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Category Archive for 'El Al'

El Al’s 787s Will Have Premium Economy And Direct Aisle Access Business Class, But No First Class

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

2 years ago I wrote about El Al’s 787 order,

“Currently El Al operates ancient business and first class cabins.  The business class seats don’t each have direct aisle access like Air Canada, Delta, and USAirways all offer.  They operate the only “first class” between North America and Tel Aviv, but the seats are made of faux-leather and they too don’t each have direct aisle access.

Hopefully a new aircraft will bring new premium class seating for El Al that does include direct aisle access for every seat.

The vast majority of airlines don’t operate 3 cabin first class on the 787 and I wouldn’t be surprised to see El Al jettison it as well.”

And that’s exactly what happened.

El Al is configuring their 787s with reverse herringbone business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration where the middle seats are angled in towards each other. Each seat will have direct aisle access and should be comparable to the excellent business class seats used by American and Cathay Pacific.

Of course that means El Al’s 787 business class will be a much better seat than El Al’s current first class seat.

So it’s not a surprise that El Al won’t equip their 787s with first class. That leaves British Airways and Korean as the lone airlines with true first class service into Tel Aviv.

Premium economy will be in a 2-3-2 configuration while economy minus will have a 3-3-3 configuration.

El Al’s 787-9 will have 32 business class seats, 28 premium economy seats, and 222 coach seats. It will enter service later this year.

Kudos to El Al for making the right decision for the 787’s seating configuration.

Now, let’s talk about your labor issues, mileage program, and website functionality 😉

HT: yandmk and chff, via DDF

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Report: El Al Will Cease Wet-Lease Flights!

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

Update, 12/4: El Al and their pilots have now signed an agreement to end wet-lease flights, shorten flight times, raise pilot salaries, and end the current labor conflict.


Originally posted on 11/27:

El Al has been under heavy labor strife of late with lots of cancelled and heavily delayed flights.

Pilots blame the company’s use of wet-leased aircraft where they outsource their flights to Spanish or Portuguese carriers. Customers have not been happy to buy tickets on El Al, only to wind up on other airlines.

Arutz Sheva is reporting that El Al and their pilots have come to a preliminary agreement where pilots will receive a pay raise and El Al will end their wet leases. Pilots will also agree to shorter breaks when abroad and to fly on shorter routes that will shorten flight times by as much as 45 minutes between NYC and Tel Aviv, as apprently they have been taking longer routes in order to increase their hours on the clock.

Hopefully the agreement will be signed shortly and the service disruptions will quickly come to an end.

Now if only they would fix their frequent flyer program, Matmid…

HT: Chaikel

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El Al Waiving Cancellation And Change Fees

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

El Al has been rocked with labor issues over the past week. Many flights have been moved to their wet lease operators, while others have been cancelled or delayed up to 18 hours.

El Al is now allowing refunds on flights booked through 11/30. They will also waive change fees, but if the new flight is more expensive then the fare difference will apply.

HT: Chaikel

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Are El Al’s Wet Leasing Practices Going To Cause A Strike?

Sunday, November 13th, 2016

For the past couple of years El Al has been wet-leasing planes from other airlines to cover their routes. This has led to people assuming they will fly on an El Al operated airplane and crew to be flown by Spanish airline “Privilege Style” and Portuguese airlines “Hi Fly” and “Euro Atlantic Airways.”

Dozens of readers have sent me horror stories about these airlines and I’ve made several posts about the situation. The bottom line is that if you want to fly nonstop to Tel Aviv and know what airline you’re actually flying on, you should book travel on Delta or United.

At any rate, El Al has cancelled tonight’s Tel Aviv-Newark and tomorrow’s Newark-Tel Aviv flight. They will offer refunds, but they write that they will not offer alternate flight options.

Globes is reporting that a full strike is likely within the next week in protest of El Al’s wet-leasing. El Al is blaming their pilots for tactics that have forced them to outsource their flying to the Iberian carriers. The pilots blame El Al for charging passengers a premium while shifting them onto low cost carriers that cost El Al far less than flying their own aircraft and employees.

Yup. It’s just another day at El Al.

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El Al Miami-Tel Aviv Service Will Resume In 2017

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

El Al announced that they will resume service from Miami nonstop to Tel Aviv next year. They last operated that route in 2008.

El Al will be receiving their new 787s starting in the 3rd quarter of 2017 and it seems likely that they would operate on the route.

For those keeping score at home that means that flights between North America and Tel Aviv in the summer/fall of 2017 should look like:
Boston: 3 weekly flights on El Al.
JFK: 7 weekly flights on Delta, 16 weekly flights on El Al.
Los Angeles: 5 weekly flights on El Al.
Miami: Unknown number (Likely between 3-6) of weekly flights on El Al.
Newark: 14 weekly flights on United, 6 weekly flights on El Al.
San Francisco: 7 weekly flights on United.
Toronto: 7 weekly flights on Air Canada, 4 weekly flights on El Al.

I wrote earlier this year that Chicago and Miami would be up next for Tel Aviv service. Now it’s only a question of whether El Al or United will be the airline to operate a Chicago-Tel Aviv route.

HT: jaywhy, via DDF

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An El Al Seat Swap Story That Didn’t Make Me Cringe

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

I’m used to cringing while reading story after story of Haredi men refusing to fly unless the women sitting next to them are forcibly moved to another seat.

