El Al to add weekly flight on Tel Aviv-Bangkok route

El Al

El Al also announced that it was adding more premium seats and introducing a new pricing model.

El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) is adding a weekly flight to Bangkok in the peak season (Chanuka), starting on December 7, 2018. Arkia Airlines Ltd. began competing with El Al on the direct route to Thailand last summer.

The number of Israelis traveling to Thailand is constantly increasing. The Tourist Authority of Thailand in Israel predicts that 200,000 Israeli tourists will visit Thailand in 2019. Many of the Israeli travelers to Thailand use connection flights, among other things via Jordan on Royal Jordanian, via Istanbul on Turkish Airlines, via Moscow with Aeroflot, etc. At this stage, no additional Thai airline is expected to compete by introducing direct flights from Tel Aviv to Thailand.

El Al will use Boeing 777s for its new flight on the route. The new flight will take off at 00:30 AM on Fridays and land in Bangkok on Friday afternoon. Return flights will take off from Bangkok at 10:00 PM Saturday night and land in Tel Aviv in the early hours of Sunday morning.

How much will it cost?

El Al is also offering bargain prices starting at $730 for those ordering a flight by November 3, 2018 taking off up to November 28, 2018. Prices for flights taking off in December start at $840, although "Globes" also found this flight at a lower price than that. Flights to Ko Samui in the framework of El Al's cooperation with Thai Airways or Bangkok Airways will start at $950.

A check of ticket prices to Bangkok with an intermediate stop (a maximum wait of three hours) for a flight scheduled on December shows that a flight with Turkish Airlines or Aeroflot will cost $600, a flight via Amman with Royal Jordanian will cost $680, and a flight with El Al on this date will cost $830, compared with $840 for Arkia on the same dates.

A late November flight to Bangkok on El Al will cost $730, a flight with Turkish Airlines $593, and a flight with Aeroflot $620. A flight on Arkia on November 22 will cost $680, the same as a flight on Royal Jordanian stopping in Amman.

A December 28 flight on El Al costs $830 on the company website and $775 on the alice.co.il flight search website. Other flights to Bangkok on this date cost $700 (Royal Jordanian), $840 (Arkia), and $900 (Turkish Airlines).

New pricing model

These are not the only measures that El Al is taking in response to the growing competition in the industry. A new pricing model recently took effect that is similar to the one used by many other airlines around the world: three levels of tickets in each direction, with the option of different levels on outgoing and incoming flights. At this stage, the model is in effect only on flights to Europe.

The basic price is for Lite tickets, which include hand luggage, a handbag, and a light meal. The price does not include a suitcase or reserved seating, which can be purchased separately ($35 per suitcase one-way ordered in advance, or $70 at the airport, and $15 one-way for reserved seating).

Classic, an intermediate ticket, includes a suitcase, reserved seating, and the option of canceling or changing a flight for additional payment. A Flex ticket includes rapid check-in stands for passengers and the option of canceling or changing a flight.

Different ticket levels can be purchased (for example, Lite tickets for children with no luggage and Classic tickets for parents, Lite tickets on an outgoing flight and Classic tickets on incoming flights, etc.).

What are the price differences between the three ticket levels? On a November 15 flight to Paris, for example, a Lite ticket costs $166, a Classic ticket with a suitcase starts at $207 (making it more worthwhile than adding a suitcase to a basic ticket), and a Flex ticket starts at $256. These prices are one-way from Tel Aviv to Paris. On the return flight, the differences between the tickets at the three price levels are $40-50: $200 (Lite), $240 (Classic), and $290 (Flex).

More premium seats

El Al recently announced an increase in the supply of premium seats with the placing of Dreamliners on additional routes. Premium class, which was previously available only on flights to New York, will also be available from next week on flights to Los Angeles and Miami and on flights to London and Paris. In another month, these seats will also be available on flights to Hong Kong, and from January, also on the route to Toronto. Premium class offers a more spacious flight than in tourism class, including better meals and priority in boarding the airplane.

In addition, starting in mid-May, El Al will begin operating its new Tel Aviv-San Francisco route. The only airline currently operating on this route is United Airlines. Starting in May, travelers to Silicon Valley or San Francisco will have another direct flight option from Tel Aviv.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 21, 2018

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