El Al To Add “Bed-Like” Seat In Business Class, Reupholster First Class Seats In “Prestigious” Plastic

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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.
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I’d like to officially welcome El Al to 1994.

Their business and first class are woefully behind the competition.  They have bled out business travelers that aren’t forced to fly on El Al to airlines like Air Canada, Delta, United, and USAirways that have high-quality lie-flat beds in business class.

So what do they do? They announced this week that they are finally upgrading their business and first class.

And how are they doing that?

 

EL AL is redesigning the look of its seats, enlarging the pitch between rows for the comfort of its Business Class passengers, and upgrading to “Bed Like” seats for a comfortable, more pleasant experience on flights to/from New York (JFK).

 

Yay. “Bed-like.” While many years ago every other major airline has upgraded their business class to true lie-flat beds, El Al will be making it more “bed-like”

At least 1 plane has been converted and reports are that the new “bed-like” is extremely hard and there’s an awkward gap between the top third and the middle cushion that makes it a literal pain in the back.  Plus it’s now harder to climb over your aisle seatmate.  Compare that to business class on Delta or USAirways where every seat has direct aisle access. Air Canada is launching 787 Dreamliner service to Israel in a few months and will offer state-of-the-art business class, also with every seat getting direct aisle access. That will leave United as the only other airline not offering all business class passengers direct aisle access, though at least they have true 180 degree flat business class seats.

El Al doesn’t miss the opportunity to say that they offer the only first class service between North America and Israel.  The problem with that statement is that their first class seat is not nearly as good as the business class offered by the other airlines.

So what are they proud to announce?

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. 

They are going to reupholster them in shiny new plastic and hope that people will line up to pay for them! And there’s nothing quite as prestigious as a faux-leather that offers practically no privacy.  Just look at all that shiny goodness:

It’s the sorriest looking 3 class international first class I’ve ever seen.

First class is being cut from 12 seats to 8 seats, probably because very few are paying for it anyway. They are also eliminating the first class bathrooms, so now first class passengers can prestigiously make their way into business class to use the bathroom.

Compare that to a real first class on a foreign carrier where they scrub down the entire bathroom after every first class passenger uses it.

Now people will say, but they have the best kosher food in the sky! I’ve got news for you:

1. People paying for business class care about the hard product, getting a good night’s sleep and privacy.  The business class on El Al’s competition offers far more privacy and comfortable seating than El Al’s first class.  And most offer direct aisle access so that you won’t be woken up in the middle of the night by your seatmate going to use the bathroom for the 5th time.

2. Bring a double wrapped meal from a restaurant or Pomegranate onboard and have the flight attendant heat it up for you and it will be way better than any rubbish served onboard an airplane.

While other airlines invest in actually improving their product so that people will want to pay for it, El Al has put lipstick on a pig.  Airlines live and die by their international premium cabin profits. The capital cost of new seats is nothing compared to the revenue gain of business passengers paying for flights.  To refurbish an extremely dated cabin so that it still is light years behind the competition. Are you guys kidding me?

Instead El Al is plowing money into a costly venture named “Up” to try to compete with European low-cost carriers.  It’s a losing battle as the new airline within an airline has the same high legacy costs that El Al has while they compete against airlines with ultra-low cost structures. Continental (Lite, 93-95), Delta (Song, 03-06), United (Ted 04-09), and USAirways (MetroJet 98-01) have all tried to create airlines to compete with the low-cost carriers and they’ve all failed miserably and shut down.  Airlines with high cost structures can’t compete on price with airlines that have ultra-low cost structures.  They need to compete on service and product, but seemingly nobody at El Al gets that.

Who in the world is in charge of making terrible decision after terrible decision at this airline?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

1. El Al doesn’t compete on price, service, or product right now. They need to figure out where to excel if they are going to survive.

2. Israel now pays for El Al’s security costs. Now is the time to tackle labor costs head-on. El Al has far too many employees and managers per aircraft that they own, far and beyond the worldwide average. The unions will be the real death of El Al unless they can be tamed.