The stories never make much sense to me. Surely they must be the exception to the rule or else we would hear about them far more often, no?

Why aren’t these people asking others to trade with them, why are they asking for their seatmate to be moved? Why is the onus on having the person next to you moved rather than on yourself? And is it really that difficult to avoid touching your seatmate? If it’s going to be a big deal, then reserve an aisle seat, splurge for a 2nd coach seat, or upgrade to business class rather than make international headlines for delaying a flight and causing a ruckus. Personal stringencies shouldn’t be affecting other people negatively and with a little homework beforehand it can all be avoided.

At any rate this story posted to the DansDeals Facebook Group brought a smile to my face as well as hundreds of others. A little tolerance and the ability to see the forest through the trees goes a long way.

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El Al Matmid Discounted Coach And Business Class Award Tickets To/From Tel Aviv

Friday, August 26th, 2016

El Al Matmid Discounted Coach Class Award Tickets To/From Tel Aviv

El Al Matmid Discounted Business Class Award Tickets To/From Tel Aviv

El Al is offering discounted coach and business class award tickets to select cities that can be found in the link above.

Awards are only discounted for “Executives,” but it’s very easy to become an executive.  A transfer of just 5,000 AMEX points from the US AMEX Membership Rewards program to El Al’s Matmid program will earn you executive status for a year. Points transfer instantly from AMEX to El Al, though it takes about a day after the transfer for the executive status to take effect on your El Al Matmid account.

-Note that transferred points expire after 36 months and can’t be extended with activity.

-Discounted awards are also available between Tel Aviv and Europe, South Africa, and the Far East.

-These awards must be booked by 9/30.

-Travel must begin by 9/30, though return travel can be completed at any time.

North America coach sale (You are able to fly one-way for half the miles listed below)
-Toronto-Tel Aviv is 1,300 Matmid points+$218 round-trip. That’s 65K AMEX points or a 15K AMEX point discount.
-NYC-Tel Aviv: 1,380 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 69K AMEX points or a 11K AMEX point discount.
-Boston-Tel Aviv: 1,430 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 71.5K AMEX points or a 8.5K AMEX point discount.
-Los Angeles-Tel Aviv: 1,780 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 89K AMEX points or a 11K AMEX point discount.

North America business class sale (You are able to fly one-way for half the miles listed below)
-Toronto-Tel Aviv is 3,380 Matmid points+$218 round-trip. That’s 169K AMEX points or a 31K AMEX point discount.
-NYC-Tel Aviv: 3,500 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 175K AMEX points or a 25K AMEX point discount.
-Boston-Tel Aviv: 3,600 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 180K AMEX points or a 20K AMEX point discount.
-Los Angeles-Tel Aviv: 4,070 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 203.5K AMEX points or a 21.5K AMEX point discount.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

To translate Matmid rates into AMEX rates, just multiply the Matmid requirement by 50.

-American Express Membership Rewards points can be earned from credit cards like The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card or The Amex EveryDay Card.

The Everyday Preferred card awards 1.5 points per dollar everywhere, 2.5 points per dollar on Uber, 3 points per dollar on gas, and 4.5 points per dollar on groceries if you make 30 transactions per month. It has a $95 annual fee.

The EveryDay card awards 1.2 points per dollar everywhere and, 2.2 points per dollar on Uber, and 2.4 points per dollar on groceries if you make 20 transactions per month. It’s the only no annual-fee card that can directly transfer points into miles.

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from consumer charge cards like the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express, and from business charge cards like the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Charge Card or The Business Platinum Card. 

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Have You Purchased An El Al Flight And Wound Up On A Privilege Style Airplane?

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Update, 6/2: El Al has just announced that their flights between Toronto to/from Tel Aviv will be exclusively flown by Privilege Style from today through 8/31. These flights have recliner-only business class seats and no premium economy seating.

I’ll update this post if these flights spread to other North American cities.


Update, 1/14: Commenters below share their experiences on Privilege Style, which range from mediocre to horrific. The most worrying one is from this commenter who wasn’t allowed to use their FAA approved carseat during takeoff and landing, a clear violation of FAA policy.

While some people have tried to be accommodated on an El Al operated flight and been refused, others have been able to be moved to another flight, so definitely keep trying until you get an El Al rep wiling to move you.

The OU has also released the following statement:
“The El-Al meals from New York are certified in the commissary only, but due to the way they are served, it is recommended to order a Regal (Mehadrin) Meal. The Orthodox Union does not certify the planes. This applies both to El-Al and Privilege Style operated planes.”


Originally posted on 1/12:

Due to “operational constraints” El Al has Spanish airline “Privilege Style” flying and operating a number of El Al flights between the US and Tel Aviv. That means you fly on a Privilege Style plane operated by Privilege Style flight attendants and pilots who are assisted by some El Al personnel. In industry terms this is called a “wet-lease”.

El Al had been using these planes to fly to select cities in Europe this past summer.

El Al says they are notifying passengers via SMS if they are going to fly on Privilege Style instead of El Al.

Privilege Style planes do not have premium economy seating, so you’ll have to request a refund if you paid for that.

If you do normally eat the regular Rabanut kosher meal on El Al, I’d definitely opt for the mehadrin meal if you’re flying on these flights. Well, I’d recommend that even on El Al aircraft as I’ve heard that the crew uses the ovens for their own food, but that definitely applies for Privilege Style flights.

