About me and other personal stories.
I will update this as time goes on.
Aviation and me,
in the beginning:
I am almost 40 and have been interested in aviation as long as I can literally remember. I think my first memory is of my Father and aviation. Dad took me to Love Field to see the brand new big orange Braniff 747. Seeing a giant orange airplane scared me a bit, but I think that seeing my Dads excitement over this plane must have made positive impact on me.
When I was a little older I
remember my Mother and I going to pickup my Dad from the "New" airport in Dallas
(DFW). I remember the shinny airplanes (American Airlines), the new roads
and the stories about the flight from my Dad. He recalled the
announcements from the pilot in detail, told me about the turbulence along the
way and the dinner en route. He made the most trivial events about air
travel seem so exciting and I was hooked. I hope that I am
able to pass on this excitement of aviation to my children like my Father has
done for me.
Al was a great experience:
Security was the really thorough. I was flagged for extra screening. I think that this was because I was a male traveling alone on a US passport living in Canada. I kind of had a feeling that this would happen and was there 3 hours ahead of time.
It all started with a personal interview where I think that my threat level was assessed. Then I was taken to a nice room behind the ticket counter where they had me sit down on a couch. A pretty female El Al security (ex Israeli Army I would guess) sat next to me on the couch and politely told me that I would have to give them my carry-on bag and remove my shoes. I got the shoes back right away, but would not get my carry-on back until just before boarding, however was allowed to bring my camera.
Then I was off to the regular TSA screening, but that was not a big deal because I had nothing.
Watching the plane come in was increasable. It had El Al security and LAPD positioned around the aircraft. The ground handler and the United maintenance crew were patted down and searched by security before approaching the aircraft. Once the 767 stopped, it was searched outside by security for about 5 minutes, then the jet way was brought to the door. The potable water was hocked up by someone from the aircraft crew and it was from inside the jet way. I have always heard the El Al had an anit missile system or some sort of lanch detection system on their aircraft. I did see some evidence of this. There was a probe sticking out about 2 feet between the ailerons and the outboard flaps. I am not too sure what this was, but it was not present on any other 767 that I have been on.
Now to boarding. Just before we were to get on board they cleared out the waiting area and then looked under the seats and in the trash cans. Everyone had to file back to the area as they reviewed our passports. I was again sent to an other area where I had to go through a metal detector while they looked through my wallet and camera. Then I could board. When boarding the aircraft I noticed that the cockpit had two doors, one before the toilet and one to the cockpit. It looks like they would never need to enter the cabin even to use the washroom.
As we taxied to the runway, we cut in front of the other aircraft waiting and went right to the runway. The entire taxi we had LAPD on one side of the plane and El Al security on the other.
The security people were actually very friendly and I never felt that I was being singled out or a criminal. The lunch was a real lunch and even by pre 9/11 standards was great. Very similar to the one I had when I traveling to LA in first class on Delta. After the meal service I asked if they had any extra main dishes and they rushed a complete new meal to me.
It looked like there were no more than 20 people that got off in Toronto, I hope they keep the route. It was very interesting and I look forward to traveling with them again.
The pictures from my trip can be found
Me, A lifejacket and