3. El Al needs to invest in true 180 degree lie-flat seats in business class that have direct aisle access if they want to compete for business class passengers. They ought to ditch First Class just as everyone else already has and focus on making business class something that will sell itself instead of something travel agents push on people because El Al pays top dollar to them to get those seats filled.  If you’re going to keep First Class then make it something that people will actually pay for, offering the ultimate in privacy and comfort, not something that is worse than business class on most airlines.

4. The Matmid program needs to be scrubbed and redone from the bottom up. It’s confusing, it’s not rewarding, and it stinks. Hire an executive familiar with loyalty programs and how mileage programs have created billions of dollars of annual revenue for other airlines and make a program that everyone will want to earn miles with.

5. Outgoing CEO Eliezer Shkedi has said that the alliances were being anti-semitic and refused to allow El Al to join. Regardless of the claims veracity El Al can safely forget about alliances as they are slowly becoming things of the past anyway. Create strategic partnerships with more airlines and have it all tied into a new Matmid program that earns real miles like every other network carrier in the world. Ditch annoyance aspects like expiring points even with activity and fuel surcharges, and have robust partner options. People will then be happy to collect El Al miles while banks fill El Al’s coffers with cold hard cash. Airlines like American and United make all of their money from selling miles, the actual flying aspect loses money and exists only to sell more miles to the banks.  Perhaps El Al can take a page from their book.

6. The El Al website needs to thrown away and redone from the bottom up as well.  How is it possible that the flagship airline of such a high-tech country seems like it was designed as a 4th grade school project from 1994?

7. Hire Gordon Bethune to run your airline and turn it around the way he did for Continental 😀  OK, half kidding here, but seriously, hire someone in the airline industry to run your airline and loyalty program, not ex-military folk with no aviation or business background!  El Al’s CEO and CFO are both on their way out, now is the time to make a critically important hire.

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63 Comments On "El Al To Add “Bed-Like” Seat In Business Class, Reupholster First Class Seats In “Prestigious” Plastic"

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jonny

sad

tony c

Amen!

Moe

Well done Dan, I agree with absolutely everything here!! It makes me so nervous when travelers are so NAIVE to say I only fly (in business class) with EL AL. Never even tasted a normal airline!!

Grumpy

Can one bring doublewrapped food through security? Does it have to get X-rayed? (Serious questions)

Yitzy

Noticehow close the seats are together?? Imagine trying to sleep and ur neighbor is breathing write on you?? Or stretches his arm and wack’s u in the head…the seats look like a ply wood with a cushion

Phantomtech

Well said! I have flown numerous times to Israel in the past year and never once even checked or compared prices with ElAl, I am so over them. I usually fly with a European carrier with a stopover and recommend other people do the same. It makes for a much more pleasant experience.

Amir ben David

Looks like a dream

Joe

The first picture looks more like something you wheel into an ambulance.

sam

They should hire you dan!

Wenz

But Dan, tell us how you really feel!

Anonymous

@Joe: or like they will mummify you in it.:`%

Ripoff

Dan,

Speaking of flying to Israel and milage. Why is it cheaper mileage wise to fly jfk-hkg in business on Cathay than to fly coach to Israel?

levi

elal program is very good for people buying high class economy and can upgrade to business class for very little points
Also a lot of people will pay more to fly with elal first because they have the best security in the world and also because its a Jewish company so they have few things that help them very much.

Yehuda S

Dan you make some good points but you should really have sent the CEO a private email. It was not necessary to wipe the floor with them in public like this.

Dan

@Grumpy:
Of course.
Of course.

@Phantomtech:
Singapore Suites from JFK-FRA 😀

@Joe:
No joke…

@sam:
Lol. I’m good.

@Wenz:
😀

@Ripoff:
Because they can.

@levi:
Other airlines also charge very little to upgrade if you pay full fare coach and have better business class.

@Yehuda S:
DDF guys have met Shkedi and told him this to his face. He has his head in the sand just saying how they have the only first class and the best security, blah, blah, blah.