El Al used to have a page on their site about this here, but they have taken down the page. Luckily Google has a long memory and you can view the page here.

Here is a list of upcoming 767 flights between Boston and Tel Aviv that will be operated by Privilege Style. The Privilege Style 767 is a former LOT Polish aircraft that was retired by them a few years ago. It has no seatback entertainment.

And here is a list of upcoming 777 flights between JFK or Newark and Tel Aviv that will be operated by Privilege Style.  The Privilege Style 777 is a former Asiana aircraft.

Those lists are subject to change, so other flights may be impacted as well.

Have you been on Privilege Style flight? Let us know how it went in the comments!

HT: MarktMan, via DDF

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El Al Matmid Discounted Coach And Business Class Award Tickets To/From Tel Aviv

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

Update: El Al has extended this deal for tickets booked through 5/31.


Originally posted on 3/29:

El Al Matmid Discounted Coach Class Award Tickets To/From Tel Aviv

El Al Matmid Discounted Business Class Award Tickets To/From Tel Aviv

El Al is offering discounted coach and business class award tickets to select cities that can be found in the link above.

Awards are discounted further for “Executives” and it’s very easy to become an executive.  A transfer of just 5,000 AMEX points from the US AMEX Membership Rewards program to El Al’s Matmid program will earn you executive status for a year. Points transfer instantly from AMEX to El Al, though it takes about a day after the transfer for the executive status to take effect on your El Al Matmid account.

Note that transferred points expire after 36 months and can’t be extended with activity.

North America coach sale:
Toronto-Tel Aviv is 1,300 Matmid points+$218 round-trip. That’s 65K AMEX points or a 15K AMEX point discount.
NYC-Tel Aviv: 1,380 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 69K AMEX points or a 11K AMEX point discount.
Boston-Tel Aviv: 1,430 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 71.5K AMEX points or a 8.5K AMEX point discount.
Los Angeles-Tel Aviv: 1,780 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 89K AMEX points or a 11K AMEX point discount.

North America business class sale:
Toronto-Tel Aviv is 3,380 Matmid points+$218 round-trip. That’s 169K AMEX points or a 31K AMEX point discount.
NYC-Tel Aviv: 3,500 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 175K AMEX points or a 25K AMEX point discount.
Boston-Tel Aviv: 3,600 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 180K AMEX points or a 20K AMEX point discount.
Los Angeles-Tel Aviv: 4,070 Matmid points+$345 round-trip. That’s 203.5K AMEX points or a 21.5K AMEX point discount.

You are able to fly one-way for half the miles.

Discounted awards are also available between Tel Aviv and Europe, South Africa, and the Far East.

These awards must be booked by 4/17.

Travel must begin by 6/30, though return travel can be completed at any time.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

To translate Matmid rates into AMEX rates, just multiply the Matmid requirement by 50.

-American Express Membership Rewards points can be earned from credit cards like The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card or The Amex EveryDay Card.

The Everyday Preferred card awards 1.5 points per dollar everywhere, 3 points per dollar on Uber and gas, and 4.5 points per dollar on groceries if you make 30 transactions per month. It has a $95 annual fee.

The EveryDay card awards 1.2 points per dollar everywhere and 2.4 points per dollar on Uber and groceries if you make 20 transactions per month. It’s the only no annual-fee card that can directly transfer points into miles.

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from consumer charge cards like the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express, and from business charge cards like the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Charge Card or The Business Platinum Card. 

The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee and a limited time increased signup bonus. It earns a generous 1.3 points per dollar everywhere, but you’ll need one of the membership rewards cards listed above to transfer points from that card into airline miles.

HT: ilherman, via DDF

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El Al Matmid Discounted Business Class Award Tickets To/From Tel Aviv

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

El Al Matmid Discounted Business Class Award Tickets To/From Tel Aviv

El Al is offering discounted business class award tickets to select cities that can be found in the link above.

Awards are discounted further for “Executives” and it’s very easy to become an executive.  A transfer of just 5,000 AMEX points from the US AMEX Membership Rewards program to El Al’s Matmid program will earn you executive status for a year. Points transfer instantly from AMEX to El Al, though it takes about a day after the transfer for the executive status to take effect on your El Al Matmid account.

Note that transferred points expire after 36 months and can’t be extended with activity.

Business class flights from Boston and Toronto to Tel Aviv are normally 4,000 points round-trip plus fuel surcharges. That’s 200K AMEX points.

With the sale:
Toronto-Tel Aviv is 3,100 Matmid points+$218 round=trip. That’s 155K AMEX points or a 45K AMEX point discount.
Boston-Tel Aviv: 3,500 Matmid points+$345 round=trip That’s 175K AMEX points or a 25K AMEX point discount.

You are able to fly one-way for half the miles.

Discounted awards are not available from NYC or Los Angeles, though you can use 4.5K BA Avios to fly from NYC to Boston or Toronto.

Discounted awards are also available between Tel Aviv and Europe, South Africa, and the Far East.

These awards must be booked by 12/31.

Travel must begin by 03/31, though return travel can be completed at any time.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

To translate Matmid rates into AMEX rates, just multiply the Matmid requirement by 50.

-American Express Membership Rewards points can be earned from credit cards like The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card or The Amex EveryDay Card.

The Everyday Preferred card awards 1.5 points per dollar everywhere, 3 points per dollar on Uber and gas, and 4.5 points per dollar on groceries if you make 30 transactions per month.

