El Al Offers Legroom-at a Price

The interior of a 787 Dreamliner with 2–4–2 economy class seating. (Masakazu Matsumoto)

El Al airlines has announced an offer of more legroom for economy class fliers starting in the spring—but it will cost more, Globes reported on Sunday.

As part of its SPACE program, El Al is reconfiguring its Boeing 737, 777 and 787 (Dreamliner) aircraft to contain less seats but more seats with additional legroom in economy class as of March 29, 2020.

The difference will be less than three inches, and the price as much as $33 more per inch on long-distance flights.

In the 787 (Dreamliner), for example, 70 El Al SPACE seats will be offered with 33.86 inches of legroom compared with 31 inches in the regular economy class seats. In 737 and 777, aircraft the seats with extra legroom will have 33 inches.

Passengers who don’t want their knees up against the seat in front will have to pay a surcharge of $39 per ticket one-way on short-haul flights (Larnaca, Athens, Sofia and Bucharest), $59 for other European destinations, and $99 one-way for long-haul flights (U.S., Canada, South Africa and Asia). El Al Classic ticket holders will receive discounts with the surcharge reduced to $25, $45 and $85 one-way for the three destination categories.

El Al VP commercial and industry affairs Michael Strassburger explained how the company came to the realization that passengers want more legroom:

“Through meetings and conversations with our loyal customers, we have understood the need for expanding our offering of more spacious seats in tourist class, and we are preparing to launch El Al SPACE and completing a procedure that includes the airline’s entire fleet.”