickets online.

“It is appropriate for EL AL and JNF to partner and provide this symbolic and environmentally friendly gesture,” commented Offer Gat, Vice President, EL AL Airlines, North and Central America.  “The planting of these trees further enhances the beauty of Israel and EL AL is proud to play a small part.”

“It is a natural fit for JNF and EL AL to work together,” said Russell F. Robinson, Chief Executive Officer, JNF.  “The mission of JNF has been and always will be to care for the land and people of Israel. Whether it’s planting trees, managing water resources, sustainably developing the Negev desert, promoting tourism, or driving pro-Israel dialogue on college campuses, our hearts, minds, and vision are about Israel.“

An El Al spokesperson said the JNF promotion does not extend to tickets sold through travel agencies. 

Preceding provided by El Al Airlines

Contrasting an airline that doesn’t care about its passengers with a cruise line that does

March 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Nancy waiting in Fort Lauderdale, not suspecting the time crunch to come

First in a series

By Donald H. Harrison

LIMA, Peru—Were it not for cruise ships like the one we embarked upon here in the wee hours of Monday, Feb. 22, I believe I’d be ready to consign my leisure travel to the lazy boy chair in front of the television in my home.   I’d much rather go nowhere than to have to subject myself constantly to airlines.

I’ll tell of the Delta Airlines experience by which we arrived in this South American capital and port city—an experience that I believe typifies what happens on airlines today.  The story I will tell is not about some fabulous exception; rather it concerns the low standard of service that is becoming common place. Airlines may try to excuse themselves by saying they have to adopt certain customer-adverse policies and measures because of the difficult economic times, but I believe the problem goes much deeper. 

It seems apparent that airlines no longer value their customers, except as numbers on a chart.  An attitude of contemptuousness has taken hold of the airline industry, an attitude that began in the board room where such policies were approved as all-but-eliminating sufficient leg room in economy class, charging passengers extra for luggage, and nickeling and diming passengers for snacks and beverages, movies and other amenities.  This lack of appreciation for customers eventually was transmitted through middle managers all the way to the service personnel. 

I’ll start my story in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where Nancy and I had attended a wedding.  We arrived at the airport there, which seemed comparable in size to San Diego’s Lindbergh Field, about two hours prior to our flight.  Because our ultimate destination was an international one rather than a domestic one, we were not able to check our bags curbside but instead were required to do so inside the terminal.  However, the terminal was so crowded that we were not permitted to simply check our bags.  Instead we and other passengers were herded into an area across a corridor from the counters and told to wait there until the time our flight was called.  Then and only then could we proceed to check our baggage.

No one explained why this procedure had been adopted, but by asking questions we were able to ascertain that the baggage belt was working only intermittently, requiring many bags to be ferried by hand. We waited well over an hour with other passengers, who either were standing with their baggage or sitting with it on the floor, until finally we were permitted to proceed to the ticket counter, where there was little or no order.  By the time we actually got to a ticket agent, another twenty minutes had elapsed.  To add insult to injury, once we  arrived at the ticket counter,  an agent curtly told us we should have been at the counter a half hour earlier.  We replied that had been our intention, but her own colleagues had prevented us from doing do.

The counter agent processed our luggage and handed us our boarding passes and quickly moved on to another customer.  We worked our way through lines to a screening area where an employee checked our ticket against our passports.  They didn’t match; the ticket agent somehow had given us the wrong boarding passes, made out in someone else’s name.

Nancy told me to wait with all the carry-on luggage—and she charged back to the ticket desk—explaining what had happened.  “Find the agent who helped you,” she was told.  “She’s not here,” Nancy answered in a panic. “And our flight is about to leave.” 

Grudgingly another ticket agent got onto the computer, and issued proper boarding passes.   Nancy dashed back to where I was waiting, and with the new documents we were allowed to proceed—to security, where we had to go through all the regular procedures of removing everything from our pockets, taking off our shoes, putting my laptop computer in a separate tray, and so forth.  As I gathered up everything, Nancy ran ahead to the gate.  As she turned the corner, she heard an agent say “last call for Donald and Nancy Harrison.” 

“We’re here, wait!” Nancy shouted at a dead run.  

Nancy found that they had reassigned the airplane seats we had reserved—and that the gate agents were completely unaware what was happening in the ticket area.  “Do you want to go without your husband?” they asked Nancy, “because we’re closing the doors.” 