The EveryDay card awards 1.2 points per dollar everywhere and 2.4 points per dollar on Uber and groceries if you make 20 transactions per month. It’s the only no annual-fee card that can directly transfer points into miles.

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from consumer charge cards like the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express, and from business charge cards like the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Charge Card or The Business Platinum Card. 

The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee and a limited time increased signup bonus. It earns a generous 1.3 points per dollar everywhere, but you’ll need one of the membership rewards cards listed above to transfer points from that card into airline miles.

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El Al Matmid Discounted Coach Award Tickets To/From Tel Aviv

Monday, October 19th, 2015

El Al is offering discounted award tickets systemwide.

Awards are discounted further for “Executives” and it’s pretty easy to become an executive.  A transfer of just 5,000 AMEX points from the US AMEX Membership Rewards program to El Al’s Matmid program will earn you executive status for a year. Points transfer instantly from AMEX to El Al, though it takes about a day after the transfer for the executive status to take effect on your El Al Matmid account.

Note that transferred points expire after 36 months and can’t be extended with activity.

Winter travel from Boston, NYC, and Toronto normally costs 700 Matmid points each way (35K AMEX).

Outbound travel or one-way travel is valid between 11/01/15-03/31/16. On a round-trip award the return leg is valid anytime as long as the outbound leg occurs by 03/31.

Fuel surcharges and taxes add $160 for the USA-TLV segment and $194 for the TLV-USA segment.

NYC to/from Tel Aviv one-way rates:
Executives: 490 Matmid points (24.5K AMEX)
Non-Executives: 590

Boston to/from Tel Aviv one-way rates:
Executives: 400 (20K AMEX)
Non-Executives: 500

Toronto to/from Tel Aviv one-way rates:
Executives: 425 (21,250 AMEX)
Non-Executives: 525

Los Angeles to/from Tel Aviv one-way rates:
Executives: 785 (39,250 AMEX)
Non-Executives: 885

-All other cities are on sale as well. Here are some sample executive one-way rates between Tel Aviv and:
-Venice: 45
-Madrid: 80
-Geneva: 75
-London: 165
-Beijing: 250
-Johannesburg: 595

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

To translate Matmid rates into AMEX rates, just multiply the Matmid requirement by 50.

-American Express Membership Rewards points can be earned from consumer cards like The Amex EveryDay Credit Card , The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card, the Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Amex Platinum Card.

Business cards include The Business Gold Rewards Card and The Business Platinum Card.

HT: Drago, via DDF

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El Al: Toronto To Tel Aviv Nonstop For US$694 Round-Trip

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
Earn 3 points per dollar on airfare with the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Card or the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Card.

Bookable on Priceline. Tickets purchased today from Priceline arerefundable until 11:29pm the day after purchase. Please see this post for directions on how to cancel these tickets.

-Also Bookable on Orbitz. Orbitz tickets are refundable until 11pm ET the day after purchase.

-Limited seats are available on each date. Always search for 1 seat and then work your way up to the number of seats you need in order to book as many seats on sale as you can.

-A Saturday stay is required.

-You must originate in Toronto, fares originating in Tel Aviv are higher.

Valid Toronto-Tel Aviv dates:
November 29
December 1, 3, 6, 10, 13, 29, 31
January 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 24, 26, 28, 31
February 2, 4, 7, 9, 16, 23, 25, 28
March 1, 6, 8, 24, 27, 29, 31

Valid Tel Aviv-Toronto dates:
December 6, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 27, 31
January 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 24, 26, 28, 31
February 2, 4, 7, 9, 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 28
March 1, 3, 6, 8

HT: yankmk, via DDF

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El Al: Fly Between Boston, Los Angeles, NYC, Or Toronto And Tel Aviv From $761 Round-Trip

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
Earn 3 points per dollar on airfare with the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Card or the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Card.

Bookable on Priceline. Tickets purchased today from Priceline are refundable until 11:29pm the day after purchase. Please see this post for directions on how to cancel these tickets.

-Also Bookable on Orbitz. Orbitz tickets are refundable until 11pm ET the day after purchase.

-Limited seats are available on each date. Always search for 1 seat and then work your way up to the number of seats you need in order to book as many seats on sale as you can.

-Search NYC to include JFK and Newark in the search to find maximum valid dates.

-A Saturday stay is required.

Sale fares:

-Flights from Toronto to Tel Aviv are on sale for $761 round-trip.

-Flights to or from Boston and Tel Aviv are on sale for $798 round-trip.

-Flights to or from NYC and Tel Aviv are on sale for $814 round-trip.

-Flights from Tel Aviv to Toronto are on sale for $814 round-trip.

-Flights from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv are on sale for $958 round-trip.

-Flights from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles are on sale for $998 round-trip.

The valid dates below can sell out quickly, please post a comment if any dates don’t work for you so that they can be removed.

