By Danny Sadeh, Ynetnews.com
Israeli airline El Al announced Monday that as of next week it will offer its passengers a low-cost economy class on flights to Europe. If the new service proves successful, it may also expand to flights to the company’s other destinations, including the United States and East Asia.
Low cost airlines EasyJet and Air Berlin recently announced they will soon start operating flights to Israel, a fact that is expected to increase competition over flights to Europe.
El Al CEO Haim Romano said that while basic price tickets for the low cost economy class will be cheaper, passengers will be required to pay extra for services such as food and beverages, entertainment and luggage shipment.
“On EL Al planes we currently operate first class, business class and economy class, which is divided into sub-classes. But on all sub-classes we provide passengers with the same service, even if they paid less,” explained Romano.
“Our plan is to open on the planes another class, the low-cost economy. While leg room will be the same as in the rest of the economy class, low-cost passengers will receive no free services. They will have to pay for every suitcase they check in, for food and beverages on board, for headphones or any other entertainment service, for blankets and pillows and for reserving seats.”
According to Romano, El Al plans to start operating the low-cost service as early as September. The low-cost class is expected to make up 10%-20% of the overall number of seats on the plane.
Tickets for the low-cost class will go for about $199 for flights to Europe and $599 for flight to the US. The prices of the additional services have not been determined yet.
Estimated prices for extra services on the low-cost class:
Luggage check in: $10 per suitcase
Hot meal: $10
Breakfast, including coffee: $6
Light meals and snacks: $3-4
Hot and cold beverages: $1.5-2