The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
Ever since ISROYAL started the VIP service for travel to Israel, I have signed on for every flight. Every time I land in Israel, someone is waiting for me as I disembark from the plane, to take my bag and whisk me away to passport control and collect my suitcases. And then off to Jerusalem I go. If my suitcases are not held up by the baggage handlers, the whole process from start to finish is less than 30 minutes. The VIP service really makes one feel like royalty.
Some people have told me they consider this a luxury. I wondered about this until the flight that was supposed to land in Israel on an early Friday morning suddenly had to make an emergency landing in Europe a number of years ago. Like so many others, I try never to make landing plans for Erev Shabbat, but that is sometimes unavoidable. So on this particular Friday, we arrived in Israel one and a half hours before Shabbat. That day the VIP service was a lifesaver, not a luxury.
I was remembering this event at the conclusion of Shabbat Hagadol. I was in Israel for the Bar Mitzvah of my grandson, Yoni Schwartz, and was to leave Israel at midnight of Motzaei Shabbat. I was saying goodbye to family when I got a call informing me that my flight was delayed by 10 hours and would only leave Sunday morning.
When Sunday morning arrived I was feeling very stressed, as I had to catch a flight to Phoenix, Arizona that same day to arrive for Pesach with The Chevrah. When I arrived at Ben Gurion Airport the ISROYAL VIP man was waiting for me. He whisked me through the huge crowd of grumbling people and within 20 minutes, I was sitting and waiting for the boarding call. Unbeknownst to me, that was only the beginning of my adventure.
Our flight left Sunday at 10:30 a.m. (instead of Saturday night at midnight). There was heavy fog in Newark, New Jersey, but we finally landed at 3:15 p.m. My suitcases were the very last ones to arrive – and it was now 4:15 p.m.
I was in serious danger of missing my flight from JFK to Phoenix. And here is where ISROYAL made all the difference. The ISROYAL driver was waiting for me and practically flew (by car) to Kennedy Airport. The ISROYAL VIP lady was waiting for me. I was told that I was five minutes too late to check my suitcases, but I could still make the flight (sans suitcases) if I got to the gate within 10 minutes. I tried to beg the airline rep, but to no avail. What does a person do in such a situation? What do you do with your suitcases?
I didn’t have to worry. My ISROYAL lady took my suitcases and FedExed them to me in Arizona. She also got a driver with a cart to take me to my gate. The walk to the gate would have taken me more than 10 minutes. I didn’t know it then, but I would not have been able to get on another flight before Pesach. I cannot even imagine what I would have done. My suitcases arrived the next day, and I had a wonderful Pesach with The Chevrah.
Most of the time our plans move forward uninterrupted, but I can honestly say that VIP service is not a luxury because you really never know. You never know when the airline will totally mess up your plans, making every minute count.
ISROYAL has expanded their services beyond Israel (where they remain unsurpassed), and are now in select airports in the U.S. as well. See their ad in The Jewish Press for contact details.
About the Author: Naomi Klass Mauer is associate publisher of The Jewish Press.
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