Besides both the CEO and CFO are going out so there really is nobody to talk to.

Jones

Dan,
I am a very frequent traveler and I fly all airlines that have nonstop service to Israel. Delta’s Business elite is the best of all but I find El Al’s business far better than United’s.

Here is my summary:
1. The business seat itself – Delta has really comfortable private lie flat seats with direct aisle access. El Al has close to lie flat (everyone on the plane snores – even with the angle flat, trust me), comfortable and very long seats. United has lie flat seats and a little to the harder side. Both airlines do not have direct aisle access.

2. Service – I must say that Delta really improved in their airport and in-flight service. El Al’s service is really good too. Their check in agents are really nice (Business passengers) and security agents are really cool. The in-flight service is really outstanding on El Al. United service stinks. The check in is not to bad but most of the flight attendants can make themselves like they don’t hear you when they are lazy to help you….

3. Lounges and food – El al has fantastic lounges in JFK and TLV that cannot be beat by United’s bannana lounge in EWR and Delta’s shabby lounge in JFK. The food on the plane is also very important for a kosher traveler. El al has fantastic food. You cannot compare dragging a supper from a take out (even if the food is great) than having a lounge packed with good kosher food as well as in flight.

4. Websites – El al by far the worst with Delta not very good either. United’s website is great indeed.

5. Mileage clubs – United is really good. El al is ok and Delta is really bad news. I see El al’s matmid no less than Lufthansa’s miles and more (Where you also pay heavy fuel surcharges…)
After all, every airline has its good and bad.

Dan, You are a very intellectual person and I believe you never flew elal. Be a sport and try it out yourself and you will see that there is a lot of good things about elal too.

Dan's the man

Dan, you’re right on! Although I will say when I flew El Al economy class last year the service was decent.

Dan's the man

Dan, about Grumpy’s questions is there ever an issue if the food contains liquid in it? Does TSA care about that? Like if you get Chinese food and it had sauce or even cream chese on a bagel? Thanks.

Joe

@Dan’s the man:
You can bring up to 100ml of liquid, don’t think your cream cheese sandwich contains that much

Hmmm...

Seriously? A little ironic of a complaint coming from you who never pays. No?
” Airlines live and die by their international premium cabin profits.”

Sal

@ dan ( I might be biased) but I think they should hire you to revamp the matmid program you know all the ins and out of every miles club that exists past and present

Dan's the man

@Joe: I know but the rule is that liquid must be in one of a container (100ml or less) in your zip bag. So my question remains. Does TSA care about some sauce or cream cheese in a carry on?

Dan

@Jones:
1. Try USAirways or the new Air Canada 787 seat. Will blow the NYC options out of the water.

5. Lufthansa at least can access Star Alliance awards and Lufthansa first class awards.
El Al points are basically just good for El Al and they have a hard expiration date.

You are correct that I never flew El Al. I’ve flown in Delta, United, and USairways business and never saw the reason to pay the premium to fly El Al either with way too many AA miles or paying a fuel surcharge with AMEX/El Al.

I heard about rumored upgrades and was hoping to try them out but this announcement was just a huge disappointment. Now I’m hoping to fly Air Canada for the first time on the 787.

@Dan’s the man:
No issue.

@Hmmm…:
Never pays?
Do you think airlines just give away things for free? The banks pay billions of dollars for those seats that probably would have gone out empty anyway.

Regardless the real money isn’t from me, it’s from real corporate travelers and millionaires.

And I’ve spoken to travel agents. Those guys have switched all of their flying to Delta for a far better experience. That’s even though El Al pays the travel agents a boatload to fill their own subpar business seats.

@Sal:
I’ve given them a nice bit of free advice to start with…

@Dan’s the man:
Container/ziploc? Never used that once in hundreds of flights and never had an issue.

srulky

@Sal: He doesn’t want to do that. If he did he’d have to use his knowledge to close up all the loophole and workarounds. Obviously he’d rather take advantage of mistakes. That’s a big part of this business 😉

Anonymous

@Dan: Glad to hear the small liquids in food aren’t an issue. The small container / zip lock bag is required for real liquids (shampoo, contact lens solution). I use this when I’m not checking baggage. Can easily get a weeks worth of liquid toiletries in those bags.

