Long airport lines have become the ‘new normal’

Passengers have been forced to go through immensely slow journeys from airport entrances to their departure gates.

 Passengers wait to check in at Ben Gurion airport (photo credit: ALDEN TABAC)
Passengers wait to check in at Ben Gurion airport
(photo credit: ALDEN TABAC)

Airports around the world have been struggling to keep up with increased demand for travel, as countries have once again opened up to visitors from abroad. Ben-Gurion Airport is no exception, as it has been forced to deal with droves of passengers in the midst of El Al staffing issues.

Time spent on check-in lines, checking baggage, and getting through security has been significantly longer than in past years. As such, passengers have been forced to go through immensely slow journeys from airport entrances to their departure gates.

“Compared with the other airports I’ve been to, it has been much easier, more organized and less chaotic here.”

Dennis, a tourist from Sweden

Many passengers like Jespen, flying from Ben-Gurion to Copenhagen, have had no option but to endure the lengthy waits. Traveling, he explained, “is part of my job, so I don’t have a choice.”

Ben-Gurion's handling of the situation

 Passengers at Ben Gurion wait in long lines to go through security.  (credit: ALDEN TABAC) Passengers at Ben Gurion wait in long lines to go through security. (credit: ALDEN TABAC)

Thankfully, Ben-Gurion has handled the situation well.

Although wait times are much longer than normal at airports around the world, some travelers expressed their contentment with how Ben-Gurion has dealt with the less than ideal situation.

“Things have been much more organized in Israel than in Sweden, even though it’s usually the other way around,” said Rivka, who was visiting Israel for a wedding. “Everything went smoothly with all of our travel from the bus to the train to the airport.”

Dennis, also visiting from Sweden after having traveled to multiple countries in the past few years, had similar thoughts. “Compared with the other airports I’ve been to, it has been much easier, more organized and less chaotic here.”

Frequent travelers like Dennis have gotten used to the long lines at airports. “When I got to the airport in Stockholm, it was full,” he said. “I had never seen it like that before, but I haven’t even reflected upon the long lines even though they are longer than usual. This is the new normal. It is what it is.”

Jespen echoed Dennis’s sentiment, saying longer waiting times are “more or less normal everywhere you travel. Doesn’t really matter if it’s Israel, Europe [or] places all over.”

Leaving mid-day 

To avoid waiting for hours on end, it may be beneficial to book a flight that departs Ben-Gurion in the middle of the day.

“My brother was here this morning, and he hated the situation,” said Moroko, Rivka’s husband. “He waited for hours. It was extremely frustrating for him. It really depends on the time of day you come. I got here five hours early because I had to leave my hotel, but I wasn’t expecting long lines since my flight was in the middle of the day.”

“You can’t really choose when you travel, but we would have had to wait much longer if we were here early in the morning,” Rivka chimed in.

Unfortunately for some, not everyone anticipated that leaving mid-day would result in shorter wait times.

“What long lines?” said Chaim, an Israeli traveling abroad. “I thought the lines would be much longer! I came here so early, but the lines were so short that I went home and came back!”