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80 year old woman flying to Israel, Tel Aviv, 14 hours do you think it’s doable?

I am planning a trip in May to fly to Israel. Tel Aviv airport, it takes 14 hours nonstop from Miami Florida to Tel Aviv. Does anybody have any helpful suggestions for an 80 year old who is planning this trip. And then from Tel Aviv I’m going to Haifa to see the Baha’i. and whatever else is around. I’m a little worried about the flight. Do you think it’s too stressful for an 80 year old? I’d like to know some people who have flown it in our in the 80s in their lifespan. Maybe I should go someplace else what do you think? Thank you for your reply.

Posted by
7844 posts

Charlotte, there is a huge difference between a 14 hour flight in coach and a 14 hour flight in premium economy or business. Do I think an 80 year old can manage this trip? Yes, if you treat yourself well. Now, I think Premium Economy would probably be the lowest class of service I would consider in your situation.

There is another option to reduce flying time, but it would increase trip time. May has several transatlantic cruises leaving from Florida or other East Coast locations. You could make it to Europe the slow and steady way by cruise ship (and be pampered in the process) and then fly from the arrival port in Europe to Israel. It would add a week or two to your travel(depending on cruise) but you would arrive with no jet lag and ready to enjoy your destination.

Make sure that you give yourself the gift of time (plan rest time into your schedule) and ease (take cabs whenever you want) to help make your trip easier on you.

I hope it all works out.

Posted by
2992 posts

80 is the new 75. Many 80 YOs travel fine. Have you taken flights in the past?

Another approach would be to fly to France, the UK, or some other intermediate destination and stay a few days. After that, finish the trip to Israel.

Posted by
69 posts

Thank you for all your reply’s Good suggestion. The business class or transatlantic trip sounds wonderful. Appreciate your suggestion. But I don’t know if I have the time because I work. The transatlantic takes a week seven days. I have done a transatlantic from England to New York City. Took seven days. It was a wonderful trip. It was before Covid. Now we have to deal with the Covid thing. maybe the premium business class would be comfortable. I’ve taken some flights across the Atlantic and one was very good the plane had lots of empty seats, and I could stretch out that was the best trip. But I had other ones where we were packed in and was tight packed , I couldn’t put my elbows on the side and kids running around screaming it was awful. I guess the transatlantic would be wonderful. No Jetlag. being up all night is very fatiguing. The 87-year-old person who flew to Israel I admire that person. It’s wonderful that they were able to do that. Very brave also.
thank you for the suggestions

Posted by
1528 posts

I am 81 and I was in Italy this spring and will be going to Australia (Tasmania) in about 2 months. That trip will be 30 hours from the time I leave until I get there. The leg over the Pacific is 17 hours long. Flying is just plain boring.

Posted by
641 posts

My mom, age 87, flew from Atlanta to Israel and Jordan last spring, and had a great time on the trip. She did pony up for premium economy though.

The smartest thing mom did before the trip was to hire a physical therapist to work with her on balance, stair climbing and walking on uneven surfaces. She handled all the sites -- Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Caesarea, Megiddo, Petra, Jerash, Masada, and much more -- with no problem.

Posted by
69 posts

Wow, some great ideas, I just came from my sister in New York, and I had trouble going up and down the stairs and walking on uneven pavement. My knee is still sore from this trip this recent trip. Kingston, New York was the sidewalks were all made of broken slate and stone. It was very hard to walk on the street. And then she had very high stairs.. physicall therapy is a great idea.
Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions. It will make the trip a lot easier. I’ve been 87-year-old woman can do it. I can do it.

Posted by
15477 posts

The only airline I found with direct flights is El Al, which flies daily except Saturdays. Expect the plane to be close to full. According to the website the flying time is 12 hours, though the flight back may be longer due to the jet stream - I didn't check.

There is good train service between Tel Aviv and Haifa. Tel Aviv is on mostly level terrain with a few hills. Haifa is steep. The Baha'i Temple is built on a cliffside with lots and lots of stairs. Though they are not difficult or particularly steep there are a lot of them. In May expect the weather to be warm and humid. There's also a Baha'i Temple in Akko just north of Haifa and a fairly short train ride. Akko has some excellent sights and is mostly level and easy walking.

Are you considering visiting Jerusalem as well? It is built on hills.

May 13-14 are holidays here. Best to avoid them if you can. Also note that trains and buses do not run on Shabbat and many stores, restaurants, and sights may be closed.

Posted by
7195 posts

I am 75 and will be 76 when we fly into Tel Aviv from Newark. We never fly first class, unless upgraded, which rarely happens.

Here are some tips. Wear compression socks that cover most of your calves. That significantly reduces the chance of blood clots.
Also, try to get an aisle seat in what Delta calls comfort class. An aisle seat allows your to get up and more around a bit during the flight and improve circulation. Comfort class costs a little more than standard economy, but not much.

Don't imbibe much alcohol during your flight (no more than two glasses of wine). Try napping on the flight, they usually issue blindfolds for everyone.
When touring Israel, you will likely need to walk a bit, so prior to the trip, set up a walking routine of at least a mile or two every other day. Make sure you have good walking shoes or boots. Be sure to hydrate and drink enough fluids.

Posted by
641 posts

A couple of other thoughts:

  • The Baha'i gardens in Haifa were closed when we were in Israel last April. There was a lovely view from the overlook, but we couldn't actually enter the gardens. Our guide told us that they were having some kind of tax argument with the government, and that they shut down the gardens until the legal issues are settled.

  • My mom, the 87 year old, is in remarkably good shape for her age. She doesn't have any mobility issues except for some aches from an ankle she broke many years ago. At the same time, she lives in very flat south Georgia, and most of her walking happens at church, Walmart and T.J. Maxx. :-) Hills, stairs and uneven surfaces are just not things she encounters on a daily basis.

  • Also, a trekking pole comes in handy sometimes. Most of the time mom didn't need it, but I kept one handy, and mom would sometimes ask to use it.