Revealed: EL AL’s New 787 Business Class

Filed Under: El Al

As far as international airlines go, EL AL must have some of the most underwhelming premium cabin products in the world. Just a few years ago EL AL introduced a new first class product, which doesn’t even feature direct aisle access from every seat. The product looks more like a subpar business class than a first class product, in my opinion.


Meanwhile EL AL’s new business class seats are still angled, though frankly it doesn’t look like there’s that much of a difference between their first and business class.


The good news is that EL AL will soon take delivery of the first of 16 Boeing 787s that they have on order, which will feature a new onboard product. These planes will become the backbone of their longhaul fleet, as they retire their 747s.


As I wrote about in March, EL AL had seemingly randomly uploaded a 787 seatmap for their Tel Aviv to Los Angeles flight for travel on September 2, which featured a new business class product in a 1-2-1 configuration. I suspect they didn’t actually intend to have that go “live,” since they haven’t announced their first 787 route yet.


Well, EL AL has now revealed what the cabin interiors will look like on their new 787s. member EL-AL shares that the airline had an event for travel agents in Tel Aviv, in which they revealed the new cabins. Apparently EL AL will take delivery of their first 787 in August, and it should begin commercial service by the second week of September.

The new business class cabin will be in a 1-2-1 configuration, with direct aisle access from every seat. I was expecting that EL AL would introduce reverse herringbone seats, but instead it looks like they’re going for a modified staggered configuration, that looks very similar to United’s new Polaris seats. EL AL’s 787s won’t have first class, but then again, their new business class looks much better than their old first class.

EL AL is also introducing premium economy on the 787, which is a product they haven’t had in the past. It will be in a 2-3-2 configuration, with 38″ of pitch.

Meanwhile regular economy will be in a 3-3-3 configuration, with 31″ of pitch.

You can see the original post for more details.

Aside from economy, which will be tight, EL AL’s new 787s look like a huge improvement over their existing fleet. I’ve really wanted to visit Israel and fly EL AL, so I’ll try to book a flight on EL AL’s new 787 as soon as the first routes are announced.

Congrats to EL AL on finally introducing a decent onboard product.

  1. The new hard product sure looks great! But I wonder if the soft product will see any improvements as well..

  2. An Israeli stamp or travel will blacklist you from most of the middle East and their airlines too.

  3. @Varun Israel doesnt stamps any longer has been over a year since they last did. You are given a small piece of paper with all your info. Do not discard it as its your only proof that you are a tourist and w/o it you will be charged the 18% VAT for Hotels, Car rentals etc etc

  4. The business class Seat is from Recaro CL6710. It’s extremely different from United Polaris in terms of space it uses.

    The seat pitch is around 45″ – 46″ shell to shell. Which mean this seat have the same room as Thompson Vantage XL. The angled flat TV are meant to make the space look more spacious. I believe TAP Portugal used it for their upcoming A330Neo as well.

    Cheers 🙂

  5. @Varun Susarla, I know dozens of people that have Israeli stamps and after getting them have traveled on the gulf carriers throughout the Middle East.

    @Marty, it’s 3 extra questions. If anything, it makes me feel safer than getting on any other airline.

  6. @marty I guess you’d rather have someone hijack your plane rather than go through tough security. That makes a lot of sense.

  7. United has like 6 planes w/the new Polaris seat config (and a ton more retrofitting to do), and there’s already a carrier that has the same config but with what looks like nicer finishes…SMH.

  8. That loooks remarkably similar to Polaris with the 10 year patent united has I wonder if they sue.

  9. Lucky, Israel doesn’t stamp passports anymore, its like Hong Kong now, a little paper in your passport is your proof of entry, in order to accommodate travelers like you. If your passport is up for renewal within this year, you may want to get yourself a new passport in order to avoid heavier grilling at security. Although you can always pull up your website on your iPhone to show what you do for a living. BTW… if you need a VIP service to pick you up upon arrival or drop you off, (which will make the security a bit less griping, as you seem known to someone) then i’m happy to recommend such a service and driver. pm me. I used him before for clients from Indonesia and Malaysia, and their arrival and departure procedures went very smoothly.

  10. There gonna replace a 777 with a 787 from TLV-LAX, that would be a pretty significant capacity reduction. Especially if it’s coming into service in mid September which is a week before the Jewish high holidays start in which case El Al would have no issues filling a 777.

  11. @Al They also have 767s that the 787s are replacing so could be used on routes operated by them first…

  12. @Varun – you don’t get stamped unless you specifically ask for it – you’re given a piece of paper with your photo on it that’ll ‘work’ as a stamp in your passport. Think entry/departure card

  13. That is a gorgeous Business Class. In terms of layout it is the same as Zodiac’s Optima (aka Polaris), and is 99% Recaro’s CL6710. They have had this seat in their catalogue for 2+ years, and I think it is the seat TAP will have on its A330neo’s. Pretty sure it’s time for an El Al review.

  14. I d advise you get a new fresh passport,by seeing all your Arab visits stamps you might be grilled for sime hlurs,get ready for your phone,laptop,luggages been thoroughly inspected,silly questions asked over and over,imagine security staff going into your private gallery and making fun if any suggestive pics over thete,No thank you,i d rather get hijacked than being humiliated and made fun off.