NYC (JFK or Newark)-Tel Aviv valid dates:
October 26, 27, 28, 29, 31
November 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30
December 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31
January 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31
February 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29
March 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31

Tel Aviv-NYC (JFK or Newark) valid dates:
October 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30
November 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29, 30
December 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 31
January 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 31
February 1 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29
March 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31

——————————————————————–
Los Angeles-Tel Aviv valid dates:
November 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 26
December 1, 3, 6, 8, 13, 15, 29, 31
January 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 24, 26, 28, 31
February 2, 4, 7, 9, 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 25
March 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 20, 22, 24, 28, 29, 30, 31

Tel Aviv-Los Angeles valid dates:
November 10, 12, 17, 22, 24, 26
December 3, 6, 8, 10, 15, 17, 20, 22, 29, 31
January 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 26, 28, 31
February 2, 4, 7, 9, 11, 14, 16, 18, 23, 25, 28
March 1, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 27, 28, 30

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El Al: Sorry We Don’t Match American Status, If Only You Had Continental Or USAirways Status…

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Disclaimer: I have absolutely nothing against El Al. I have everything against El Al’s incompetent management, which seemingly has not a clue about how to properly run a viable 21st century airline. Trust me, I’d love nothing more than to be singing El Al’s praises. Here’s hoping that El Al outfits their 787s coming in 2017 with a new generation business class so that I can do just that.

———————————————————————————————-

In May a reader shared a hysterical customer service email that they received from El Al and the El Al employee even got in on the action in the comments.

Time for another chuckle, no?

Professor Alan Teitleman shares his experience trying to get El Al to match his American status now that they will no longer be flying to Israel as of 01/05/16.

El Al responded to him yesterday with this wonderful example of their airline industry savvy (click to enlarge):

ly2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Should we tell El Al that USAirways merged with American already? Or that Continental was destroyed by a vandal named Jeff years ago?

Obviously this is a copy/paste job, but is this really the form that they send out to everyone who asks for their American status to be matched?

I do love the usage of the word “prestigious” to describe their industry worst loyalty program. Well, it was the worst in the industry before they lost their partnership with American and then severely devalued their already heavily fuel surcharged and exorbitantly expensive award chart. Oh, and they made all miles expire after 36 months regardless of activity just for kicks.

My post back then on the devaluation earned me a 90 minute interview with one of their loyalty program executives, but he insisted that the conversation remain off-the-record.

But where was it that “prestigious” was used before by El Al?

Ah yes, here it is!

EL AL offers its First Class customers an intimate, newly restyled cabin with a prestigious look. The seats have been redesigned and re-upholstered in a faux leather fabric, bestowing a fresh and elegant look to the seats and to the entire cabin. 

Because nothing says prestigious like faux-leather does!

I outlined a 7 step armchair CEO plan to turnaround El Al at the end of that same post from March 2014. Is there anyone home to actually implement any of them? All that’s happened since then are exacerbations of the same problems…

Sigh.

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El Al Matmid Discounted Coach And Business Class Award Tickets Between Boston And Tel Aviv

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

El Al is offering discounted award tickets between Boston and Tel Aviv.

Awards are discounted further for “Executives” and it’s pretty easy to become an executive.  A transfer of just 5,000 AMEX points from the US AMEX Membership Rewards program to El Al’s Matmid program will earn you executive status for a year. It takes about a day after the transfer for the executive status to take effect.

Note that transferred points expire after 36 months and can’t be extended with activity.

With this sale, executives will pay just 400 Matmid points one-way or 800 Matmid points for round-trip coach travel between Boston and Tel Aviv.  That’s equal to 20K AMEX points each way. Winter travel normally costs 700 Matmid points each way (35K AMEX).

Business class tickets will be 1,750 Matmid points one-way or 3,500 Matmid points round-trip. That’s equal to 87.5K AMEX points each way. Business travel normally costs 2K Matmid points each way (100K AMEX).

Travel is valid orignating in Boston or Tel Aviv.

Fuel surcharges and taxes add $160 for the BOS-TLV segment and $194 for the TLV-BOS segment.

Outbound travel is valid between 11/01/15-03/31/16. Return travel is valid anytime.

You can book travel between JFK or LGA and Boston for 4.5K BA Avios each way.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-American Express Membership Rewards points can be earned from consumer cards like The Amex EveryDay Credit Card , The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card, the Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Amex Platinum Card.

Business cards include The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card and The Business Platinum Card.
Points transfer instantly from AMEX to El Al.

HT: Millon Miler, via DDF

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Will El Al’s New 787 Dreamliners Finally Bring A New Generation Business Class Seat?

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

El Al announced today that they will be purchasing and/or leasing 15 Boeing 787-800 and 787-900 Dreamliner aircraft and options for another 13 aircraft, with deliveries starting in the first half of 2017.

The 787s will replace their gas-guzzling 747 and 767 aircraft.

That’s great news for struggling El Al, but the real question is what will be the future of their premium class cabins where they have been bleeding premium fare passengers to their competition?

Currently El Al operates ancient business and first class cabins.  The business class seats don’t each have direct aisle access like Air Canada, Delta, and USAirways all offer.  They operate the only “first class” between North America and Tel Aviv, but the seats are made of faux-leather and they too don’t each have direct aisle access.

Hopefully a new aircraft will bring new premium class seating for El Al that does include direct aisle access for every seat.

The vast majority of airlines don’t operate 3 cabin first class on the 787 and I wouldn’t be surprised to see El Al jettison it as well.

The 787 isn’t dreamy for passengers in coach on most airlines though. Airlines have been stuffing seats into them at levels that far exceeded Boeing’s original projections, making travel in the back of the bus rather uncomfortable.  Seating is typically 9 across on a plane that’s 7% narrower than a 777.  Air Canada flies a 787 from Toronto to Tel Aviv with a seat width in coach of just 17.3″ and a pitch of just 30-31″ compares to an 18″ width and 32″ pitch on El Al’s 747.