Shmuel

You are absolutely right. And yes, the best way to get results is to make sure people know the truth and understand what else is out there. Too many Jewish travelers have their heads in the sand about traveling to Israel on the “Jewish” airline. Even birthright has stopped using El-Al exclusively. I had the best flight of my life on Austrian’s newly updated biz class with real lie flat seats. I think they should hire you, but then you would be too busy and forget about all us little people 😉

Dan

@Anonymous:
Again, I have flown on hundreds and hundreds of flights with lots of small shampoos and liquids and never once used a freedom baggie.
Never had an issue.

Also if you’re flying with a baby you can bring any liquid you want.

@Shmuel:
Just booked a friend from TLV to JFK in Austrian business flying the week before Pesach with United miles. Great availability and great business class.
And of course I had him lock in several tickets with the old United chart so it was 60K instead of 80K 😀

Boidem

Great post, you see through everything. After this write up, which is very much read (ElAl knows this), i wonder if ElAl will contact you. 1.i can add to this post about their poor economy class as well. its seats are much closer to each other and feel narrower then United, USAirways. 2. in general,do you have a hard time getting a flight attendant to warm up your wrapped meals? tks

Harry

Thanks dan. Well said.

The problem is. Your not the first one writting about them. But let me tell tou one thing. Elal is one is the smallest airlines in the world. Your cant compare them to spend tht tupe of money to design a seat for less then 10 widbodys they use when the others do it for over 100 planes. Then why in ybe world should they redo their business cani. When their flight from toronto and lax fly overbooked everyday on paid business class seats in those old 1994 as you say seats? And dont forget they have the highest rate of full flights in tbe world. Almost every jfk flight gets full to capacity.

Dan

@Boidem:
Most flight attendants will heat up your own meals, especially in business class.

@Harry:
Huh?

Then can probably buy new 180 degree business class seats for $10,000-$15,000 each. That’s a one time expense that can last for a very long time.

Do you realize how quickly they can make that up when they’re charging $5,000 every day for that seat?

Also they just announced that their load factor was under 83% for Q4, so plenty of seats went unsold.
And they fill business seats by paying travel agents much larger commissions than the other airlines do so that they push their clients to fly El Al.
A better product like Delta’s sells itself.

Dovid Lefkowitz

I just got back yesterday from JFK-TLV-EWR on EL AL biz class.

As most everyone here is dumping on EL AL, here are a fewpositive thoughts (from someone who has actually flown in EL AL business class).

The lounges in JFK and TLV are very nice and all the food in the lounges is 100% kosher. I have spoken the Rav of EL AL, Rav Chayut, who is close with Rav Wosner shlita of Bnei Brak.

The service inflight was excellent and the special kosher meal served was very good and plentiful.

I also was able to sleep 8.5 hours on the way back on the 12:35 am flight to EWR in the biz class seat.

Security is legendary.

David

Big shame for ElAl, need to put a flight attendant near its “newly renovated seats” to shift your eyes on her rather on new seat…

Dan's the Man

@David: Speak for yourself. I didn’t shift my eyes.

Anonymous

@Dan’s the Man:
who are you kidding?

Koz

I don’t know about you, but I shifted my eyes to the male flight attendant on the left!
Now that’s a handsome gent…..😍

Isaac

I hope ElAl reads your post, the problem is their flights are full, so they don’t really care.

menashe

1. the seats in business class will be same as the old ones they are re up upholstery the seats and pulling out the pin which prevented the seat to lay flat and hitting the seat in front 2. the reason for less first class seats is because the old/new seats will be fully laid flat 3. they have one plane fully re fitted 4. they refurbish a plane once a week on shabbos when its not flying

Bittul Z'man

@menashe:

Regarding Item 4. Uh ok maybe this is a problem but question is do we make a protest and have the kids throw stones or if it is batul bishishim yemei bereishes.

