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El Al Business Class Commentary

Don't Fly It

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El Al is a great disappointment. We have flown internationally many times in business class (American, Delta, United, British Air, Emirates, JAL, Iberia, Air France, LAN, and I am sure others. All are superior to El Al; many superior by an extremely wide margin.

El Al 747-400 aircraft are old and desperately in need or retirement or refurbishment. That takes planning and money. But the two 747-400s we flew were also in need of cleaning. Both were dirty, the first one (Haifa, by name) was filthy. That just takes paying somebody to come on board with a vacuum and some cleaning solutions.

Service is spotty at best. Business class lounges at Kennedy and Ben Gurion are old and tired and also in need of refurbishment or, more easily achieved, cleaning.

In an earlier post, I wrote the following words and entered these photographs about our flight from JFK-TVL:


Boarding the aging El Al 747 is like going back in time. Old style business class seats and cabin arrangements, dirt, food particles stuck in crevices, no offer of a pre-fight beverage, no wi-fi, tiny TV screens which don’t work, (“We will activate them after the meal service,” said the In-Flight Service Manager) and an unappetizing menu offering unappetizing-sounding food (chicken cubes?); B4 said, “I think I’d rather fly Southwest.” For the record, B4 doesn’t very much like Southwest. We say to each other, almost in unison, “I need an attitude adjustment.” To assist with that, I have a vodka. There are no limes.


Writing now about our return flight--in Business Class: At a significant expense meant to provide comfort and style, we were accompanied by a young passenger who was clearly taking advantage of all El Al Business Class has to offer. (LY11, 29 May 2019) Note please that the ElAl Flight Crew did nothing to restrain him--nor did his parents.

On this flight--a different 747-400 than the aircraft we flew coming to Tel Aviv--the arm console was again dirty containing more food particles and grime.ElAl_More_..ess_armrest.jpg

On our JFK-TVL (LY4, 22 May 2019) the cabin was filthy; worse than on this 747-400 which was not the same aircraft.

I understand aircraft cabins that have not been refurbished. I do not understand aircraft cabins that have not been cleaned. I sent an online comment to the El Al website and received this reply six days later:

From: CR-HQ <cr-hq@elal.co.il>
Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 8:59 AM
To: Paul Russell
Subject: Paul Russell CUST 2019 200850 LY004/22May19 CRM:0111000029347

Dear Paul Martin Russell,
Thank you for taking the time to write to us following your flight from New York LY004 on the 22nd of May. On behalf of El Al, I would like to thank you for choosing to fly El Al business class to Israel. I have forwarded your feedback about the cleanliness to the manager in charge who asked that I apologize on behalf of the cleaning company we use in the USA. We hope your return to NYC today will be to your complete satisfaction.
Wishing you only good and safe flight experiences with El Al. Please let me know if I can assist you in the future; do not hesitate to contact me personally. Thank you for your support and loyalty.
Yours sincerely,
Aviva Lavi - Customer Relations
Training Manager
Fax: 972-3-7602233

I find it ingenuous that El Al blames the "cleaning company that we use in the USA." I replied to Ms Lavi that similar filth--but not as extensive--was found on the return flight that had nothing to do with the USA vendor. I've never been a fan of finger-pointing and that is what Ms. Lavi--or her 'manager in charge' did. Poor form.


On both legs of our trip, El Al advertises--on board the aircraft on the television screen on the bulkhead of the Business Class cabin (In both English and Hebrew), that "We invite you to enjoy Internet service on this flight. Full details are available in your seat pocket brochure." We had no seat pocket brochure so I inquired of the flight attendant. She assured me that there was no such service aboard the aircraft. I said that I had just read about it on the TV screen. She asked me, "What Screen?" Later, when she herself saw the message which was repeating itself during our extended delay, she apologized.

The flight was five hours late but these things happen. El Al did a good job, at least initially, at advising us of the delay. However, they "trickled" it. First two hours, then three, then, then, then, and finally, on board, more waiting with only a vague explanation or expression of concern. As a result, we arrived at our JFK hotel at 3:00am. I can forgive tardiness. I can catch up on my sleep.

What I find reprehensible, however, is pointing a finger at a contractor when the thing I am pointing out is probably systemic and certainly not the fault of a third party. Give the credit, take the blame, I always say. El Al could take less blame if they would simply clean up their act.

That' it. I promise. This blog is put to bed.

Posted by paulej4 13:33 Archived in Israel Tagged elal_airlines_business_class_el jfk-tlv_el_al

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I was laughing!!!

Perhaps the el al flight was more entertaining than Southwest???

by Sandi

I was laughing!!!

Perhaps the el al flight was more entertaining than Southwest???

by Sandi

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