Last week El Al confirmed that they will fly nonstop between Chicago and Tel Aviv. I’ve long said that the route seems tailor made for the smaller 787-8 that El Al will be receiving starting later this year. El Al is slated to receive a total of 4 of the 787-8s and 17 of the larger 787-9s.
And sure enough, El Al has now announced that the following routes will get the 787-8:
- Toronto, with 3 weekly flights starting 11/17/19.
- Boston, with 3 weekly flights starting 12/15/19.
- Paris, with 2 weekly flights starting 12/16/19 and a 3rd weekly flight starting 3/29/20.
- Chicago, with 3 weekly flights starting 3/22/20. Starting 3/29 El Al currently has a mix of 787-8 and 787-9 service planned, though it will likely be decided according to market demand.
- San Francisco, with 3 weekly flights starting 3/30/20.
- Mumbai, with 1 weekly flight starting 4/2/20
El Al’s 787-8 will have 20 business seats, 35 premium economy seats, and 183 economy seats, for a total of 238 seats. For the sake of comparison, United’s 787-8 has 36 business seats, 70 economy plus seats, and 113 economy seats, for a total of 219 seats in a more premium heavy configuration. American’s 787-8 has 28 business seats, 60 main cabin extra seats, and 138 economy seats, for a total of 226 seats.
El Al’s 787-9 has 32 business seats, 28 premium economy seats, and 222 economy seats, for a total of 282 seats.
Clearly, El Al’s premium economy is doing quite well as it grows from 9.9% of their 787-9 cabin to 14.7% of their 787-8 cabin. That comes at the expense of business class, which shrinks from 11.3% of the 787-9 cabin to just 8.4% of the 787-8 cabin.
That may make business class award tickets even harder to come by on 787-8 routes.
Speaking of which, don’t forget that Matmid points will be devalued on Monday, though you’ll still be able to use Qantas points for travel on El Al at a great value, especially when there’s a Citibank transfer bonus.