El Al’s King David Lounges are one of their competitive advantages. In Tel Aviv the only other lounge option are the Dan Lounges, which are underwhelming and often overcrowded. United has long wanted to open their own lounge in Tel Aviv, but Dan Hotels appears to have lounge exclusivity there aside from the King David Lounge. Priority Pass lounge membership only works at the Dan Lounge, you’ll need to be flying El Al business class or have status for access to the King David lounge.
On our trip to Israel last month I skipped the Dan Lounge and went right for the Schmoozy Bar. You can access that with the Priority Pass membership that comes with cards like Chase Sapphire Reserve. I picked up some free bottles of wine to go while I was there thanks to my Priority Pass cards:
El Al is coming under increased competitive pressure in London. Virgin Atlantic begins flying the route starting on 9/25 using a daily A330. British Airways begins flying their new A350 business class suites starting 12/1. On the other end of the spectrum they are facing competition from low cost carriers like Arkia, EasyJet, and Wizz Air.
While some airlines beef up on their offerings in response to competitive pressure, El Al is retreating by closing their King David Lounge in London last week. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic operate their own lounges with excellent Hermolis kosher meals while El Al will be the only carrier flying the premium Heathrow-Tel Aviv route without their own branded lounge.
Art and Lounge runs a lounge in Newark that is available to El Al business class passengers and Priority Pass cardholders and they are now operating the old King David lounge in London.
It’s a decent lounge option and is great news for Priority Pass cardholders as it means there’s another lounge option with kosher food options. However it’s certainly a step down from a King David lounge.
The Art & Lounge site also mentions that a Paris lounge is coming soon. Does that mean that the King David lounge in Paris will also be closing and giving over its space to Art & Lounge? Will El Al contract out all of their lounges outside of Tel Aviv to Art & Lounge?
Have you been to an Art & Lounge? What do you think of them replacing King David lounges?