Hopefully El Al can figure out how to re-position themselves as a premium carrier with the launch of the Dreamliner. And while we’re wishing for things, a redesigned website would be great as well 😀

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El Al: We May Have Broken Your Stroller…But United Breaks Guitars!

Friday, May 29th, 2015

After speaking to the El Al Matmid executive that created the recent Matmid devaluation for more than 90 minutes, there’s not much that will surprise me about El Al.

But I had to chuckle when a DansDeals forum member sent me this email from El Al denying him compensation for his stroller 😀

“As for your assertion that United or any other airline would have handled your claim differently, I invite you to check out the viral video, “United Breaks Guitars”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo

(Click to enlarge image. Last names have been removed for privacy)

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In case you’re not familiar with the reference…

So El Al admits they don’t provide much customer service, but hey, at least we’re not United!.
Reminds me of the hastily made Cleveland tourism video, at least we’re not Detroit!

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El Al Matmid: NYC To Tel Aviv For 20K AMEX Points Plus $160

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Update, 05/06: The rates have gone back up to 800 Matmid points each way.
————————————————————————
El Al is back with yet another discounted award promotion for flights from NYC to Tel Aviv.

The normal summer rate from NYC to Tel Aviv is 1,000 Matmid points (50K AMEX points) each way plus fuel surcharges.
The summer rate for Executives from NYC to Tel Aviv is 800 Matmid points (40K AMEX points) each way plus fuel surcharges.

With this currently unadvertised promotion for “Executives,” a one-way flight from NYC to Tel Aviv is 400 Matmid points (20K AMEX points) plus $160 in taxes and fuel surcharges.
A round-trip from NYC to Tel Aviv is 800 Matmid points (40K AMEX points) plus $355 in taxes and fuel surcharges.

This promo appears to only be valid for one-way or round-trip coach awards that originate from NYC.  It did not work for awards originating from Boston, Los Angeles, Toronto, or Tel Aviv and it doesn’t work for business or first class awards.

It’s easy to obtain Matmid executive status.  A transfer of just 5,000 points from the US AMEX Membership Rewards program to El Al’s Matmid program will earn you executive status for a year. Your account should reflect executive member status within about 24 hours from the transfer. You can transfer points from AMEX to El Al instantly via this link.

Note that transferred points expire after 36 months and can’t be extended with activity.

-Departures valid between May 5 and July 18, 2015.
-Returns valid any time.
-The booking deadline for this promotion is currently unknown and can end at any time.

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American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

American Express Membership Rewards points transfer instantly to El Al and can be earned from credit cards like The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card or The Amex EveryDay Card.

The Preferred card awards 1.5 miles per dollar everywhere, 3 miles per dollar on Uber and gas, and 4.5 miles per dollar on groceries if you make 30 transactions per month. You can easily track how many transactions you have on the AMEX site and at the end of the month you can easily add credit to your Amazon account in as many transactions as you need to get up to 30 for that month.

The EveryDay card awards 1.2 miles per dollar everywhere and 2.4 miles per dollar on Uber and groceries if you make 20 transactions per month.

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from consumer charge cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express, and from business charge cards like the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Charge Card or The Business Platinum Card.

HT: Million Miler, via DDF

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El Al Matmid: Book Discounted Spring And Summer Award Travel With No Fuel Surcharges Until Sunday! NYC To Tel Aviv For 65K AMEX Points Plus $69 Round-Trip!

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

El Al Matmid Discounted Coach Awards

El Al has a very decent spring/summer travel sale for coach awards across the globe, including travel between Tel Aviv and North America, South Africa, Europe, or the Far East. Click on the link above for full details.

Awards are discounted further for “Executives” and it’s pretty easy to become an executive.  A transfer of just 5,000 points from the US AMEX Membership Rewards program to El Al’s Matmid program will earn you executive status for a year. You should have executive status within about 24 hours from the transfer.

Note that transferred points expire after 36 months and can’t be extended with activity.

With this sale, executives will pay just 650 Matmid points one-way or 1,300 Matmid points for round-trip travel between JFK, Newark, or Toronto and Tel Aviv.  That’s equal to 65,000 AMEX points round-trip.  The normal summer price is 1,600 Matmid points (80K AMEX)

Tickets between Los Angeles and Tel Aviv for executives will be 750 points one-way or 1,500 points for round-trip travel. That’s equal to 75,000 AMEX points round-trip. The normal summer price is 2,000 Matmid points (100K AMEX)

But even better is that you’ll pay no fuel surcharges on these discounted awards! Normally those add $355, but with this sale you’ll pay just $69 tax on a round-trip flight!

-Valid for awards booked by May 3.
-Departures valid between May 1 and July 18, 2015.
-The return flight officially needs to be completed by July 31, but from searching it appears that the return can actually be done at any time at the discounted rate.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

American Express Membership Rewards points transfer instantly to El Al and can be earned from credit cards like The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card or The Amex EveryDay Card.

The Preferred card awards 1.5 miles per dollar everywhere, 3 miles per dollar on Uber and gas, and 4.5 miles per dollar on groceries if you make 30 transactions per month. You can easily track how many transactions you have on the AMEX site and at the end of the month you can easily add credit to your Amazon account in as many transactions as you need to get up to 30 for that month.