CHULENT

Great write up dan if only they would listen, this reminds me of the joke they say in Israel that the only people that really know how to run the country drive taxis (the taxi drivers in isreal allways love to talk politics with their pasangers)anyway If they are mechalel Shabat we shouldn’t be flying ELAL all together after the story made famous by dans deals about the Malaysian airlines flight(just kidding),anyway the way i see it with all the airlines is that as long as the people on top get to take home their nice paychecks nothing will really change for the better, airlines are one of the very few industries that can report losses of billions of dollars every year and still stay in business,at least that’s the case with ELAL

zvi

I fly business jfk/tlv often. Delta has best seats. King David Lounge is OK in JFK, shabby in TLV but better than Dan Lounge. It would help your credibility on this issue Dan, if you flew ElAl, at least once. Please try, I’d like to hear your eye-witness comments.

Dan

I’ve flown Delta in business to TLV. Why do I need to fly a subpar product to know that it’s subpar?

Moshe Maeir

As someone who has flown Business in the past year, Lufthansa, Austrian, El AL, United and USAIR, heres my 2 cents.

1. Seats/Beds (#1 factor for me) USAIR was by far the best. A true lie flat bed. LH and Austrian are 2nd best, but coming on the TLV leg it is the economy with the middle seat empty.

2. Kosher Food – unless you are flying El AL or LH, bring your own

3. In flight service – Nobody was really exceptional but Austrian did shine.

4. I do like the LH main lounge in FRA and the old UAL lounge in EWR, both have big shower rooms. The TLV LY lounge is pretty good but in the rest of the world it is average or way below

5. Loyalty plan. Even after the cut I still find the Chase – United plan to be unbeatable. Masmid is not even in the race.

Gabi

@Dan

#1 You did not fly Delta to Israel in their new Business Elite seats…
#2 You keep on saying how bad El Al’s business is, so people are telling you to try it out to see that it is not as bad as you think. You keep on answering: why should I spend more miles for a worse product. But that is not true. Its not that more expensive with AA miles and also, you are an explorer and it seems to me that you like to take on a challenge, get on an elal plane to Israel and try it out. Be a sport. You wont regret it and even if yes you will know the pro’s and the con’s much more accuratly. I humbly think elals business class is a great experience and I would love to hear your opinion “after” you flew with them and experienced it.

Boidem

i am flying business 1st time to TLV. from Zurich to TLV business, is not flat beds? all europe cities to TLV are merely econimy + middle sit open?

Dan

@Moshe Maeir:
Yes, the USAir Envoy seat is very good. Especially if you can get a row with a good footwell.

@Gabi:
1. Actually I have. How would you know anyway??

2. I’ve read the awful reports on FT where people are saying the new version is even worse than the old.

I haven’t seen a single comment here praise the comfort of the bed.
The good notes are just about the food. Frankly, I could care less about airplane food. When I flew Singapore suites I brought food from Carlos And Gabbys. They heated it up for me and it was 1000x better than anything served on an airplane.

What I want is a good comfortable bed so I arrive refreshed. And direct aisle access with nobody climbing over me. El Al doesn’t offer that in business or first even though everyone besides United does that in business.

See the DDF thread, same responses to this new “upgrade” http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=39662

I would have loved to try El Al had they actually upgraded their seats. I have little interest to do so at this point.

@Boidem:
Zurich to Tel Aviv on Swiss should be flat bed unless they do a plane swap.
London to Tel Aviv on BA is also flat bed.

Boidem

Dan: its between austrian, swiss, lufthansa (FRA)as i have star alliance miles. all have flat bed? tks

Hershy

I have flown to and from Israel and within Europe some 20 times in the past year. All those flights have been in Business or First.

El Al service on the TLV to Kiev route is by far and away the best LY route; don’t ask me why but it is.

The El Al TLV-NYC service in Business is lousy and uncomfortable for a 12 hour journey. El Al First class is just a fraction better with the cabin staff trying hard to show that they are just as high class as you are.

