El Al passengers who seek a middle ground between economy and first class will soon be able to choose a new service – Economy Class Plus. The option is to be offered aboard in the airlines' Boeing 747 planes, and is expected to be added to its fleet of Boeing 767 and 777 planes as well.
The new seating sections are being installed in front of the carriers' economy class seats, and are meant to allow passengers more leg room, deeper reclining chairs and several other perks not offered in coach.
"We have been planning this step for over a year," El Al CEO Eliezer Shkedi said. "It's no secret that the state of the global economy is problematic, and that airlines are dealing with a series of challenges. This is why they must always upgrade their services. The guiding principle is to make the flight more comfortable for the passenger."
Worth $150? New seats (Photo: Dan Lev)
The new service is to be launched on July 1. Passengers who have ordered the designated seats on flights scheduled prior to that date will enjoy the section for free.
Era of transitions
The section offers 36" of legroom (instead of the 32" inches offered in coach) and improved ergonomic seats that recline 33% more than the others. A curtain is to separate the new section from the economy class seating.
Other perks include separate check-in lines at the airport, personal entertainment systems and complementary wine and chocolate.
Passengers wishing to take part in the service will have to shell out $80 in addition to the airfare on flights to London and Paris, or $150 on flights to North America.
Members of the airline's Top Platinum, Platinum and Gold frequent flyer clubs will receive the priority seating at no extra charge.
The development marks a period of transitions for the airline, which is considering making a purchase from Airbus in order address the shortage of planes used on mid-haul routes, according to Shkedi. El Al is also mulling the possibility of splitting the company into two – a low-cost carrier and a premium one.