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Right at the start of this year EL AL announced that they planned to start up service between Tel Aviv and San Francisco at some point in the fourth quarter of 2018. No further information was given at the time and no launch date was muted.
Now, thanks to a schedule update and the keen eyes at Airline Route, we know when EL AL will start up this route and what the preliminary schedule looks like.
EL AL New Route To San Francisco
Commencing 2 December 2018 EL AL will operate a 3x/week service between Tel Aviv and San Francisco using its new 787-9 aircraft on the following schedule:
LY009 TLV 00:50 – 05:30 SFO (Tue, Thu & Sun)
LY010 SFO 15:00 – 14:40+1 day TLV (Thu)
LY010 SFO 18:00 – 17:40+1 day TLV (Mon & Sun)
At the time of writing reservations for these flights are not yet open but this should change in the next few days.
San Francisco is set to be the 6th US route for EL AL (Boston, LA, Miami, New York JFK and New York Newark being the others) and will offer direct competition to United Airlines who have been flying between San Francisco and Tel Aviv since early 2016.
The EL AL 787-9 Dreamliner
EL AL took delivery of its first 787-9 Dreamliner in August 2017 and it debuted on the Tel Aviv – London Heathrow route in September. The aircraft has been operating EL AL’s route to New York Newark since October and the aircraft will also commence operations to Hong Kong from March and New York JFK from June this year.
The EL AL Dreamliner seat map shows the Business Class cabin with 32 direct-aisle-access Business Class seats arranged in a 1-2-1 layout.
The Dreamliner also offers Premium Economy seating in a 2-3-2 layout (28 seats) and an Economy Class cabin with 9-across seating in a partly staggered 3-3-3 layout.
The Dreamliner’s Business Class cabin looks nice and is set out in a similar way to the Etihad 777-300ER Business Class cabin:
What this means is that some seats will be preferable to others.
The best seats will be the window seats in the even rows as they are set back from the aisle and so have more privacy.
If you don’t have the choice of a window seat then one of the centre seats in the odd rows will be the ones to go for as they have a decent size space between them.
The best seats for couples wishing to sit alongside one another will be the center seats in the even rows. These seats are shielded from the aisle and are close together allowing easy communication.
The Premium Economy Cabin looks fine….although I’d avoid the middle seats if possible….
….and with the legroom at around 38″ and a seat width of 18″…..
…this will be a noticeable upgrade over the Economy Class cabin.
Speaking of Economy Class….
This cabin will almost certainly not be comfortable as 9-across seating never is.
With the flying time between Tel Aviv and San Francisco being somewhere between 14 and 15 hours (approximately) I’m not sure I’d like to be in an non exit row Economy Class seat on this aircraft – that’s a long time to be in a cramped seat.
Premium Economy should be ok (as long as prices aren’t ridiculous) and, as the Business Class seats on this aircraft are easily the best seats EL AL offers, they should offer a pleasant experience to the West Coast….just bear in mind my seat advice from above.
All images courtesy of EL AL