Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Only on El Al - Checking Out at Check-in

Here we go again. I arrived in Tel Aviv this morning at 5am. Time has gone by so fast that it seems like I never left Tel Aviv in the first place and never went to London or Paris. As usual, I travelled with El Al, and as expected, I was in the middle of what could be a very good episode of some kind of Israeli airport sitcom.

Funny things always happen when flying El Al. Why? Because it's a Jewish airline. You know, as in Jewish mothers, or Jewish jokes, but this time, it's an airline.

London Heathrow airport, 7.30pm, high security El Al check-in area. No passengers queuing yet because it's too early. Just a religious family and me. The security staff was in a very jolly mood, which was a nice change from last time. I got asked the usual questions, but it was much more fun than usual.

Security Guy: "What is the purpose of your trip?"
Me: "To find a husband, hehehe"
SG: "Oh you want to find a husband! Maybe we can find you someone here"
Me: "He has to keep shabbat though, because I'm going to start doing that soon"
SG: "Why would you wanna do that? I don't keep shabbat"
Me: "Oh well, it will never work out between us then"
SG: "hmmm... wait, Shahar keeps shabbat"
Me: "Who's Shahar?"

Meanwhile, a security lady comes over to ask me about a piece of my luggage which hadn't been with me the whole time and which could be a threat. (It wasn't in the end)

SG (to Security Lady): "She's looking for a husband who keeps shabbat"
Security Lady: "Oh, what about Shahar?"
Me: "But who's Shahar?"
SL: " You see the security guy over there, with the white shirt? That's him. He keeps shabbat"
Me: "Oh but he lives in London, I'm thinking of staying in Israel"
SL: "No, it's ok, he's going back to live in Israel soon!"

Then, SG and SL started calling Shahar, who was all the way on the other side of the check-in area: "Shahar! Shahar!"
Me, very embarrassed: "No no, don't!!!"
Them: "Shahaaaaar!"
SL: "I'm going to talk to him"
Me: " No, don't please!"
And there she goes.
Me (to SG): "You know, I'm gonna have to write about this on my blog!"

I went to check-in and started joking around with the (very cute) guy at the check-in desk. Then, I left, saying bye to my little shiddukh friends. I tried to check out that Shahar guy, but he was busy with some passengers, so in the end I didn't get to see what he looked like from close.

Three hours later, after a good dinner, and some duty free browsing in the perfume section, smiling to myself the whole time because of the security people, it was time to board the plane. It was late and the airport was almost empty. The only people left were mostly Chinese or Jewish: the last two flights were going to Hong Kong and Tel Aviv.

I'm sitting in my seat, seatbelt fastened, waiting for take-off. The Chief flight attendant, or whatever you call him, comes up to me and goes: "Miss Worldwide?", "Yes, it's me". He gives me a little folded piece of paper. "It's from security". I open the paper. On the paper: Shahar's phone number and email address! I've never laughed so loud on a plane before.