Here’s What El Al’s New 787s Will Look Like
El Al have been a bit behind the times of late. They have kept their 747 and 767 aircraft toiling away in the skies while new planes are yet to make an entrance. Not only this, but the cabins in them are looking tired. Business Class in particular still looks like what was around in the late 90’s. Their 747-400 Business Cabin still has a 2-3-2 layout – that’s right, there’s a middle seat. And while Business Class on their 767 is a 2-2-2, the seat width is poor and the style is no longer up to par.
That’s all set to change next month as El Al take delivery of the first of 16 Boeing 787 aircraft. Along with the new aircraft, El Al are completely revamping their cabins to bring them right up to date. First Class is being removed in favor of a vastly improved Business Class. A Premium Economy cabin also makes an appearance for the first time in El Al’s fleet. Even Economy passengers will feel a difference, with some minor tweaks as well as the passive benefits of the 787 itself.
The Seat Map
We’re looking at a pretty standard 787-9 three cabin configuration on El Al’s 787-9. You can check out the out Seatlink seat map here: El Al 787-9 seating chart & seat review.
We’ve mentioned how poor El Al’s existing Business product is. With the lack of personal space and even some middle seats still going around, it’s been hard to get excited about this long-haul product. Things have changed with El Al’s new 787s. Finally, every passenger will enjoy direct aisle access with the 1-2-1 cabin layout. In total there are 32 flatbed Business Class seats in 8 rows. Each Recaro CL6710 seat has a pitch of 78″ and is 21″ wide, while the cabin itself is arranged in a staggered configuration. Screens are used to maximize privacy and there is ample storage space around the seat. Each Business Class passenger will enjoy a larger 16″ video screen as well as USB and power sockets at every seat.
It doesn’t look like any significant changes are on the cards in terms of the soft product. Inflight meals will remain the same and the only difference will be newly designed amenity kits for Business passengers. But that’s ok, because the new Business cabin is looking top notch and frequent El Al fliers will be pleased.
We know that First Class has been eliminated on El Al’s new 787s. Instead, the airline has installed a new Premium cabin, in step with the trend in airline travel. El Al have previously had Economy Plus with extra leg room, but this will be their first dedicated Premium cabin. In total there will be 4 rows of 28 seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. Each seat will have a generous 38″ pitch, 19″ width and enjoy a 7″ recline. This is not a bad upgrade option for Economy passengers and competes well with the best premium economy cabins on the 787.
Other features include foot rests for each seat, a pull-out tray from the seat arm for increased space and comfort, a water bottle holder, and 30% more overhead bin space compared to other airlines. As well as this, USB and power sockets will be available to every passenger. Video on Demand can be viewed on the newly configured 13″ screens. El Al have also considered the service side, with a dedicated cabin crew for the Premium Cabin as well as an amenity kit. It will be interesting to see how the Premium cabin will catch on with El Al. For it to do well, El Al might well consider better food options as well as priority boarding.
Unfortunately, Economy passengers shouldn’t hope for too much, with El Al opting for the undesirable 3-3-3 layout. Although not uncommon for the 787 in general, the resulting width of the seats will be reduced compared to what El Al have on their current 747 and 767 aircraft. As a result, the 222 seats will have a 31″ pitch and the standard Dreamliner 17″ width.
However, there will be some things to look forward to for Economy passengers. The improved airflow and increased humidity of Boeing’s new aircraft will make flying more comfortable. Additionally, the seats all have adjustable 6-way headrest, 12″ personal HDTVs, USB and power sockets, and the extra overhead bin space. And let’s not forget these new planes are replacing aircraft that have been in service for upwards of 20 years. Therefore, the whole cabin will present a refreshed feeling to passengers.
All 16 aircraft on order are set to replace the 747 and 767 aircraft, which El Al are set to retire over the course of the next three years. The first flights are due in the air sometime in September, with Heathrow being the first route. Shortly afterwards, Newark and Hong Kong will soon have El Al’s new 787s at their gates. You can expect to see them into other European cities, followed shortly by the North American routes. El Al expect to save around 47% in fuel costs compared with the Boeing 747 so we won’t be surprised to see a number of new routes as well as reopened routes that were previously unprofitable.