The EveryDay card awards 1.2 miles per dollar everywhere and 2.4 miles per dollar on Uber and groceries if you make 20 transactions per month.

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from consumer charge cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express, and from business charge cards like the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Charge Card or The Business Platinum Card.

HT: Million Miler, via DDF

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El Al Matmid Discounted Award Tickets

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

El Al Matmid Discounted Coach Awards

El Al has a pretty decent sale for coach awards across the globe, including travel between Tel Aviv and North America, South Africa, Europe, or the Far East.

Awards are discounted further for “Executives” and it’s pretty easy to become an executive.  A transfer of just 5,000 points from the US AMEX Membership Rewards program to El Al’s Matmid program will earn you executive status for a year.

Note that transferred points expire after 36 months and can’t be extended with activity.

With this sale, executives will pay just 400 points one-way or 800 points for round-trip travel between JFK, Newark, or Toronto and Tel Aviv.  That’s equal to 40,000 AMEX points round-trip.

Tickets between Los Angeles and Tel Aviv for executives will be 500 points one-way or 1,000 points for round-trip travel. That’s equal to 50,000 AMEX points round-trip.

Fuel surcharges and taxes add $355 round-trip from the US to Tel Aviv, but they add only $183 USD ($228 CAD) to round-trip tickets from Toronto to Tel Aviv.

-Valid for awards booked by March 19.
-Tickets between the US and Tel Aviv are valid for departures between April 19-May 31. The return officially needs to be completed by July 18, but from searching it appears that the return can actually be done at any time at the discounted rate.
-Tickets between Toronto and Tel Aviv (and tickets between Tel Aviv and the rest of the world) are valid for departures between April 19-June 30. The return date also appears to be discounted for travel at any time.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-American Express Membership Rewards points can be earned from consumer cards like The Amex EveryDay Credit Card , The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card, the Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Amex Platinum Card.

Business cards include The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card and The Business Platinum Card.
Points transfer instantly from AMEX to El Al.

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Massive El Al Matmid Devaluation Effective 02/10/15

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Update: Today is the final day to transfer points from AMEX to El Al that won’t expire.  Effective tomorrow transferred points will expire after 3 years.

Additionally today is the final day to book tickets under the current award chart.

Changes will probably occur at 5pm EST today, which is midnight Israel time.

——————————————————————————————-

Originally posted on 11/10/14:

El Al has the industry’s worst frequent flyer program and is coming off a broken partnership with their only worthwhile airline partner, American.

They charge $350 in fuel surcharges and fees for North America tickets even though their competition in the US does not charge those fees.

They fly first class in a configuration that is significantly behind the business class offered by Air Canada, Delta, and USAirways that offer direct aisle access to every passenger.

So what do they do next?
Announce some sort of goodwill to win over the hearts and minds of their target market once again?

Nah. They announce a humongous devaluation to their industry-trailing program.

As part of it members will be split into executives and non-executives.  Executives will include El Al elite members as well as non-elites living outside of Israel who have transferred at least 100 points to Matmid (5,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points) in the past 12 months from non-Israeli credit cards. Israeli members who have a fly card or fly card premium credit card also get the Executive member rates.

I have nothing against El Al, but this is just downright embarrassing.  Compare this to ANA’s changes where a round-trip ticket to Israel costs just 60K in coach or 90K in business.

Or Flying Blue where a round-trip coach ticket is 25K points with a stop or 50K points nonstop. Or Alitalia where 80K points is enough for round-trip business class to Israel.

See other rates for travel to Israel in Ultimate Israel Mileage Award Chart.

Here are some of the lowlights:

1. Significantly worse expiration policy.

El Al has long had a strict 3 year expiration on points earned from flights, but points earned from credit cards and the like have never expired. Effective 02/10/15 points earned from credit cards and other partners will expire after 3 years, regardless of activity.
Points that are transferred by 02/09/15 won’t expire.

2. Coach awards get more expensive.

Currently a coach ticket from New York or Toronto to Tel Aviv is 1,400 Matmid points (70K AMEX points) round-trip and a ticket from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv is 1,800 Matmid points (90K AMEX MR points)

Effective for reservations made on or after 02/10/15 there will be different rates for different seasons.

Non-executives:

In the winter (which runs this year from 02/10/15-03/24/15 and 11/01/15-12/31/15) tickets from Toronto will cost 1,600 Matmid points (80K AMEX MR points), tickets from NYC will cost 1,800 Matmid points (90K AMEX MR points), and tickets from LA will cost 2,000 Matmid points (100K AMEX MR points).

In the summer (which runs this year from 03/25/15-10/31/15) tickets from Toronto will cost 1,800 Matmid points (90K AMEX MR points), tickets from NYC will cost 2,000 Matmid points (100K AMEX MR points), and tickets from LA will cost 2,200 Matmid points (110K AMEX MR points).

Executives:

In the winter (which runs this year from 02/10/15-03/24/15 and 11/01/15-12/31/15) tickets will remain as they are priced currently.

In the summer (which runs this year from 03/25/15-10/31/15) tickets from NYC and Toronto will cost 1,600 Matmid points (80K AMEX MR points) and tickets from LA will cost 2,000 Matmid points (100K AMEX MR points).

3. Business class awards get more expensive.

Currently a business class ticket from New York or Toronto to Tel Aviv is 3,000 Matmid points (150K AMEX points) round-trip and a ticket from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv is 4,000 Matmid points (200K AMEX MR points)

Non-executives:

Effective for reservations made on or after 02/10/15 tickets from Toronto or NYC will cost 4,500 Matmid points (225K AMEX MR points) and tickets from LA will cost 5,000 Matmid points (250K AMEX MR points).

