El Al Announces Final 747 Flight Between North America And Tel Aviv; End Of First Class And Major Capacity Cut For JFK-Tel Aviv Flights

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El Al’s final 747 flight from Tel Aviv to North America will depart as El Al Flight 1 on Thursday, October 25 at 12:30am from Tel Aviv to JFK. The final North America 747 flight will return from JFK to Tel Aviv at 10:30am on the same day.

El Al will still operate 747s to Bangkok, though the El Al 747 fleet is on the way out.

747s around the world are being phased out in favor newer and more efficient airplanes. El Al’s 747-400s haven’t had a refresh in many years and have had their share of maintenance issues, but the Queen of the Skies is still a beautiful sight to see:

El Al 747s in Goose Bay


The first 787 will fly from JFK to Tel Aviv on 7/1. The final 777 between JFK and Tel Aviv will be on 9/13. After that point El Al will operate 2 daily 787s and a daily 747 until 10/25.

After 10/25, El Al will only operate 2 daily 787 flights for the winter season between JFK and Tel Aviv. That is the fewest number of seats between JFK and Tel Aviv in years and may serve to drive prices higher.

The 2 daily 787-9s between JFK and Tel Aviv will have a total capacity of 64 business class seats and 500 premium economy and economy seats.

This winter El Al is currently operating a 747 and a 777 between JFK and Tel Aviv. Those have a total capacity of 14 first class seats, 85 business class seats, and 586 economy seats.

El Al is shifting some of that capacity over to Newark where they will start operating 2 daily year-round 787-9 flights starting on 3/25 in order to do battle with United, whom El Al sees as their biggest competitor in the North America-Israel market. The 787s have a new premium economy class, but the business class has mixed reviews and there is no first class on El Al’s 787s.

El Al still plans on operating their older 767s to Boston and Toronto and their 777s with first class to Los Angeles and Miami.

El Al’s 787 strategy has been an interesting one. Most airlines have used the plane on longer routes that have less demand, but El Al will be moving their flagship NYC-Tel Aviv route to all 787s effective 10/26/18.

What do you make of El Al’s 787 strategy?

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53 Comments On "El Al Announces Final 747 Flight Between North America And Tel Aviv; End Of First Class And Major Capacity Cut For JFK-Tel Aviv Flights"

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I don’t think that I’ve ever been on an empty 747 flight from JFK to TLV. On the contrary, most flights are full to the max. I’m not sure why they’d lower capacity on such a high profit route. There is also a limit to how many people would pay such a high premium processing for such a mediocre airline


I was actually once on an empty 747 plane was full about to 200 passengers.


elal capacity cut in jfk could make an opportunity for american to launch jfk tlv


Does not make any sense to me. First class to Miami but not to NYC?
Reducing the capacity probably more reasonable. Since 787 are cheaper in maintenance and more fuel efficient it might cover $ lose in capacity and if the price goes up it will get even better.
Additionally, it might signal about upcoming ORD/WAS route since big chunk of the NYC traffic goes to those cities .


@ PM
Miami, South and Central America passenger’s are willing to pay $ for first class seats. Agreed, United will announce ORD-TLV flights.


El Al doesn’t look at it as a capacity cut. They’re just dividing their flights between JFK and Newark more evenly for the winter. In the summer season season I’m sure they will be adding an additional daily flight to JFK. In fact, the total capacity between TLV and the NYC area next winter will be higher than this winter. IMO, the title is misleading.


Dan, the head photo of the article could be a 747, doesn’t have to be a 787.

reb yid

Unfortunately this means longer flight times, as the 747 is faster. Well, unless it stops in Canada along the way. Now, if only they would open up more aeard space.


Dan, can you please advise the best option to book a group trip in October 2018 (NYC to TLV) ? Approx 20 in humanitarian group ….

I flew Delta in April 2017 and it was pricey …


WOW is your friend


About 9% of American Jews live in New York – most of them might prefer to fly from JFK, although if landing fees and other costs there drive fares up they might choose Newark. About 6% of American Jews live in New Jersey. Some near Philadelphia might prefer a connecting flight to JFK, but most would choose Newark. About 3% are in Connecticut: Would they prefer JFK, or Boston? It seems to me that for every three flights originating at JFK, there should be two from Newark considering only local boardings.

