El Al has announced a complete overhaul of economy class ticket price structure, with the changes due to take effect just after Succot.
Through the Israeli national carrier’s new “branded fares” model, passengers will have the choice of “Lite”, “Classic” and “Flex” fares.
“Lite” will be a basic flight ticket, with no seat choice option and hand-luggage (up to 8kg) only.
With “Classic”, customers can choose a seat and check in one item of baggage (up to 23kg). “Flex” also includes this, with the additional option of changing or cancelling tickets.
The airline confirmed that all passengers will still receive a meal on their flight.
Oranit Beit Halachmi, El Al’s managing director for North Europe and Africa, announced the change at a press conference in London this morning. The new price structure will take effect on October 15, with the three types of tickets going on sale from April 30.
Ms Beit Halachmi also discussed the airline’s fleet overhaul. Last year, El Al received the first of its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners. By the end of 2018, seven are expected to be in service, with 16 having been bought in total – a significant purchase for an airline whose entire fleet has comprised 40 aircraft. A number of El Al’s older wide-body (two aisle) planes, including some 777s and 747s, will be withdrawn from service as the Dreamliners are phased in. The airline already has one Dreamliner operating between London and Tel Aviv.
El Al has also announced a change to its pilot programme. Traditionally, El Al pilots have been former Israeli airforce pilots. However, starting this month, it will be operating a joint venture flight school in the US, training a new generation of pilots, including “candidates with no prior experience” (although all El Al pilots will still be required to hold Israeli citizenship).
Other changes will include the introduction of USB ports for all airline seats, as well as the continual rolling out Wi-fi service on flights.
Responding to a question from the JC, Ms Beit Halachmi said El Al was “looking at” the possibility of introducing a direct flight from from Tel Aviv to Manchester.