EL AL 787 Business Class In 10 Pictures

Hello from Israel (at last — I’m so excited to finally be here)! My mom and I just flew EL AL’s new 787 business class from Newark to Tel Aviv, and I wanted to share my initial impressions in this post. EL AL began flying their 787 to the US just a few weeks ago, so I’m happy I had the chance to experience the new service within the first few weeks.

I have to be honest, I came in with low expectations. Most of what I’ve heard about EL AL has been pretty negative, given their outdated first & business class seats, which are one (or possibly two) decades past their prime. However, the 787 seems to represent a new chapter for the airline… and I was blown away!

EL AL has a staggered configuration in business class on their 787. Their seats are very similar to United’s new Polaris seats.

These are solid fully flat seats with direct aisle access for everyone. They’re a bit on the tight side, though. That’s not because of EL AL’s design, but rather because the 787 is a bit narrower than the 777, so the footwells are also a bit narrower. I still prefer reverse herringbone seats and Apex Suites, but these are solid seats. I also think EL AL did a great job with their cabin finishes.

In terms of amenities, there was a fairly basic Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kit.

Then there was a pillow and blanket. The pillow was plush, and the blanket was thick without being warm, so they were both better than I was expecting. There’s definitely better bedding out there, though, and it would be great to see them eventually invest in that.

There were good noise canceling headphones, which went well with the solid selection of inflight entertainment (it wasn’t as good as Emirates’ ICE system, but it had dozens of movies, TV shows, etc.).

Based on what I had heard prior to my flight, the food exceeded my expectations. The overall service concept is definitely focused on efficiency and maximizing rest, as you can have everything served at once, if you’d like.

Service began with mixed nuts and drinks — I had an Israeli sauvignon blanc to drink (all their wines are Israeli, which I love).

For the first course I had the sesame crusted seared tuna with daikon radish slaw, and a fresh baby greens salad. The tuna was excellent, while the salad was bland.

For the main course I had a sweet chili glazed seared salmon fillet with basmati rice, sugar snap peas, and pea tendrils. The fish itself was good, though the sweet chili glaze was barely noticeable.

Then for dessert was fresh fruit and an incredible chocolate pastry. It was so good.

It’s not often I say this, but even better than the dinner was the breakfast before landing. I selected the yogurt and granola as my choice (the other option was an omelet), and it was served with an Israeli salad, delicious salmon, a warm wheat bagel, fresh fruit, and a Nespresso cappuccino. In addition to a breadbasket, they also came around with a separate basket that had cinnamon rolls, chocolate croissants oozing with chocolate, etc. I resisted the urge, but it smelled so good.

What really blew me away about EL AL was the service. Taking care of my aisle was Adi, the inflight service manager, and Nadine, one of the business class flight attendants. They provided the most authentic and warm hospitality imaginable. Adi came around to each business class passenger during boarding to welcome them onboard, and did the same again before landing to get feedback on the flight.

They clearly took pride in the new plane, and interacting with them made me even more excited about our visit to Israel. When Adi learned it was our first time visiting, he spent a good 20 minutes giving us all kinds of tips. And most importantly, he took amazing care of my mom, which is priceless.

The quality of a crew makes such a difference in terms of the overall experience, and can make up for minor shortcomings with the rest of the soft product. Our flight was exceptional thanks to the kind crew.

Based on EL AL’s former first & business class seats, I said they were an airline worth avoiding, given that many other airlines offer better seats to Israel. However, EL AL’s new 787s are gorgeous, and I’d recommend them without hesitation.

There’s certainly still room for improvement with the soft product. I think they could eliminate the trays and maybe invest a few more dollars per person in the meal service, like improving the salad, plating the main course in the galley rather than having it pre-plated, etc. I also wish they had more Israeli meal options. It’s my first day, and I’ve already fallen in love with the food here.

But the brand new plane combined with an exceptional crew really made this an excellent flight. Now I’m curious to see what EL AL’s 777 first class is like for the return trip.

Comments

  1. Decades ahead of what I recently flew on. Did JFK-TLV-JFK on a 777 and 747. Definitely seeking out the 787 routes when I return to Israel. Looking forward to the full review!

  2. Glad you enjoyed the trip over. You will certainly love the food in Israel, especially breakfast. Looking forward to hearing about your trip and hopefully you can cover more than just the flight and hotels.

  3. The food in Israel was really amazing. Love the fresh Mediterranean food there. The falafel is also very very good.

    Enjoy Israel, Shalom!

  4. “Now I’m curious to see what EL AL’s 777 first class is like for the return trip”

    I believe you will be greatly desapointed (unless you have zero expectations on this) but I’m eager to read you’re review..

  5. Hey Lucky! I live in Jerusalem and wanna stop by the Waldorf to say hi and take a pic with you! Are you at the Waldorf now and then the Sheraton after, or the opposite? (feel free to email me).

  6. @Ben

    A huge +1.

    Lucky, try to check out the beach by the Hilton. The beach itself is meh but the men…oh, the men!!

  7. By now, your neck is surely sore from looking at the handsome dudes there 🙂

    Great that you had a good flight over; El Al can be a bit hit and miss, but it’s usually pretty Israeli: aloof, a bit harsh on the outside, but nice and warm when it comes down to it.

    Make sure you really do some exploring. It’s one of the world’s safest cities at all times a day, and you won’t regret staying out for an hour or two extra. Something always happens and you’re bound to make new friends if you’re up for it.

