EL AL was formed in 1948, when it operated its maiden flight, bringing home Israel’s first President, Professor Haim Weizmann, from a diplomatic visit to Geneva. EL AL owes its name to David Remez, the first Minister of Transport, who based the name on a passage from the book of Hosea. With a current fleet of 42 aircrafts including 9 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, EL AL now flies to over 50 destinations in Asia , Europe , Africa and North America.
EL AL Security
Famous for their tight security measures, If your nervous about security when flying , EL AL is your go to airline. Security checks are said to start from the moment you book your ticket, as I was on the return leg of my journey, I had effectively already been screened and cleared on my outgoing flight from London. It’s worth noting everyone is interviewed before being allowed to check in, I was only asked a couple of questions at Tel Aviv and I was waved through in literally 2-3 minutes , but allow at least three hours when checking for an ElAl flight just on case you get delayed in security.I found the whole EL AL Security experience a tad nerve racking, just make sure you can account for everything in your luggage or things could get awkward.
This my premium economy cabin experience flying from Tel Aviv to London Heathrow…
Flight LY317 5.20PM
Route Tel Aviv – Yafo to London Heathrow
Cabin Premium Economy 2-3-2 Configuration
Flight Duration 5 hours 25 minutes
Plane Type Boeing 787-900
Checked Baggage allowance 2 x 23kg
When reaching the gate there were again extra security checks just before boarding, I wasn’t selected this time, but If picked you out will need to make all your hand luggage available for further screening, this delayed boarding somewhat but impressively we still managed to get away on time.
Premium Economy passengers were able to board after Business class passengers, I received a warm welcome upon boarding the aircraft from the two dedicated crew members assigned to our cabin. After I got seated I was offered a hot towel and drink whilst economy passengers were boarding.
Cabin & Seat
The premium economy cabin is located in rows 17 to 20, inbetween the business and economy cabins, featuring 28 seats arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration.
Seat Map ( courtesy of SeatGuru.com )
Each seat has a pitch of 38 inches and is 19 inches wide. Sitting in the last row of the cabin sometimes can be uncomfortable , but if anything I felt I had a bigger recline than normal due to there not being a seat behind me.
On my seat I found a comfortable pillow , and a decently thick blanket and I was handed an amenity kit after takeoff.
The Amenity kit was a nice surprise, especially as most airlines are cutting back on offering them. Whilst the kit is quite basic, it contains the essentials , and I found the eye mask to be of a good quality.
ELAL Premium Economy Amenity Kit
For a new aircraft , I found the ELAL entertainment offering to be quite limited, though the screen was a generous 13 inches, there were only a few current blockbusters available on this flight which were straight out of the cinema, but in addition there was a large number of classic English and Isreali films and music so there was plenty to watch on a relatively short flight. Im also a fan of the moving map so I can keep track of my wereabouts in the air
The Dreamliner is WiFi enabled and I’m happy to report that I had a strong signal throughout the flight and was able tweet and post to my social media with no problems., which is no easy feat especially when flying internationally. The WiFi is available to purchase on the flight using a credit card. A free package is available, but its only for using the Whats Up app.
Food & Drink Service
After take off there was a full alcoholic bar service, with my drink I was served with a small snack bag of crackers and dinner menus were handed out ( please note all meals served onboard ELAL are kosher ).
Approx 90 minutes into the flight dinner was served, the crew member came and took everyones order individually and the meals were brought out one by one. Playing it safe I plumped for the cooky bag spring chicken, intially when presented with the chicken in a plastic bag, I wondered if the crew had forgotten to plate my meal , but after a quick explanation, a cooky bag I was advised, ensures that the chicken complies with kosher rules.
There was one meal service on this flight , the food served was delicious hot and well presented on china plates. To be honest I could have easily managed another cooky bag of chicken.
In My Opinion…
I was originally booked into the Economy Cabin, but was offered an upgrade to Premium Economy cabin for $250 / £190 at the check in desk. It must have been popular as the cabin was full , but to answer the burning question of is it worth splashing out for the upgrade ? If it was a night flight or I was 6ft plus yes absolutely, but in all honestly for this early evening mid haul flight I would have been fine in the economy cabin, so this was a bit of a indulgence for me.The cloth seat was very comfortable with plenty of room to stretch out. I could also get out of my seat without disturbing my seat mate, which is always a plus, and as the cabin was only over four rows, the crew were always on hand, and were pleasant and efficient and didn’t do a disappearing act after the meal service. The only downside was on the ground with the constant security checks, but it wouldn’t put me off flying with ELAL again.
For more information on EL AL and their routes and fares check out their website https://www.elal.com
Please note I was travelling as a guest of EL AL in economy, but paid for the upgrade into premium economy myself, but as usual all opinions here are my own