EL AL Boeing 777s Getting New Business Class, Cutting First Class

EL AL Boeing 777s Getting New Business Class, Cutting First Class

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EL AL is about to pretty consistently offer an excellent long haul product…

EL AL’s Boeing 777s getting direct aisle access business class

EL AL has been in the process of refreshing its long haul fleet, as the carrier has taken delivery of 15 Boeing 787s, featuring a much improved passenger experience. The Israeli flag carrier has retired its Boeing 747s, though the airline does still have six Boeing 777-200ERs, featuring rather old cabins.

That will soon be changing. EL AL has revealed that it will be installing a new business class product on Boeing 777s:

  • Initially only two Boeing 777s will be reconfigured, and they should be in service by this summer
  • The remaining four Boeing 777s will only reenter service if they’re reconfigured with the new cabins; however, EL AL hasn’t yet decided whether to reconfigure them or just retire them, given that the jets are 20+ years old
  • EL AL’s Boeing 777s will get a business class product in a 1-2-1 configuration, so it’ll be fully flat and feature direct aisle access

EL AL’s Boeing 787s have an excellent business class product. It’s not entirely clear whether the EL AL 777s will get exactly the same product as the 787s, or a different business class product with direct aisle access. Those details are expected to be announced in the coming months.

EL AL’s Boeing 787-9 business class

As a point of comparison, EL AL’s Boeing 777-200ERs currently feature a business class product in a 2-3-2 configuration, with angled seats. The new product should represent a huge upgrade.

EL AL’s Boeing 777-200ER business class

EL AL’s Boeing 777s lose first class, gain premium economy

EL AL’s Boeing 777s aren’t just getting a new business class, but other changes are coming as well. With this move, EL AL will be eliminating its first class, which is currently only found on 777s. The first class cabin is ancient, as it’s in a 2-2-2 configuration, with a total of six seats.

When I flew EL AL’s 777 first class from Tel Aviv to London, I really enjoyed the experience, despite the outdated cabin. It was kind of a cute throwback to a different era. Understandably there’s no point in keeping around such an inferior hard product, especially with the airline not having first class on the 787s.

EL AL’s Boeing 777-200ER first class

On the plus side, EL AL’s Boeing 777s will get premium economy, which they don’t currently have. I imagine this product will also be similar to what you’ll find on the Boeing 787s.

EL AL’s Boeing 787-9 premium economy

Bottom line

EL AL’s Boeing 777s are finally getting a refresh, bringing them more in line with the carrier’s Boeing 787s. With this, you can expect new business class and economy class seats, and a premium economy cabin. However, we will see first class be eliminated.

It’s expected that the first two refreshed 777s should enter service this summer with the new cabins. No decision has been made yet regarding the other four 777s, which are currently parked. If the decision is made to have them reenter service, then they’ll also be reconfigured.

What do you make of EL AL reconfiguring 777s?

(Tip of the hat to Zach Griff)

Conversations (24)
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  1. kk Guest

    tk and ek still have 2-3-2 layout :( very sad

  2. Harold Rosenholtz Guest

    Thanks Ben for this update. While first class was economically unattainable for many, the emergence of a premium economy choice provides a plausible option for those looking for additional comfort at a reasonable cost.

  3. Christopher Coyle Guest

    To whom it may concern. TWA had a three class service Domestic international .To whom ever to be stand corrected. ROYAL Ambassador was not business class . It was referred to as Ambassador Class , First class was called Royal Ambassador. Than economy. Their service outstanding for an American Carrier indeed. TWA It was referred to as THE Airline of the Stars . Their 747 AC epitomized comfort and roominess graciousness , their flight attendants...

    To whom it may concern. TWA had a three class service Domestic international .To whom ever to be stand corrected. ROYAL Ambassador was not business class . It was referred to as Ambassador Class , First class was called Royal Ambassador. Than economy. Their service outstanding for an American Carrier indeed. TWA It was referred to as THE Airline of the Stars . Their 747 AC epitomized comfort and roominess graciousness , their flight attendants were outstanding With bone structure and presence I know. They were in our family . You did not need sleeper seats .
    The comfort today in sleeper seats is a joke these modules Are designed for The masses .
    are really not that comfortable. We must accept or tolerate change.

    1. D3kingg Guest

      @Christopher Coyle

      No chief. TWA branded their business class as Royal ambassador class when the L 1011 rolled out. El al did not invent business class. Nice try.

  4. D3kingg Guest

    Air Israel. You must exit the runway and wait your turn.

    1. Donato Guest

      I really have no idea what your comment implies but you always crop up with an issue when Israel or Jews are mentioned. Whatever!

    2. P1 flyer Guest

      Surely someone is moderating these comments and reports this guy? Offers nothing to do with the topic and is clearly anti-Semitic

    3. D3kingg Guest

      What ? Nothing anti Semitic about quoting a movie. I know more about Israel than you. I was a candidate for special ops and mosad but decided not to live in Israel.

    4. Donato Guest

      I simply do not understand your post and what it refers to. Please expand.

    5. Dude26 Guest

      Oh, it's from the old "Airplane!" movie. You know, the one with Leslie Nielsen as the pilot....
      I didn't get it at first too.

    6. Eskimo Guest

      @D3kingg

      If you're quoting a movie, at least get it right.

      If you're joining an intelligence unit, at least spell it right.

      Know your shit or know you're shit.

      שלום עליכם

    7. D3kingg Guest

      Israel wanted me in sonchanim red beret I was going to be a paratrooper.

