Delta doubles down on Tel Aviv with second flight sporting snazzy new cabins

Aug 26, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The competition for the Tel Aviv market is heating up.

With much of the world closed to Americans, U.S. airlines are taking a measured approach to resuming long-haul flying. Some flights are profitable with cargo alone, but there’s not enough demand to warrant flying as many routes during the pandemic.

However, there’s one transatlantic market that isn’t showing any signs of cooling down, and that’s Israel. Delta is the latest carrier to make some exciting updates to its Tel Aviv flying.

Starting on Jan. 15, 2021, the Atlanta-based carrier will fly one of its newest jets — the Airbus A330-900neo — from JFK to Tel Aviv, as confirmed by Cirium, an aviation data and analytics company. And that’s a big deal because it means that Delta will finally bring its top-notch onboard experience to the market.

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more airline news!

Delta’s Airbus A330-900neo features 281 seats across three cabins: business, premium economy and coach. The 29-seat biz cabin is outfitted with Delta One Suites, offering a private, enclosed suite with plenty of space to sleep, eat and work.

Delta One Suites on the Airbus A330-900neo (Photo by Darren Murph/The Points Guy)

Premium Select is Delta’s take on premium economy — and this will be the airline’s first time offering the cabin to Tel Aviv. Expect an experience similar to domestic first class in one of the 28 recliner seats.

Premium Select on the Airbus A330-900neo (Photo by Darren Murph/The Points Guy)

The A330-900’s coach cabin is split between 56 seats in the extra-legroom Comfort+ section and 168 standard Main Cabin seats.

The aircraft also features a new wireless in-flight entertainment system developed internally by Delta, as well as high-speed 2Ku Wi-Fi connectivity.

Delta has long offered service between New York and Tel Aviv, most recently with the Airbus A330-300. That jet is an older variant of the A330 family and doesn’t sport a premium economy cabin. Plus, the biz seats on the A330-300 are simply standard reverse herringbone ones — not Delta One Suites.

Delta One on the Airbus A330-300 (Photo by Christian Kramer/The Points Guy)

The upgauge isn’t the only change Delta is making to its Tel Aviv flying. As of Dec. 12, the carrier will add a second daily frequency between JFK and Tel Aviv, per Cirium data. Between Dec. 12 and Jan. 15, both flights will be operated by the older Airbus A330-300. But starting Jan. 15, the following frequency will sport the new cabins on the Airbus A330-900neo:

  • DL 234 JFK – TLV 11:39 p.m. – 5:10 p.m. (the next day)
  • DL 235 TLV – JFK 11:55 p.m. – 5:25 a.m. (the next day)

Of course, the schedule is subject to change — especially as coronavirus-related travel restrictions are extended. The new flight is currently loaded in the schedule and ready to book, but there’s limited award availability, unfortunately.

For now, most Americans aren’t allowed to visit Israel. Only pre-registered students, as well as family members celebrating certain life cycle events, are allowed to enter with a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Israeli citizens are allowed to enter with a mandatory quarantine too. To stay abreast of Israel’s reopening, be sure to follow our country-by-country guide to reopening.

Related: Review of Delta One Suites on the A330-900neo

Delta’s move is the latest update U.S. airlines have made to their Tel Aviv flights. Earlier this summer, United announced a new route to Tel Aviv from its Chicago hub. The three weekly Chicago O’Hare (ORD) flights join United’s existing service from Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO) and Washington (IAD).

United’s Chicago-to-Tel Aviv flight follows years of expansion in the Tel Aviv market. In addition to twice-daily service from its Newark hub, United launched thrice-weekly San Francisco-to-Tel Aviv flights in March 2016. United followed with moves that suggest the flights were profitable, quickly upgrading to daily service later that same year. (The carrier also upgauged the aircraft from a Boeing 787-9 to a brand-new Boeing 777-300ER.)

United’s Polaris cabin to Israel (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Then last year, United started serving Tel Aviv from the nation’s capital. The Washington Dulles flight was the carrier’s fourth route to the country.

Related: Why United’s plan to fly 23 weekly flights to Israel isn’t as surprising as it seems

American Airlines also plans to reenter the Tel Aviv market in 2021. As part of its new strategic alliance with JetBlue, AA announced that it’ll start flying to Tel Aviv from JFK next summer and from Dallas/Fort Worth that winter. This will be the first time American has flown to Israel since it suspended its Philadelphia to Tel Aviv route in 2016. It’s not yet clear what plane AA will fly to Tel Aviv.

All this expansion comes at a time when Israel’s national airline, El Al, is in trouble. The carrier has effectively “closed” due to the pandemic. Before the coronavirus, El Al was expanding stateside with service to Chicago, Las Vegas and Orlando (in addition to existing flights to Boston, JFK, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark and San Francisco).

Now, with El Al grounded for the foreseeable future, the U.S. carriers are trying to assert their position as the dominant player to Tel Aviv. United offers the most seats of the “Big 3,” but with Delta’s latest move, loyalists will now have a second daily frequency outfitted with the best seats the carrier offers.

Featured photo courtesy of Airbus




Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.