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, when arriving at Heathrow Airport to check in ( allow at least three hours ) your met by armed police. Before your allowed to check in you are met by Israeli security officers for your pre boarding “interview” (note everyone without exception is interviewed). As a Travel Blogger I came under special attention, especially as I recently spent time in the UAE
Questions ranged from the usual why are you visiting , how long , where are you staying, moving onto countries you’ve visited recently, to personal questions about your job , partner, family etc . After 20 minutes of questions and having the entire contents of my hand luggage swabbed for explosives, I recieved a sticker on my passport indicating who knows what, then I was finally free to check in.
ELAL security notes … nope me neither
Whilst the whole experience is a tad nerve racking, the security officers were polite and repacked my bag as they found it after the search. Just make sure you can account for everything in your luggage as anything deemed suspicious will be questioned.
This is my EL AL Economy cabin flight review ….
Flight LY 318 22.20PM
Route London Heathrow to Tel Aviv – Yafo
Cabin Economy 3-3-3 Configuration
Flight Duration 4 hours 45 minutes
Plane Type Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner
Checked Baggage allowance 1 x 23kg
A warm ELAL welcome aboard
Its worth noting that when you reach the gate, there are even more security checks just before boarding. As I’d already been extensively searched before checking in, I was waved straight through to board the aircraft. But If you are picked for further checks you will need to make all your hand luggage available for further screening including any duty free purchases. After been waved through boarding was a pretty easy affair and I was able to find my seat 26K and get settled in.
When entering the cabin it felt light and spacious, and I was grateful for the soft led lighting which continually adjusted between light and dark throughout this overnight flight. I also noted the generously sized overhead bins which ELAL claim are 30% larger than standard.
Cabin & Seat
On this new dreamliner there are 222 seats in the Economy Cabin from rows 21 down to to 59 in a 3-3-3 seat configuration.
ELAL Dreamliner Seat Map – image source http://www.seatguru.com
The Economy Cabin bulkhead seats
The bulkhead seats in row 21 are definately the seats to aim for, these are classed as a ‘preferred’ seats and are avalible to pre book from $60 depending on route flown. If your heading beyond Tel Aviv its a sensible investment for that extra bit of comfort.
ELAL Row 26 Economy Cabin
The standard economy seats on the Dreamliner are ergonomic and designed for long haul flights, with a 6 way adjustable headrest which really helped when trying to sleep as it wraps round your head as well as being height adjustable.
ELAL Dreamliner Seat
There was a small pillow on the seat, though sadly no amenity kits , blankets were available on request , rather than being on each seat.
I personally found the seat rather snug around hips at 17 inches wide, but the 31 inch leg room was fine for myself at 5ft 7 ,
All important in seat legroom
For a new aircraft , I found the ELAL entertainment offering to be quite limited, the seat back screen was a decent size, but there were only a few straight out of the cinema blockbusters available on this flight, but in addition there was a over 100 classic English and Israeli movies and a number of music channels, so there was plenty to watch on a relatively short flight.
ELAL inflight movies
I’m also a fan of the moving map so I can keep track of my whereabouts in the air, and theres lots of inflight information to keep the av geeks happy.
In flight info screen
Seat back USB plug keeps everything charged up throughout the flight
The headphones supplied were pretty useless , I’d definitely advise to bring your own.
ELAL Headphones , best left in the bag imo
Food and Drink Service
Due to the late take off time , the food service started promptly approximately 30 minutes after take off.
First was the bar service, with a packet of a bagel type biscuit snack and a drink, as it was so late I just stuck a soft drink, but alcohol was available.
Once the bar service was completed the dinner service started immediately after, sadly no menus were available in economy, so it was a straight meat or chicken choice ( pls note all meals served on ELAL are Kosher ) but I must confess that I didnt actually eat much of the meal served, as I felt it was far to late to be eating and it might have been better to have been served prior to landing rather than serving a hot meal at nearly midnight.
ELAL meal service
But for a five hour flight the meal was quite substantial and I can report it was served piping hot, but it seemed such a waste as I observed a number of meals being collected hardly touched.
In my Opinion…..
Despite all the rigmarole of the ELAL security before check in , this was a pleasant flight on a literally brand new plane. The legroom was decent for me at 5ft 7 , and the cabin was felt spacious down the back with the 3-3-3 configuration. As this was a night flight it was literally a case of get onboard and try and get some sleep, as i said previously I would have rather skipped the hot evening meal just after take off for a hot breakfast before landing, even if it would have been in the early hours.
For more information on EL AL and their routes and fares check out their website https://www.elal.com
Looking for accommodation in Israel ?
Check out Israels two premier hotel groups with a number of properties in both Tel Aviv & Jerusalem
Please note my flight was provided courtesy of ELAL , but as usual the opinions are all mine.