El Al Airlines is having an Early Bird sale from New York, Miami, and Los Angeles, on summer travel July 1 through July 24. These fares are available for purchase until May 17, which is where the Early Bird bit comes from. El Al has also beefed up the number of flights to accommodate the summer rush, with 22 weekly non-stops from JFK, 6 from Newark, 3 from Miami, and 4 from Los Angeles.
Sale fares from JFK/Newark are advertised as $1115 round-trip, with reduced business class fares of $2,626. Sounds great. Only, when we went to check it out on El Al's website, we weren't able to select a destination from their site's drop-box. What is with all the site glitches, people? Sheesh. Well, we decided to phone El Al directly and spoke with Ingrid, who happened to be quite a help. For a July 17 departure and returning July 24, she quoted us a fare of $1,312 round-trip, including taxes, from Newark to Tel-Aviv. We said yes when asked if we were flexible with our return date, but apparently those sale fares are sold out through July, and $1,312 is as good as it gets. Anything better on another airline? We checked Orbitz for these very same dates and found that Continental had the lowest non-stop flight, at $1,436 round-trip, including taxes. For those willing to consider a layover, British Airways has the lowest fare, but at $1,238, it seems hardly worth the hassle. We'd go with El Al.