      And yes it’s a reference to an old movie Airplane. The air Israel plane was wearing a talis and beard over the cockpit. Funny.

    8. Jerry Diamond

      Isn't that an "Airplane" reference?

  5. Pierre Gold

    The concept of Business Class was launched in 1972 by Mordechai Ben Ari, then GM of EL AL, in a IATA speech. In a world which only knew F and Y, he foresaw that within 20 years First Class would give way to Business Class or at least considerably shrink in a 3-class situation. He was right.

    The very First Business Class, however, was KLM around 1975, not a separate cabin, but a section of...

    The concept of Business Class was launched in 1972 by Mordechai Ben Ari, then GM of EL AL, in a IATA speech. In a world which only knew F and Y, he foresaw that within 20 years First Class would give way to Business Class or at least considerably shrink in a 3-class situation. He was right.

    The very First Business Class, however, was KLM around 1975, not a separate cabin, but a section of Econmy where passengers were offered, as they called, "FFF" or Full Fare Facilities" such as free drinks, free movies, extra baggage allowance, etc. I remember the yellow stickers FFF ffixed to boarding passes, as the size of the section was variable and there were no computers on board to say who was in which class and where.

    It is ironical that it actually took El AL some 50 years to eliminate F completely.

    1. D3kingg Guest

      @Pierre

      That is incorrect. TWA was the pioneer of business class when they introduced Royal Ambassador class between JFK and LAX.

    2. Kiwi Guest

      FWIW QANTAS claims to have launched the worlds first business class

    3. Pierre Gold

      Just because KLM did not have a separate cabin and hard product, but the concept was there, with the "FFF" designated passengers and the extra amenities. It's all semantics anyway. Any airline with a crappy "First" Class , low price difference between Coach and "First", and mediocre hard/soft product can claim to have invented Business Class. even without realizing it.

      Take Air India at the beginning of the 70's (early 747s): Their "F" product was...

      Just because KLM did not have a separate cabin and hard product, but the concept was there, with the "FFF" designated passengers and the extra amenities. It's all semantics anyway. Any airline with a crappy "First" Class , low price difference between Coach and "First", and mediocre hard/soft product can claim to have invented Business Class. even without realizing it.

      Take Air India at the beginning of the 70's (early 747s): Their "F" product was bad and they sold One Way London - New York for $ 80 above Coach (not officially but all bucket shops did it and showing up at Heathrow to buy a "F" ticket did the trick... it was never full). Air India didn't know it but it was Business Class. I know it because my company forbade First at the normal fares but accepted those.

  6. shoeguy Guest

    The cabins on the LY 777 are what gave the carrier a reputation for a subpar experience. Good to see them make these changes.

  7. SubwayNut Guest

    Are they going from 3-3-3 in Economy Class (which I believe the planes currently are) to 3-4-3 in this 'upgrade'? As an Economy Class passenger I go out of my way to find the old 3-3-3 777 planes left, their seats are nice and wide.

  8. Al Guest

    Good to see. given the competition from LCCs from Europe, The big 3 from the USA, and now Gulf carriers, El Al's only play seems to be offering competitive non-stop options. They definitely also seem to have improved their economy experience as well though that's not where the money is made obviously. As an economy traveler based in NY though, if El Al were to be cheaper than the US big 3 (which I haven't...

    Good to see. given the competition from LCCs from Europe, The big 3 from the USA, and now Gulf carriers, El Al's only play seems to be offering competitive non-stop options. They definitely also seem to have improved their economy experience as well though that's not where the money is made obviously. As an economy traveler based in NY though, if El Al were to be cheaper than the US big 3 (which I haven't really seen), I'd certainly consider flying them from NY to Israel.

    1. hp12c Member

      There's also a contingent of the population (often ultra-orthodox, but also others) who will only fly on El Al for at least one of a few reasons:
      1) Religious reasons - every morsel of food on the plane is guaranteed to be kosher; flight attendants knowledgeable about religious needs
      2) Safety - El Al goes above and beyond with security: extra security checks, anti-missile systems (not sure if this is still the case),...

      There's also a contingent of the population (often ultra-orthodox, but also others) who will only fly on El Al for at least one of a few reasons:
      1) Religious reasons - every morsel of food on the plane is guaranteed to be kosher; flight attendants knowledgeable about religious needs
      2) Safety - El Al goes above and beyond with security: extra security checks, anti-missile systems (not sure if this is still the case), pilots are generally ex-IAF, armed sky marshal on each flight, etc.
      3) Culture - get the Israeli experience from takeoff to landing; all flight attendants speak Hebrew, so no language barriers
      4) Supporting Israel's flag carrier

      But yeah, I VERY rarely see El Al's flight being priced competitively, though there was a period a few months back where El Al non-stop biz class was either equivalent to or cheaper than the big 3 and the one-stop routes on European carriers. That would have been enticing had Israel been open to tourists at the time.

    2. Donato Guest

      I believe you are correct regarding safety, culture and Flag carrier. The ultra religious are not satisfied with ElAl Kosher and pre-order specially wrapped and sealed meals.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Donato Guest

I really have no idea what your comment implies but you always crop up with an issue when Israel or Jews are mentioned. Whatever!

2
Eskimo Guest

@D3kingg If you're quoting a movie, at least get it right. If you're joining an intelligence unit, at least spell it right. Know your shit or know you're shit. שלום עליכם

1
D3kingg Guest

@Christopher Coyle No chief. TWA branded their business class as Royal ambassador class when the L 1011 rolled out. El al did not invent business class. Nice try.

1
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