El Al, Israel’s flagship carrier, is respected throughout the industry for its hardline approach to security. With bulletproof cockpit doors, anti-missile systems and marshals on every flight, many choose to fly El Al as the safest way to get to Israel.
Unfortunately, El Al is not known for having a cutting edge premium cabin. The airline’s Business Class is angled in a 2-3-2 setup and its First Class isn’t even as nice as most airlines’ current Business Class these days.
Well, that may all be about to change.
El Al is awaiting delivery of 15 new Boeing 787 airplanes, the first of which are expected to arrive mid-2017. Tonight, details are emerging about a potential reconfiguring of El Al’s cabins with the arrival of these planes, getting rid of First Class and adding in Premium Economy.
Dan’s Deals reports that El Al’s 787-9, which will enter service later this year, will have 32 Business Class seats, 28 Premium Economy seats, and 222 Economy seats. These stats are confirmed by a change of aircraft equipment showing up online on the Tel Aviv to Los Angeles route for September 2. Instead of showing the usual 777-200, a 787-9 is loaded, with fare classes completely different from El Al’s normal cabins.
El Al getting rid of First Class shouldn’t be too shocking. El Al is the only carrier offering First Class between Israel and North America, and it’s an incredibly dated product. The potential of Premium Economy being added to the market is exciting, for sure.
But most exciting is the seat map showing for Business Class on this single flight on September 2.
From the looks of it, El Al will fit its new Dreamliners with the same reverse herringbone flat-bed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration that can be found on Cathay Pacific, Air Canada, and many other airlines.
This is the best Business Class product widely available on the market today, offering direct aisle access to all passengers and semi-private flat beds, and would be a huge step up for El Al. Significantly, United is set to start flying new 777-300ERs with its new Polaris seats to Tel Aviv from Newark later this year, so El Al would be smart to up its game right about now.
Now, this is all very speculative, of course. And El Al still needs to invest seriously in its soft product (service). And El Al is still a terrible redemption opportunity and useless for earning miles.
But progress is progress, right? And it looks like we’ve got some big progress coming to the Israeli skies soon.