FINALLY: EL AL’s 787s Will Have A New Business Class Product!!!

As far as international airlines go, EL AL must have some of the most underwhelming premium cabin products in the world. Just a few years ago EL AL introduced a new first class product… which doesn’t even feature direct aisle access from every seat. The product looks more like a subpar business class than a first class product, in my opinion.

El-Al-First-Class-101

Meanwhile EL AL’s new business class seats are still angled, though frankly it doesn’t look like there’s that much of a difference between their first and business class.

El-Al-New-Business-Class

So I’ve been wanting to review EL AL first class for a while, though it pains me to redeem miles for such a bad product, given the high mileage redemption rates and the subpar product.

Well, the good news is that it looks like EL AL will soon finally introduce a competitive business class product. EL AL has 16 Boeing 787 aircraft on order (nine Boeing 787-9 aircraft, and seven Boeing 787-8 aircraft), and they’ll be taking delivery of the first one in the coming months.

EL-AL-787

A couple of weeks ago EL AL put out this marketing video about the 787:

I had a hard time keeping a straight face throughout the video. If their dream is to give people “the best flight they can have,” what have they been doing with their onboard product for the past couple of decades? 😉

Anyway, what’s interesting is that the video shows a business class cabin, and it very clearly features direct aisle access from every seat.

EL-AL-Business-Class-787

So, are they just using some generic Boeing cabin mockup, or does EL AL actually plan on introducing reverse herringbone seats in business class?

Well, it looks like EL AL’s 787s will in fact feature a massive improvement over their current product. Dan’s Deals notes that for whatever reason EL AL has loaded the 787-9 into the schedule between Tel Aviv and Los Angeles, for one day only — September 2, 2017.

Elal-787

The flight is zeroed out, so I don’t think EL AL actually intends to operate it, but rather I suspect they’re just doing some testing with the GDS for the new configuration.

There are a couple of interesting things about this:

  • When you look at the seatmap, you’ll see that business class is indeed in a 1-2-1 configuration, with a total of 32 seats
  • Based on the addition of new fare classes, it appears as if there will be a premium economy cabin on the 787; the cabin will be in a 2-3-2 configuration, with a total of 28 seats
  • EL AL won’t have a first class cabin on the 787

EL-AL-787-Business-Class

This is fantastic news, as it means EL AL’s new business class product will be better than their old first class product. EL AL will take delivery of their first 787 in September 2017, so I suspect we’ll find out the full details soon.

Bottom line

Congrats to EL AL for finally joining the 21st century when it comes to their onboard product. EL AL business class will finally feature direct aisle access from every seat. Further, EL AL will also introduce a premium economy product.

I was going to try EL AL’s first class soon, but think it makes a lot more sense to try the new 787 business class, given that it will be the backbone of their fleet.

Comments

  1. @ Izz — A lot of airlines don’t start their seat numbering at row one, especially when they don’t have first class.

  2. Be right back. Microwaving some popcorn for the garbage fire comments section that is about to ensue.

  3. I’ve only flown El Al once, in economy on a 747 between JFK and Tel Aviv. As Lucky’s article indicates, it was like going back in time. Hopefully their 787s will offer an improved customer experience (in all classes).

  4. Some of the other carriers in the region went way over the top with their premium products in a way that showed a complete disregard for profitability while El Al went the other direction and showed a complete disregard for remaining competitive in business class. What is odd is that Israel is much more of a business destination than Qatar or Abu Dhabi. Tel Aviv’s tech scene is pretty vibrant and then there is the related military hardware/software business. Yet, all the people I know flying from the USA to Israel in business or first, have taken take UA/ DL or AA or connected through Istanbul. This seems like a long overdue upgrade

  5. @ Dan

    I don’t think this will let El Al pick up the people flying UA / AA / DL as I’m sure a good chunk of those flyers are on those carriers due to Fly America restrictions

  6. It definitely does make a lot of sense that you would wait to try out LY’s new business class, but at the same time I think part of the reason there was so much demand for an LY trip report was that there really aren’t any in depth trip reports on LY’s current business/first class. While the trip report on the new product will be interesting, I think it would have been neat to get a trip report on the old product to see just how bad it really is (which will also give a greater contrast to the new product.)

  7. Met an El Al rep a few weeks ago, and he said that they will likely put the 787 on the TLV-LAX route.

  8. Position to Europe or something, fly 747 business to TLV and then fly to Los Angeles on 787 business! Could throw in Kuwait first class somewhere…

  9. @RC – the people I know flying to Israel for work are employed by American tech companies that do not have Fly American rules. Most have wide discretion in choosing their airlines and few travel enough to be loyal to any one carrier.

    Certain companies and the government do have those regulations. However, I believe it is less important for the government since they do not fly their people upfront.

  10. Putting the 789 on the TLV-LAX route is smart, they currently operate one of their worst 772 configurations to that route.
    I doubt they will make the configuration 1-2-1 when even their refreshed F is 2-2-2 but we will live and see…

  11. @Josh Agreed, the 777-200 plying the route right now is actually 3-3-3 meaning that the aisles are wider and the seats are wider. It is like United new 777-300er, the business class is miles better, but the economy is a lot worse.

  12. i can’t speak for others, but i enjoy the bad reviews more than the good ones. i was really looking forward to you destroying their first class. maybe you can do two reviews, one of their current first and one of their new business?

  13. Im sad to dissapoint you, stinky El Al still arent changing the seat type, upgrade it, but same seating. just search on youtube “el al buisness class” and youll find a video from el al

  14. I flew ElAl first class from TLV-JFK. A total embarrassment when comparing this flight service. food, aircraft etc to Lufthansa, BA or Air France first class.
    The bathroom was in business class and was locked unless a flight attendant opened it. Breakfast on the overnight flight was inedible.
    I will only fly Delta business class to and from TLV..a much better product.

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