Executives:

Effective for reservations made on or after 02/10/15 tickets from Toronto or NYC will cost 4,000 Matmid points (200K AMEX MR points) and tickets from LA will cost 4,500 Matmid points (225K AMEX MR points).

4. First class awards get more expensive.

Currently a first class ticket from New York to Tel Aviv is 5,000 Matmid points (250K AMEX points) round-trip and a ticket from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv is 5,400 Matmid points (270K AMEX MR points)

Non-executives:

Effective for reservations made on or after 02/10/15 tickets from NYC will cost 7,000 Matmid points (350K AMEX MR points) and tickets from LA will cost 7,500 Matmid points (375K AMEX MR points).

Executives:

Effective for reservations made on or after 02/10/15 tickets from NYC will cost 6,500 Matmid points (325K AMEX MR points) and tickets from LA will cost 7,000 Matmid points (350K AMEX MR points).

5. Fuel surcharges remain the same, but points required to waive them go up.

Fuel surcharges, taxes, and fees will continue to add about $350 onto El Al’s “free” tickets, but effective 01/01/15 you will need to use more points if you want to reduce the fuel surcharges.

6. New earning tables.

Until 02/09/15 you will earn 100 points for a round-trip discounted paid coach ticket between Tel Aviv and NYC/Toronto, 400 points for a round-trip discounted paid business, and 800 points for a discounted first class ticket .

Non-executives:

Effective 02/10/15 you will only earn 80 points in coach and 360 points in business. First remains 800 points.

Executives:

Effective 02/10/15 you will earn 96 points in coach, 432 points in business, and 960 points in first.

7. Additional free checked baggage costs more points.

Until 02/09/15 you can redeem 230 points for a 2nd free bag. Effective 02/10/15 you will need 300 points.

8. Upgrades cost more points.

The cost to upgrade to a preferred coach seat for NYC-Tel Aviv goes up from 199 to 299 points.

The cost to upgrade to a business class seat with coach service for NYC-Tel Aviv goes up from 900 to 1,350 points

The cost to upgrade to a first class seat with business service for NYC-Tel Aviv goes up from 950to 1,800 points

The cost to upgrade to an economy plus coach seat for NYC-Tel Aviv goes up from 300 to 450 points.

HT: damaxer91, via DDF

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El Al Announces New Service Between Boston And Tel Aviv

Monday, November 10th, 2014

El Al has announced that Boston will be their first new North American city to be launched in years.

There will be 3 weekly flights effective June 2015.

Boston is of course a JetBlue hub, so people will be able to connect from Boston across the JetBlue network thanks to the new JetBlue codeshare agreement.  Unfortunately you can’t earn JetBlue points for El Al flights and you can’t redeem JetBlue points for El Al flights, though perhaps that will change in the future.

Hopefully we will hear from American that they are launching JFK and Miami service and from United that they are launching Chicago or San Francisco service to Tel Aviv as well 😀

In other news, El Al has also just announced a massive devaluation to their frequent flyer program, Matmid. I’m combing through those details now and will make a post on them shortly.

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JetBlue And El Al Announce Codeshare Relationship, Will It Lead To A Mileage Partnership?

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

On November 19th I made several predictions about the American-USAirways merger.

Several have already come true:
-The American OneWorld round-the-world award chart was killed
-USAirways started collecting fuel surcharges on British Airways and has already killed some off-peak awards.
-American and El Al are ending their codeshare and frequent flyer partnership agreement.
-And now JetBlue and El Al will begin a codesharing agreement, as predicted last November as well,

“Beware that El Al may decide to sever its relationship with American if they become a competitor and you may no longer be able to use American miles on El Al. Though if El Al would do that they would lose codeshare access to other US cities that they get from American though they can always set one up with an airline like JetBlue.”

Then last week I wrote,

“I still think a JetBlue partnership may occur, but that will likely be a codeshare-only relationship and not a frequent flyer relationship.”

And that has come true as well. There is now a codesharing agreement in place, so El Al can place their flight number on JetBlue flights and vice versa. That means your itinerary purchased from El Al may have you flying on El Al flight 1500 from JFK to Fort Lauderdale, but it will be on a JetBlue airplane.

Unfortunately and as expected, there was no frequent flyer announcement.

Given that JetBlue and El Al have convoluted and proprietary mileage programs it will probably be very challenging to set up reciprocity even if there is a desire for there to be one.

I think my prediction from last November of American flights from Miami and JFK to Tel Aviv will come to fruition before an El Al-JetBlue frequent flyer partnership occurs. And that’s even with the long wait for that to happen due to the TWA fiasco that left their employees in Israel without a pension.

If we’re really lucky maybe we’ll even see a United nonstop flight from Chicago (or San Francisco?) to Tel Aviv.  More competition is always a good thing. I talked about those flight possibilities in 2012 with Brian Znotins, VP of United’s network strategy. He indicated that such flights could make sense after the launch of the 787-900, the first of which of just coming online now.  United has 26 of those on order which will come online within the next few years. Then again he (and other United execs at the DO) also told me that the Cleveland hub was profitable, something contradicted by his boss (and still being audited by the state of Ohio), so who knows…

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