El Al: Sorry We Don’t Match American Status, If Only You Had Continental Or USAirways Status…


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. Here’s hoping that El Al outfits their 787s coming in 2017 with a new generation business class so that I can do just that.


In May a reader shared a hysterical customer service email that they received from El Al and the El Al employee even got in on the action in the comments.

Time for another chuckle, no?

Professor Alan Teitleman shares his experience trying to get El Al to match his American status now that they will no longer be flying to Israel as of 01/05/16.

El Al responded to him yesterday with this wonderful example of their airline industry savvy (click to enlarge):












Should we tell El Al that USAirways merged with American already? Or that Continental was destroyed by a vandal named Jeff years ago?

Obviously this is a copy/paste job, but is this really the form that they send out to everyone who asks for their American status to be matched?

I do love the usage of the word “prestigious” to describe their industry worst loyalty program. Well, it was the worst in the industry before they lost their partnership with American and then severely devalued their already heavily fuel surcharged and exorbitantly expensive award chart. Oh, and they made all miles expire after 36 months regardless of activity just for kicks.

My post back then on the devaluation earned me a 90 minute interview with one of their loyalty program executives, but he insisted that the conversation remain off-the-record.

But where was it that “prestigious” was used before by El Al?

Ah yes, here it is!

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. 

Because nothing says prestigious like faux-leather does!

I outlined a 7 step armchair CEO plan to turnaround El Al at the end of that same post from March 2014. Is there anyone home to actually implement any of them? All that’s happened since then are exacerbations of the same problems…


Leave a Reply

18 Comments On "El Al: Sorry We Don’t Match American Status, If Only You Had Continental Or USAirways Status…"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.

Sort by:   newest | oldest

The absolute worst airline out there.. all around.


When LY says “prestigious” they’re translating the Hebrew יוקרתי – “yokrati”, which means high-end, upscale. It’s a dumb word in Hebrew too, used to sell things like luxury cars and appeal to people with inferiority complexes.


I understand that they will also accept status from TWA and BOAC as well

Mind Your Own Business!!!

If that’s the way they think they make money, let them handle it themselves, I personally seem to like ELAL in economy, and no I wouldn’t fly them in business, but again I leave it up to them to decide how to market their products and what to offer.
Let’s not fool ourselves the US airlines are considered as one of the worst in the market either, so let them live thir life the way they want.
Have a good day.



@Mind Your Own Business!!!:
Actually I spoke to an executive at the El Al Matmid FFP and they were very interested in my thoughts, as they are struggling mightily against the US carriers.

Just nothing ever seems to ever improve as promised.

And no, the US airlines aren’t great airlines, but they perform a lot better than El Al. And there’s no reason it has to be that way.

Besides, if every blogger minded their own business, what would they blog about?




Come on, let’s be fair here. The person responsible for updating the list was away for the chagim, now that it’s acharei hachagim, maybe he will come back to work to update the list.



I love your rants!


I just spoke to AA & the rep I spoke with said that you will still be able to use your AA miles to book a flight to Israel through 1 of their partners, just not be able to fly on an AA plane. Does anyone know if that is true? I was hoping to go in February.


It always came to my attention why El Al is so bad. Honestly, if I were a professor at a university I would even study the case. How can they be so disastrous in a land where innovation is key to survival…especially if we are talking about an airline. Amazing.


None of their partners fly direct from US


They even advertise their shabby service – their slogan says it all “It’s not just an airline, it’s Israel”


One can use AA miles on British Air, Finair, Air Berlin, Royal Jordanian, and Iberis to fly from JFK to Israel with one or two stops, on either two or three planes, for 135000 AA miles for business, taking a minimum of 14 hours, with no guarantee that any leg other than transatlantic will be busiess if Air Berlin or Finnair is used.the transatlantic l eg will be on British Air, and in rate instances on AA. There is also a fuel xharge from $266 to $1,000 depending on which airlines are flown.


They themselves know how bad their airline is. When I flew to israel with a stop in switzerlnd, my flight was delayed, so we missed the connecting flightm. They rebooked us on elal. when we had elal do the security, he told my husband, next time fly on a better airline. You will be more comfortable and get better service. I couldnt agree more. Their seats have the least room between each other with the narrowest aisles.


I have a theory. I believe most Israelis don’t realize how bad Matmid is compared to other programs. I have recently seating next to a ElAl Top Platinum guy who had no idea that other airlines don’t have this 36 month expiry crap.

So I think ElAl is comfortably ripping off the Israelis, and they just don’t know how to deal with foreigners that have a bit of knowledge


The reason El Al doesn’t care about its service or Matmid program is simple. Many members of our tribe will always fly El Al BECAUSE it is the Israeli airline. Also its security is the best. And as bad as El Al might be, some of the cheaper airlines (like the Ukrainian or Russian discount ones) are even worse.


ElAl has great food and better than average flight attendants. However, they have absolutely the worst planes, in flight entertainment and legroom. I fly about 10 times a year and pay extra not to fly them. It’s just not worth it.


It is shameful that a city like Chicago with over 310,000 Jews does not have a non-stop to Israel. El AL pulled their non stop about 12-13 years ago and never came back. No other airline has picked up the non stop route.