How to Not Get Scammed by Taxi Drivers in the Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport

tl;dr: use the official taxi service that is right outside the airport, on the left when you leave through the door. You will pay an official fixed price and you will get a slip with information about your driver. Do not ever talk with random taxi drivers who will be waiting in groups and who will be offering you a lift.

With international travel becoming cheaper and cheaper, more and more people are travelling to foreign countries. Even though it sucks but it is mathematically inevitable that sooner or later we will run into problems while doing so. So it is only sensible to prepare to deal with these problems beforehand. Especially if they are well known then it makes no sense not to know about them.

I have been fortunate enough to travel to the sunny, friendly, awesome Israel recently, two times. There are many options that you can choose from to travel from the airport to your destination. However, on Saturdays the Jews celebrate the Shabbat which means that no public transportation will be working so your options will be very limited unless you will rent a car. Another popular option is to get a taxi. Obviously, because of this reason you will be paying a premium for the ride but it still is the most popular option besides driving with your own car. And this is what makes this problem with taxi drivers acute – even though it is only one day during the week but still a significant amount of travelers pass through that airport on Saturdays.

Unfortunately, still to this day (end of 2017) there is one rampant problem that you will run into, especially if it will be your first time there, is that there is a bunch of taxi drivers which are waiting for tourists outside the airport which are driving around with the official cars (they have the Gett signs and so on) but they are not officially working at that time thus they can scam and take more money from you even though it is apparently illegal according to the law (I’m not an Israel law expert so I won’t comment on it, obviously). Newcomers are the main people who are suspected to succumb to this trick because the cars look official and they might not notice the “taxi service” sign. That is why they look for people who look new and stressed. You should never talk with them. At most, if they are offering you a ride, you should just respond with a nice: “no, thank you”.

Israel’s solution to this problem is to have an official taxi service. It can be found just outside the airport, on the left. There you will see an officer that is coordinating everything. Then just approach him or her and he or she will “connect” you to an taxi driver. You will be given a slip with the information about the taxi driver, the car, and a slip with a list of fixed prices for different regions of Israel.

Let me tell about my two times. The first one happened at the beginning of August, 2017; the second episode occurred at the end of October, 2o17. In August me and my girlfriend were completely unaware of this so from the airport I just traveled with a random taxi that invited us for a ride to Tel-Aviv from the Ben-Gurion airport. I vaguely remember it now but I think that the meter was off and we talked about the price before. We agreed that it will cost me somewhere around 150 ILS. However, at the end of the ride the driver pointed me to some kind of electronic device that showed “250”. And that is how much he demanded from me for the lift. Obviously, me being a new person in Israel and that I didn’t know the prices nor the law, I didn’t have any other choice but to pay him that outrageous price. 250 ILS is approximately 50-60 EUR which is very, very big and completely unjustified. I learned a hard lesson on that day.

And I didn’t forget it. The last time, at the end of October, another driver tried to lure me in again. As I left the airport, one guy next to an “official” taxi asked me from a long distance: “hey, do you need a ride?”. But I followed the lesson that I presented in this article before and just replied to him: “hey, no but thank you for the offer”. Then I proceeded to go to the official taxi service that was just on the left after leaving through the door. Everything went well as expected – the fare that I had to pay was the official one and I was given a slip with all of the driver’s information.

So keep this in mind the next time you are going to land in the Ben-Gurion airport and enjoy the awesome Israeli beaches, the cool museums, the yummy food, and everything else that Israel has to offer to you!

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