  8. Looks like a really nice product. I know a few people who have flown El Al’s 767s from YYZ-TLV and said the business class product was quite bad and very dated. It looks like El Al has finally entered the 21st century in terms of passenger experience. Enjoy Israel, it looks like a beautiful country!

  9. living vicariously through you. hoping to return to Israel next year and considering flying LAX-EWR just to take advantage of this new plane.

    Enjoy the Holy Land! Shalom

  10. Lucky, your 10 pics posts are good, but I wish you would mix up the photos, rather than have sequential photos; seat, amenities, drink, starters, main, dessert, breakfast, is too sequential. Maybe you could have random photos? To me, it’s more like a chopped down version of the review, these 10 pics posts, rather than a teaser of the review, which would give the full view of everything. It’s a bit like a film trailer having the best bits in of the film in the trailer, it kinda spoils it to be honest with you.

  11. I’m so excited you’re in Israel now! It’s a great place and, as you’ve experienced, the food is phenomenal! Have a great trip!

  12. Flew with elal many times their service is just fine
    And quiet honestly you had good service cause Adi(tretchman is last name)
    His the chief of flight attendant of elal..

  13. @lucky, if you do go to the Hilton, go for breakfast and try the toast. Israeli toast is out of this world and nothing like you think of when you order toast in the US or Europe. I’m sure there are lots of places that serve it, but having it on the beach at the Hilton with an Israeli colleague was a highlight of my many trips there.

  14. Israel is still one of the most underrated destinations in the world.

    If one is able to get excited over artificial Qatar and the Gulf Emirates Israel will blow your mind.
    It’s so authentic and full of cool People that truly love living life.

    It’s not about the hotels (if they wont disappoint i will be surprised, since your choices were wrong) , its being on the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem (both in their separate ways) meeting the people, joining that lifestyle and eating as much as you can:

  15. If this product blew you away, either:

    – You really had low expectations. Like, REALLY low
    – Your standards are deteriorating.

    Apart the all-aisle access, I see nothing particularly great about the seat. The food seems average at best.

    Also, I do agree with some posters that Israel is a great country – easy to visit and generally quite safe. However, I disagree that the food is better than than in other places in the Middle East and that it’s a more exciting destination than the Gulf. Also, not all Israeli share the same joix de vivre. A Russian Israeli is very different from an Ultra-Orthodox one. I find the same is true in the rest of the Middle East.

  16. “And quiet honestly you had good service cause Adi(tretchman is last name)
    His the chief of flight attendant of El Al”

    Now I really wonder if El Al knew that @Ben was coming and so put their best flight attendant on that flight (he is quite nice looking in his Facebook pic). Though I don’t know that El Al would ever be that proactive.

  17. Hey Lucky, my wife and I are also visiting Israel right now. Email me if you wanna go out with us and our Israeli friends in Tel Aviv Thursday, Friday or Saturday night.

  18. i saw a sponsored facebook ad today in hebrew says about your flight. it seems that they invited you For you to write a positive opinion. You should add some disclosure if the flight was on EL AL’s account

  19. @lucky

    Check out the pinned post on El Al’s Hebrew facebook page (@ELALAirlinesIL). It looks like just a link to the review, I don’t see the implication/ad Felix is describing.

  20. @Airways and Travels

    From my experience the food in the gulf leaves much to be desired. The lack of ANY DOMESTIC AGRICULTURE in the UAE and Qatar means just about everything needs to be flown in.

    They do an excellent job considering nothing is local, but I also find the food scene overly focused on style and pomp (that under-delivers) for my liking.

    Israel is significantly more interesting from a culinary standpoint. Both for its cultural cuisine mashups *and* because it has locally grown, delicious things.

    -G

  21. El Al has been consistently one of the worst airlines in terms of plane offering and amenities. Service has always been good, even on the low cost flights. What really bothers me with this airline is their poor loyalty plan…. You could do roundtrips between Israel and the U.S all year and never get an upgrade!

    Israel is indeed a great touristic destination. Hard for me to say that objectively, as I’m visiting there since childhood and have family, but as a lot of other folks said – it’s just a really, really, genuine place. The exact opposite of the U.S in the best way imaginable.

  22. El Al is really using Ben’s trip report as positive marketing. They just happen to put their head of FA’s onboard his flight? Obviously some arrangements were made so he would get preferential treatment. This would probably explain why his security experience was also seamless.

  23. Ugly brown color. Why couldn’t ELAL have the seats in blue?
    That brown makes the airline look dated

  24. Lucky, let me help you get the facts right. El Al’s B789 business seats look nothing like United’s B77W Polaris seats. El Al’s B789 business class seats are based on Recaro CL6710 while United’s B77W Polaris seats are based on Zodiac’s Optima. The similarity between these two seats stops at the fact that they are both lie-flat seats and installed in an aircraft.

  25. Please remove the ridiculous, offensive posts from “Credit” and “Debit” from November 13 referring to what size “boobs” they (really he, since they’re the same person) enjoy watching on the beach. I mean for God’s sake. I don’t know whether he’s mentally ill or just obsessed with Ben, but his bizarre posts on every single article are tiresome.

  26. Hi Ben,

    it seems that Lufthansa is going with the same seat for their long-haul business class (on the 777-9 in 2020) that El Al has used. Which means “Polaris style” direct aisle access, yet Lufthansa just published renderings of 1-2-1 / 1-1-1 layout on their social media accounts. It looks fantastic.

    Learn more over here:

    https://twitter.com/lufthansaNews
    http://www.vielfliegertreff.de/lufthansa/105964-lufthansa-aktualisiert-business-class-mit-der-boeing-777-9-a-9.html

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