“He’s coming,” Nancy replied.  “He’s at security, just putting his shoes on.”  “Well I don’t see him coming,” the agent said.  “Do you want to board anyway?”  At that point I made my appearance.  They whisked us down the gangway and put us into the seats by the boarding door.

Next, we went to Atlanta where we caught the flight to Peru, thinking that embarkation was blessedly uneventful.  But we were incorrect in our assessment. Although we had no problem boarding the plane, it later developed that one of our two large bags did not.

On the six-and-a-half hour flight to Peru, some of the flight attendants evidently were in a bad mood.  Instead of placing snacks on trays, one flight attendant practically threw them onto the passengers’ trays in economy class, as if she were dealing cards at a poker table.   When Nancy asked another attendant  near the end of the flight, “if you have time, could I please have some water?” he responded in a surly tone, “I don’t have time!”—making several passengers wonder what had prompted him to exhibit such hostility.  He might simply and courteously have responded.  “I’m sorry, I won’t be able to get back to you before we land.”  Evidently he was having a bad day, and decided to take out his pique on passengers.

After arriving in Lima, we sought to retrieve our bags.  It’s a sickening feeling when the bags on the carousel keep repeating themselves—but your bag is not among them.  Eventually, after every other bag was taken off the carousel by passengers, we had to admit the obvious.  Although Nancy’s bag had made it to Lima, somehow mine didn’t.  We reported the problem to a courteous gentleman at the baggage desk, who was able to establish that my bag was still in Atlanta.   Normally, this is not a problem, he said, as the bag could be sent on the next flight and delivered to the person’s home or hotel. The problem was that our cruise ship—the MS Rotterdam—would be leaving Lima Monday afternoon and the next flight from Atlanta wouldn’t arrive until late Monday evening.  “Perhaps,” I suggested, “the bags could be delivered at the next port,” which would be Guayaquil, Ecuador, on Wednesday, February 24.

The baggage agent said that he never had to deal with the problem of reuniting luggage with a passenger on a cruise ship before, and was uncertain what the procedures were.  He asked a colleague to photocopy our passports as well as an information sheet with Holland America’s contact numbers.  He said he would leave a message explaining the situation for Delta’s morning supervisor of luggage in Lima, and gave us that person’s contact number. 

I went with another Delta employee who wanted to photocopy our passports at the Delta office – which was up a floor and down a corridor—only to find that the office had been closed and that she had no key.  So she radioed for assistance, and eventually someone opened the door, and she copied the documents.   Meanwhile,  Nancy dashed ahead to find the driver whom we previously had engaged by long distance phone calls and emails to take us from the airport to the cruise ship terminal.  She was concerned that the driver,  Renato Monteverde of, would have become discouraged after waiting for us for such a long time, but there he was with our name printed on a placard and with a smile on his face. 

Monteverde helped to rehabilitate our image of the travel industry.  He got us quickly, efficiently and politely to the Port of Callao, where MS Rotterdam was docked.  Security guards checked the ship’s manifest against our passports and ran our luggage through an X-Ray machine.  Once aboard, we were escorted to the front desk to report our missing luggage.  Although the problem had been Delta’s, not Holland-America’s, the ship’s personnel did everything they could to help.  Immediately and with a cheerful smile, they presented me with a courtesy kit of toiletries, so that I’d be able to shave and to brush my teeth.  The next day, a loan of a sports shirt was made to me so that I would have something different to wear at the captain’s informal reception for new passengers.   Meanwhile, personnel aboard the ship made contact with Delta Airlines to arrange a rendezvous for the luggage.  They had hoped it would be in Guayaquil, but in fact it did not catch up with us until the following day, Feb. 25, in Manta, Ecuador.

While not having my suitcase was an inconvenience, thanks to Holland America – and to Nancy who volunteered to shop in the Miraflores area for a few more necessities—it was not the serious problem it could have been. 

Holland America proved to be a company adept at solving passenger problems rather than causing them.  This made me feel glad that I would be taking this ship all the way to San Diego, rather than having to fly home by an airline. It was good to be treated like a mensch instead of as a serf.  I was certain that the rest of my vacation would go well, now that I had put myself in the hands of the right segment of the travel industry – the segment that believes that next to safety, service to customers is the highest value.  As I shall describe in part two of this series, Holland-America was soon to find itself facing some tough tests of that philosophy—tests not of the cruise line’s making.

Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World