Ben Gurion Airport
Everything you need to know

Ben Gurion airport is Israel's main international airport, located 15 kilometers or 9 miles from Tel Aviv.

ben gurion tel aviv airport waiting area after security

It's a modern, comfortable and airly place. The airport is medium-sized, so it does not overwhelm you like many other modern mega airports.

Rent a Car at the Airport
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Airport Perks

I love the convenient perks that Ben Gurion airport offers. I've traveled a lot - so I know that these perks are definitely not common in other airports:

  • Free wireless internet access everywhere
  • 24-hour duty free shopping
  • Luggage trolleys - are free. You just have to deposit 10 Shekels (about $ 3), but you get it back when you return the cart. No cash - you need to swipe a credit card.

Just Arrived! 

After landing, you are ushered straight into the terminal without having to take any shuttles or buses.

Ben Gurion airport has only one main Terminal 3 from which all flights depart and arrive, except for a few charter or budget flights that fly from Terminal 1. On these flights only, you may need to take a bus from the airplane to the terminal because those airlines save on the expense of the jet-bridges.


Security & Passport Control

Your first stop after landing at Ben Gurion airport is immigration and passport control.

Expect to wait on line during the summer and holiday seasons. As in most countries, there are separate lines for Israeli citizens and foreigners, so pay attention to the signs.

If you are not sure if you need a visa to travel to Israel, visit our  Visa Israel page.

Ben Gurion airport is probably the world’s most secure airport, but this can sometimes cause delays. Depending on your security profile or where you’re coming from, you may face some polite, if repetitive questioning by immigration officers. If you have nothing to hide, there is nothing to worry about.

Just answer all the questions calmly. Be patient and take it in stride.

When I host business guests from overseas, I always send my guests before their arrival a letter addressed to Israeli immigration with my company logo, my name and local phone numbers. I was called a few times by immigration officers at the airport and my ability to vouch for my guests sped them through security.

So if you’re a business traveler,ask your host for such a letter in advance. It can make a huge difference.

Traveling to Arab or Islamic Countries - If you plan on traveling to Arab or Islamic countries, some will not allow you to enter their country if your passport includes an Israeli visa or stamp.

You can ask the Israeli immigration officer not to stamp your passport with an Israeli immigration stamp. Instead, they will stamp a separate sheet of paper. Keep this sheet of paper with you together with your passport until you leave the country.


Baggage Pickup and Local Currency

Baggage Pickup

If you are on an organized tour, your local tour operator will probably be waiting for you with signs after you leave the immigration section. Be on the lookout for your tour name.

After passport control, you may take a free luggage trolley and pick up your suitcases at the baggage carousel for your flight.

Money Exchange

Right after baggage pickup, there are conveniently located 24-hour banks and multi-lingual ATMs at the arrival lounge for you to exchange or withdraw money.  

When you depart from Israel, there are  automatic ATM's where you can withdraw foreign currency (US Dollars, Euro and British Pounds), as well as 24-hour money exchange services for most major currencies.


Transportation from Ben Gurion Airport

Transportation to and from the airport is convenient. You can:

  • Rent a car
  • Take public transportation
  • Take a taxi 
  • Take a shared taxi service (Sherut) depending on your destination.

Car Rentals - If you plan on renting a car, take the escalators up where you can choose from Israel’s five leading car rental companies: Avis, Budget, Eldan, Hertz and Sixt. They’re also open 24 hours a day.

Discover Car Hire allows you to compare to find the best availability and prices for car rentals. Check them out here.

By Train - Taking the train to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Nahariya in the North or Beersheva in the South is extremely easy and cheap.

  • Trains run 24 hours a day, excluding the exceptions in the NOTE below.
  • Between 5:30 AM until midnight,they run every 20 – 30 minutes. Between midnight until 5:30 AM, they run every hour.
  • Prices range from 10 to 50 Shekels depending on your destination.
  • The train station entrance is to your left as you exit the arrivals hall, one flight down.
  • To reach other Israeli cities, you can switch trains or catch a bus from the intermediate city.

Note: that there is no public transportation in Israel, including trains, during the Sabbath which begins on Friday afternoon (from about 3 PM) until Saturday night (from about 6 - 7 PM), or during Jewish holidays. If you’re not sure when are the holidays, visit our Israel Holidays page.

By Bus - If you do not read or speak Hebrew, taking a bus from the airport might be difficult and I don't recommend it. Trains from the airport are much more convenient, especially for non Hebrew speakers.

