El Al’s retrofitted 777s will take to the skies soon, with flights from Tel Aviv to Bangkok and Paris scheduled for August 1st. London flights are also expected soon.
Taking a selfie in June 2022 with El Al’s 777-200 4X-ECE, nicknamed “Sderot,” last June at Natbag. “Sderot” was delivered to El Al on 7/26/07 and was parked in July 2020 as the airline froze operations due to COVID.
The 777-200ER currently has 6 first class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration, 25 business class seats in a 2-3-2 configuration, 34 extra legroom space seats in a 3-3-3 configuration, and 204 coach seats in a 3-3-3 configuration. That’s a total of 279 seats.
The retrofitted 777-200ER (PDF mapping here) will have 28 business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, 32 premium economy in a 2-4-2 configuration, 63 extra legroom space seats in a 3-4-3 configuration, and 190 coach seats in a 3-4-3 configuration. That’s a total of 313 seats.
You can tell if you’re on a retrofitted 777 by looking at the seat map.
Here is the old 777:
And here is the retrofitted 777:
If you see a Premium cabin for sale, that’s a giveaway that’s either a Dreamliner or retrofitted 777:
The retrofit marks the official end of El Al’s First Class seating, which never had a competitive hard product on El Al, but was known for very good service.
The coach seats will be much tighter than the old 3-3-3 configuration, but that matches what most other airlines have done with the 777s in coach. It’s unfortunate, but was expected.
The business class and premium class seats will be similar to El Al’s Dreamliner. United has similar business class seats and theirs are bigger on the 777 than on the 787, so we’ll have to see if that’s also the case for El Al.
Interestingly, El Al’s Dreamliner business class has airbag seatbelts while the 777 business class will have shoulder strap seatbelts like United has on all their Polaris seats. I find airbag seatbelts to be uncomfortable, so that’s a plus. Unfortunately, El Al tells me that regulations still won’t allow for infant carseats in either their 777 or 787 business class seat.
The plane will have the Dreamliner’s entertainment system and WiFi installed as well. The 777s will also have USB-C charging.
While other airlines are adding more business class seats to retrofitted planes, El Al is not going in that direction, with the 777 having fewer business class than their 787-9 Dreamliner’s 32 business class seats. That itself is also premium-light compared to United’s 48 business class seats on the 787-9, which United is finding to be not enough as it is. United plans on adding many more business class seats on future 787-9 and 787-10 deliveries to keep up with premium cabin demand.
However, El Al will focus the 777 on Bangkok, London, and Paris, which see lower business class demand than the Dreamliner operated US routes.
What are your thoughts on the 777 retrofit?