El Al B777-200 BusinessBack to Forum
Anonymous7 Jul 2013
I booked online which was simple but I had to call El Al to book the seat and my special meal. El Al in London were really friendly and helpful. I had to call back later to change my flight. The London call centre was constantly engaged. I called Tel Aviv and had to stay on hold for 20 minutes but when I got through the agent was again friendly and really helpful.
Because of that last-minute flight change, I had a longer-than-normal security interview before check in but they were pleasant and efficient. Check-in was great too and there was no wait .Check-in is in the area that BA used to use for business and first. There is only one route to security from there so, effectively, no priority security queue but I was early and there was no wait. Even the BAA staff were in a good mood — remarkable.
This was the overnight flight (departing at 22.30) and I went to the King David Lounge to work a bit before boarding. The Lounge is a decent size and had a delicious buffet of salads, olives, eggs, humous and other dishes. Most passengers were eating before the flight. There was a decent selection of wines, spirits and beers. I think that I was the only non-Israeli passenger.
Boarding was quick and efficient. The crew welcomed us, took jackets and offered drinks. They were friendly and well organised throughout the trip. Very impressive.
I was in the aisle seat in the centre. The middle seat was empty but it might have been a bit cramped if all three seats had been occupied. The flight was only just over 4 hours so I decided not to eat. As I nodded off, I saw my neighbour’s meal. It looked fine (and my VGML meal on the return leg was very tasty). El Al has avoided the tortuous, drawn out meal services so beloved of BA and the Gulf carriers so everything comes on one tray. That is the way things should be on a flight this short.
The seat is fine for sitting and has lots of legroom. it’s lie-flat but the angle is acceptable (on the 747 return, the seats were the same but there was less legroom and the angle made sleeping difficult). It’s a hard shell so there’s no intrusion from the seat in front. However, the legrest is poorly designed and I couldn’t get comfortable as it dug into my calves. I did, though sleep for about three hours. This seat is still the best option from London to Tel Aviv: BA uses the old B Med recliners (and, last week, a colleague flying BA to TLV ended up in bog standard Club Europe seat with 33″ seat pitch due to a last-minute plane change). Some European carriers (Brussels Airlines and Air France, for example) offer European convertible seating as standard on the route.
After quite a walk in Tel Aviv, we were through immigration in a couple of minutes. I hadn’t checked in any bags so I was out of the airport within 30 minutes of landing.
I paid under £1000 for this ticket — it had a £100 cancellation fee. Easy jet in economy would have been £500 with no option to cancel; BA would have been over £2000. It was great value and the people show just how much El Al has changed.7 Jul 2013
Great review MarkCymru and very good to read one of an airline I have never flown. Although the flight is just over 4 hours, I would rather fly on a twin-aisle instead of a cramped A321.8 Jul 2013
Thanks for the kind words, Alexpo.
I’ve since heard from a colleague that at least some of the BA flights now have lie-flat seats in a 1-2 configuration. He said they were comfortable.8 Jul 2013
The BA aircraft used to the near Middle East (Tel Aviv, Cairo, Amman) are refurbished ex BMI A321’s. They are two-class. Club World is great, lie flat seats in a 1-2 formation, with large screen and very veratile IFE. Economy, though, is dire – narrow seats with a small pitch. Compared to the 777’s that used to ply the TLV route, economy is far worse, there is no WTP, or First, but CW is an improvement.9 Jul 2013
The telephones to the El Al office in London are notoriously busy, but as you say, the staff are polite.
I personally can’t take the night flights ex LHR and Luton, as after a 4 hour flight, and a 5am arrival in Tel Aviv, I can’t function properly. I need a good night sleep.
The day flights ex Luton with 767 are my first choice if I am flying El Al, or the mid / late afternoon ex LHR.11 Jul 2013