But if you wish to do so, you need to take (at least 2) different buses to reach your final destination.

You must first take the Egged bus line from the airport to either the El Al Junction or to Airport city. Both destinations are a 10-15 minute bus ride. From either stop, you need to transfer to a different bus or buses in order to get to any one of the major cities in Israel.

There is no bus service in Israel from Friday afternoon from about 2:30 PM until Saturday night from about 7 PM.

Taxis - I confess I always take taxis to and from the airport for the ease, even if it costs slightly more than the alternatives.

For Taxis to Tel Aviv and all of Gush Dan (central Israel), make sure to take the middle, left exit that clearly says Taxis and you’ll see the Taxi line on your left.

My advice - use only the official airport taxi line because it’s supervised and you are guaranteed a fixed and reasonable rate to your destination. Normally within the city, I advice travelers to ask every taxi driver to user the meter, but the airport taxi fare is an exception.  

But, make sure to get your price quoted from the taxi dispatcher before you begin the taxi ride!

During peak tourist season, the taxi wait can take anywhere from 10 - 30 minutes, but the line keeps moving. Depending on the time of day and destination, the rates can range from 100 – 200 Shekel or so to Tel Aviv.

For Jerusalem and Haifa, you can catch a 24-hour Sherut Taxi, which is a shared taxi service that typically holds about 10 people. The fare per person runs about 50-100 Shekel.

GETT Taxi APP - You can pre-order a taxi via the GETT taxi application which is quite convenient.

  • Make sure to leavea a local Israel number or your WHATSAPP number so the taxi driver can call you. 
  • It is recommended that you leave your exact flight details, which allows the company to check and coordinate the up-to-date arrival time with the drivers. 
  • Call the driver's number as soon as your flight lands to coordinate.
  • The GETT Taxi pickup area where you meet your driver is usually right near the car rental area, but ask the driver. 

Departing from Ben Gurion Airport
Security, Checkin and Business Lounges

When flying out of Ben Gurion airport, you need to pay a 10 Shekel or so deposit on the trolley (via credit card only), but you get it back when you return the trolley.

Security Again - Security lines can take some time during the summer and holiday seasons.

Even as a bonafide Israeli, I've had my luggage opened a few times. Take it in stride...

The process may be lengthy, but the security staff is polite and friendly. As is customary at every Israel airport, profiling is used to decide on the length and depth of the questioning. There is no point to take it personally. Keep your sense of humor handy!

I recommend you arrive at Ben Gurion airport early enough - about 3 hours before the flight for economy class and, 2 and a half hours for business class. Better to be relaxed and not pressured time-wise in anyway.

Internet Checkin - The good news is that Ben Gurion airport supports internet check-in. If your airline provides this service, you can arrive about two hours  before the flight, and if you only have carry-on luggage, even an hour and a half will do.

Business Lounges

There are two VIP Lounges for passengers with business or first class tickets.  

The first is the King David Lounge for those flying Business or First Class with El Al and several other airlines.  The other VIP lounge is called Dan. They are both easy to find.


Great Dutyfree Shopping

Even if your flight leaves in the middle of the night, most of the shops are open 24 hours a day - unlike many other airports.

Duty free shopping at Ben Gurion airport is competitively priced with a good selection.  And if you happen to fly back to Israel, you can leave what you purchased at the airport and pick the goods up on the day you arrive. So it’s easy to buy a lot if you wish to.

For a complete list of stores at the airport, visit Duty Free Shopping at Ben Gurion Airport.

  • At James Richardson Duty Free is a classic duty-free shop with a large selection of alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, perfumes, cosmetics and chocolate assortments, candies and more.
  • The sports shop carries the latest trends in sneakers, sportswear and brand-name sunglasses, for adults and children. 
  • You can find the standard international fashion brands found at most airports, and some Israeli fashion as well, such as Michal Negrin for vintage style clothing, jewelery and and accessories.
  • There is also a nice store for toys which includes Playstation, computer games, and more. 
  • There are electronic and computer shops
  • Good book stores
  • Shops for jewelery and watches
  • Music and DVD shop
  • Lots of sweets
  • Last minute gifts from Israel and much more


If you are hungry or need a beverage, there are coffee shops, fast food joints, sushi and even a Tapas bar. 


I hope you enjoy your browsing and shopping around Ben Gurion Airport. Have a safe flight!


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