Instead take LH via Frankfurt and go First over the Atlantic from/into EWR. The LH First class product is superb. On LH there is no seat that converts into a bed, either fully flat or nearly flat like on El Al. You get a seat, which is vastly better than El Al, with a bed next to it.

Flying directly from Tel Aviv into New York, Delta Business cannot be beaten. It is better than El Al and United. I have never taken US Air although I hear it is very comfortable.

A couple of months ago I flew Turkish from Istanbul to JFK and their Business Class beat El Al easily, not to mention the [now enlarged] Turkish CIP lounge at Istanbul.

Sadly Dan you hit every nail on the head with your analysis of El Al. It really is a third world airline. Don’t take anyone’s word for it, just look at the picture of the new plastic First Class seats.
One redeeming feature of El Al is the KD Lounge at Ben Gurion but even that is only in comparison to the Dan station waiting rooms, sorry lounges. El Al should take a look at the Turkish lounge at Istanbul and the BA Business Class lounges in Terminal 5 at Heathrow to see how a real lounge looks.
Or if they really want to get a shock go to the BA First Class lounge. Unlike the KD flagship lounge at BGN which offers cold snacks, in the BA lounge you can get a full hot kosher meal on demand. Kosher food is also available in the LH First Class lounge at FRA but only if ordered in advance.

Debbie

Sadly, we don’t usually take El Al. We use miles from another airline. However, we appreciate information and are not sure we should have been laughing so hard while reading the post. It truly is not a laughing matter. I hope El Al takes note.

lin

I recently flew in the newly renovated ElAl business class, in the new seat, and it was lovely and comfortable.

I could make the seat absolutely flat but I was much more comfortable with a little rise at the pillow end. I slept very well and arrived refreshed.

The lounges were fine, the food in the lounges was plentiful and delicious, the food on the flights was exceptional. The service for myself and my wheel-chair bound companion was excellent.

I plan on flying ElAL business class again.

Harry

@Dan:

Email me to 5766922@gmail.com i want to talk to you

Chaim

totally agree. I left El Al first for Delta, but with United for several years now. El Al is so desperate that they made me a Platinum to try and get me back.
I fly 10+ times a year round trip and the FF program and upgrades are a major issue, El Al is just not competitive.
I am 1K( was Global Services for 4 years) on United and a Million Miler, and United knows how to make you feel appreciated.

Hershy

Lin, I am not quite sure how you could make the seat absolutely flat; El Al does not have 180 degree flat seats. The lounges and their offerings are fine but not compared to other airlines. I have flown in the new El Al 737-900ER, supposedly El Al’s last word in modern luxury. It does not even have an entertainment system in Business class and the seat recline is very poor. El Al may be able to fluff off its Jewish clientele [of which I am one] relying on its “security procedures” and “you are flying with the Israeli airline” approach but as a world class airline it is way down the totem pole.

Brutus

An example of El Al’s terrible customer service: My son has a reservation on a flight 2nd week of April from Israel to JFK. My email is on record to receive notices, while my son is the passenger. I receive an email which states that “the time of your flight has changed”. It notes the flight number but not the date of the flight. It does not mention the passenger’s name, and while it states that the departure time has been moved up by 60 minutes it does not mention at all if the arrival time has changed. Why is it so difficult to provide useful information?

Dave

I cannot find a single reason to fly El Al. A number of years ago the ground crew made me check my carry on when is was 2 Kilo over weight on a first class ticket to Europe and the flight was mostly empty.

They are the most arrogant, customer unfriendly group of people I’ve ever met. The planes are subpar in business. Matmid is simply idiotic.

I fly business almost all the time at the tickets are usually 5-6K range. Delta is nice seat, United is fine. Flying via Heathrow is not terrible anymore and via Zurich or Frankfurt is fine as well.

I figure that little bag check incident has cost El Al about 120K in tickets.

Oh well, their loss.

chaim yankel

Dan please keep up the good work. You totally rock!