  15. Wow, this looks great!!! And it does look remarkably similar to the new United Polaris seats, ha! UA can’t be happy about that, given that they are flying a 77W with the new seats once daily EWR-TLV.

  16. I think Mo, is carrying it a bit too far. 30,000 people flew into TLV this week to partake in Friday’s gay pride parade, where an estimated 150K attended. The security have seen plenty of suggestive pictures, etc…. i would not loose sleep over that, however Mo’s suggestion of a new passport is a good idea.

  17. Will you simply wait for the new business class product, or fly the old business (or first) one first to be able to do a side by side comparison of the transition?

  18. EL AL should have went with some A380 because those flights are going to be so full with the 787. Very profitable for them. Very unfortunate for their gate agents who will be dealing with angry passengers getting bumped. Also, jews are cheap. Not many will be willing to pay for premium economy so they will end up having to give those seats away free of charge because their flights will be overbooked.

  19. “I know dozens of people that have Israeli stamps and after getting them have traveled on the gulf carriers throughout the Middle East.”

    They probably have dual citizenship and used their second passport to travel on the Gulf carriers.

    “30,000 people flew into TLV this week to partake in Friday’s gay pride parade, where an estimated 150K attended.”

    Pink washing does work!

  20. yuck….service is horrible whether old or new product….people are the same. NEVER will i fly this airline again…

  21. I flew Delta business 6 mos. Ago. Had the same configuration. I’m 5’4″ and the seat was too short when reclining to sleep.the seats are also too narrow. Very uncomfortable. I had to stand up to speak to my husband who was facing behind me. We both came home sleep deprived and disappointed.

  22. Geez. Those new business class seats look like something you’d lay down on in order to get an abortion.

  23. To Justin H:

    Not sure where you get your numbers from, but J is usually completely booked on flights to TLV and premium economy will be as well. Many Jewish people travel with large families and those simply cannot afford anything more than economy. Your average businessman will spring up for one of the more premium cabins.

  24. Wow, looks GORGEOUS! Finally El Al is stepping up their game. Cant wait to fly them from LAX directly to TLV!

  25. To Justin;
    Are you a Travel professional?
    Simple travel agents know which sections, sectors and dates tend to sell out. I am told that in the NY area, you can never judge a book by its cover nor a person’s spend by their religion or appearance. LY premium classes are usually waitlisted.

  26. To Justin H,

    This is a travel blog site. The “Jews are cheap” comment is offensive and without merit. All segments of society have individuals that are frugal, without regard to their religious beliefs. Let’s keep this about travel and travel only.

  27. The other responses regarding israel not stamping passports works only for citizens from countries with visa on arrival. For others, a visa is needed in advance from the israeli consulate in your country.

  28. @VJ Realistically though many OMAAT readers- and Lucky- hold passports from countries which are granted Visa Exemptions and thus would only receive a card upon arrival. Of the OMAAT readers who don’t hold a passport from a visa exempt country, odds are most of them probably don’t have much intention and or interest in visiting Israel.

  29. El Al upgraded its services but still, they have a long way to go to offer competition to united delta. They need to see if they can improve their code sharing agreement with american as well as mileage program Matmid points are worthless. Mileage plus is much better. This will help el al offset the fact they are not members in a global alliance

  30. I saw the El Al 787 in line at the Boeing Everett factory tour today (sadly photos are forbidden). It looks like it will be rolling out to its first flight very soon.

  31. @charles @robert @jfkguy

    Let’s just agree that flights to Israel are always full.

    One time from LAX to JFK on American . I was seated in the last row of first class and this orthodox guy sitting in the first row of business class threw a temper tantrum because he demanded he be moved into first class. It was hilarious. Then in the middle of the flight, it was a redeye he somehow throws a blanket at me. So I threw it back at him.

  32. @Julia, my friends have stamps in the US passports. I don’t know what else can convince you but Dan from has written countless times that Israeli stamps don’t have any issues getting into most Arab countries. Especially not the ones people most miles-travelers frequently visit – UAE, Maldives, Turkey, Jordan, etc. As has been mentioned to others, please leave your political opinions at the door of a travel blog.

    @Justin H, judging millions of people by the actions of 1?

  33. All the people talking about the “shit service” are problay referring to the economy service. Buisness & First service is amazing, better than a lot of other airlines.

  34. The issue of having an Israeli stamp is somewhat anachronistic. By Israeli law, only 7 countries defined as Enemy Countries (coincidently the same 7 appeared on the first version of the US travel ban). So only if you have a stamp from Yemen, Lybia, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, you’d be grilled by the Israeli border security, as you would in the UK, US and other countries border personal, and quite rightfully. If Israeli passport holders flies freely via Qatar and UAE, also fly to Jordan, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, then no problem for others.
    To Justin H. – since Antisemitism is a pathalogy, I can recommend a few good psychiatrists. Oh wait. There all Jewish… just don’t forget to take you pills before you go online and on planes… (throwing blankets on each other. I mean really, are old are you!?).
    El Al new 787s puts it, gor good or the worth (17″ width in Economy on sometimes 15 hours flights), at par with major airlines in the world. At least with the hard product.

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