But the issue is where the other 82% of the country would prefer to connect. Take out the 6% who live in California and Florida, and might prefer Los Angeles or Miami, and that still leaves 74%. Newark is a hub for United (which, of course, competes on the Tel Aviv route). Delta and American have frequent service there also. Some websites report that immigration lines are shorter at Newark, for arriving passengers. So let’s split those passengers evenly, remembering you don’t have to be Jewish to fly El Al. That means Newark should have 43% of the traffic, and JFK 46%. And it looks like that is the airline’s objective.


@bob united has a hub in ewr to bring connecting traffic to their tlv flights elal has no partners in ewr so i dont understand any connecting traffic coming to their ewr flights mostly o&d


Assuming connecting passengers have no greater loyalty to El Al than to United, that’s true. A certain minority of connecting passengers might make a choice based on mileage plans. Most would probably favor United; some would favor El Al. What if I have enough miles to get me to the East Coast on United, but not across the Atlantic and Mediterranean? I’ll connect in Newark.


It is all about the seat. Both El Al and United squeeze the passengers on the 787 into tiny seats. The difference is the biz seats: United’s 6 abreast on the 787 is a pretty backward product, whereas El Al’s new 4 abreast with direct aisle access for each seat in the 787 is much more comfortable. The opposite is true for the 777: El Al’s angled “wedgie seats” on the 777-200 are miserable. United’s true Polaris seats on the 777-300 (currently operating between EWR and TLV on some, but not all flights) are great.


My wife and I live in Israel. We recently flew into JFK and out of Miami. Both flights were half empty. We bought the cheap seats and the entire back of the plane was laying flat due to everyone having a row to themselves. Also in Miami they offered to check any extra baggage free at the front check in desk (perhaps for weight as the flight was so empty?).


I hope DL makes a second run for an additional JFK flights. With the amount of Christian groups flocking to Israel, they can use the JFK feeder system from the south. Last few DL flights to TLV I took were full with about 75% not Jewish at all.


We live in LA. We fly United from SFO to TLV Polaris class. Nice seats. Kosher food ok, not great but we fly for comfort not food. Cheaper than EL AL. Nicer flight. Now I hear EL AL is starting a flight in October from SFO.


Dan: please let people know that new 787-9 are nothing but for the airline, to save money on fuel. The economy seats are terrible.


“The final 777 between JFK and Tel Aviv will be on 9/13”
Correct. However the 777 will be flying between TLV and EWR between Sep 14 and Oct 26 every Friday on the midnight flight LY27 and return MS LY26.


but nish oif shabbos geredt


Friday midnight, means arriving Friday early morning – not traveling on Shabbos….


It’s time to say goodbye to these planes.
I traveled a few times last few months the are old and shabby almost nothing works correctly, the seats are unbearable.

They were a very fleet when they were new.
Its time to move on.


From ElAl’s perspective, wouldn’t it make sense to retrofit some 777 and have a 3-4-3 econ config, new J and PE classes, and updated IFE? Then deploy 787 on the less dense LAX/BOS/MIA/YYZ flights.


I was at Everett/Paine Field yesterday spotting (way cool!!), EDD just came off the line yesterday and is awaiting first flight, with C just opposite it and one stall down. Tail and stripe painted but no titles yet.


I do t have a camera, only my Nexus 6p but if you zoom in on the photo in the link you’ll see them….


there was an article that Arika was starting to fly to Thailand this summer, maybe they will also start to fly to NY.
Supposedly the have some 330s coming to them……
Dan, whats your take?


EL AL could have replaced their current 747-400s with the 747-8, as Lufthansa and Korea Air have.

I fly to Israel monthly in business, sometimes 2-3 times a month. For ten years. Always EL AL.

Not after October’s last Queen of the Skies flight. I am moving my business to United.

EL AL should never have switched from the 747 to the “plastic plan” … the 787.