Stan

Hey Dan. I agree with everything you wrote from a factual point of view. It does seem like you have been a bit more vocal about this issue. Theres some passion in there that I haven’t seen in any of your other posts. It seems like youre getting emotionally involved in bashing EL AL as opposed to giving us a general report of the way things are…

Dan

@Stan:
Of course it’s emotional. I want Israel’s national carrier to be profitable, successful, and admired.

At this point it’s nothing more than a laughingstock. And that’s really sad. Everything they do seems more and more clueless.

Mike

Hey Dan. I am pretty sure you read my posts on the EL AL Matmid FT forum. I post under ELY001. I wrote and gave EL AL an entire business plan and they just ignored it. Now with Open Skies on the horizon from Europe, American Airlines starting service to Israel,and the liberalization of the aviation agreement between Israel and both China and Canada, EL AL is in for some steep competition. They need to change immediately otherwise their market-share will dwindle even further than it has since privatization.

M W

Dan is completely correct in every respect but also somewhat misses the point. He correctly states that El Al does NOT compete on price, product, or service. This is beyond dispute. In fact, El Al seems uninterested in competing on any of these fronts. Where El Al does compete (and wins) is security and Jewishness. And because El Al has the highest security costs in the world, and now sells such a large percentage of tickets to observant Ultra-Orthodox Jews, it seems exclusively interested in competing only on security and Jewishness. Obviously, this strategy is completely unsatisfying to non-Orthodox, world-traveling Jews, passengers like me who appreciate a world-class seat, service, and a touch of style that harkens back to a more glamorous age of travel. I want THAT kind of El Al, and I would support it if it were that kind of airline and not an outdated bus in the sky ferrying the haredim back and forth to Israel. So, instead, as it stands, Air France (via Paris) or Air Canada (via Toronto) offer far more upscale options to Tel Aviv. And they’re safe enough. And part of major airline alliances. But, trust me, I would like nothing better than a hipper, more luxe, and more forward-thinking El Al in the model of a European legacy carrier or the new Gulf airlines. And El Al probably MUST update and modernize its product to compete, as its labor and operating costs will never allow it to compete on low-cost flights. It needs a top-class legacy product.

joe

loved the elal service

Baba Ganush

How about double wrapped passengers to keep them warm at night!

Don Jay

Im Jewish and fly around the world a lot. Mainly in biz with the odd upgrade in first as I don’t see the value in paying for first until I make my first 10 million dollars. Ok, I also fly LON to TLV quite a lot, but nowadays always fly BA unless BA club is overpriced from Elal (which happens at strange times of the year).

There is no comparison, BA is way better in biz and by far… Why would I want to fly on a 20 year old 747 on a seat that rolls down on a night flight and wake up 5 times a night. What a stupid missed opportunity for Elal. New 787’s coming soon too, and they mentioned ‘bed like’, on the Dreamliner??? How stupid can they get. Don’t they realise that everyone else who flies business (apart from the ultra orthodox) prefer a good hard product. Hey, I’m complaining and it’s only 5 hours in the air so can imagine what it’s like from the US with so much choice now. At night, I want my bed… 5 hours in the day, I want my touchscreen with 100 films to choose from. And the Matmid is a joke. Old points dissapearing has made me stay with BA and Avios. Oh, and Hermolis business class kosher food from Uk is fantastic on BA. I really don’t know where they make thier money, but if they want the ‘average’ Jew (and yes I’m a Zionist) they need to make some wiser decisions. Oh, and don’t get me started on Israel’s hotels and the awful service they all give. The I don’t give a crap attitude in the whole service industry has made me and many others make decisions with the head and not the heart recently. They need to start treating us better, unless they have made a decision to simply concentrate on the charedim and concentrate on economy alone which may ultimately make sense as they are the fastest growing part of the Jewish community.

Adina

It’s August 2018 – are there any updates to this article, anyone know if 4 yrs after this article was written there were any changes to EL AL, are their 1st class and business class seats the same, do any of them have flat seats by now?

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