El Al was supposed to launch service to Chicago and Tokyo in the spring of 2020 before the Olympics. Then COVID hit, the Olympics were postponed, the airline was sold, and flight plans were put on hold.
United has massive advantages in Chicago. In addition to being the incumbent on the route, they are headquartered there, they have a natural base of elite flyers, they have incredible connecting feed from all over the country.
But surprisingly, El Al still plans to fight United in Chicago. That’s a boon to passengers there who will be the beneficiaries of a price war, but it’s hard to see how El Al will win this battle or how Chicago can support nonstop flights to Tel Aviv on 2 airlines. Without connecting feed, El Al will rely heavily on origin/destination traffic and the premium passengers who will make or break the route are already elite members with American or United…
The inaugural Tel Aviv-Chicago flight is now set for March 27th. The flight will operate on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, departing Tel Aviv at noon and arriving at 4:30pm the same day.
The inaugural Chicago-Tel Aviv flight is also set for March 27th. The flight will operate on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, departing Chicago at 7:15pm and arriving at 2:35pm the next day.
El Al should fare better in Tokyo, assuming that Japan and Israel reopen to tourists, as they have no competition on that route.
The inaugural Tel Aviv-Tokyo Narita flight is now set for March 28th. The flight will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturday evenings, departing Tel Aviv at 8:45pm and arriving at 2:15pm the next day.
The inaugural Tokyo Narita-Tel Aviv flight is set for March 29th. The flight will operate on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, departing Tokyo at 4:15pm and arriving at 10:45pm the same day.
In other news, El Al’s website is finally getting some long awaited improvements.
You can now change flights or convert flights into travel vouchers online. And you can pay a small $5-$10 fee to hold an airfare for 48 hours.
Which other features do you hope to see on El Al’s website?
Do you think El Al flying Tel Aviv to Chicago or Tel Aviv to Tokyo will be sustainable for the long term?