El Al's First 787 Dreamliner With Free Viasat Wi-Fi Launches Today
Israel's flag carrier, El Al, has come a very long way in recent months, thanks in no small part to the introduction of Boeing's 787-9 Dreamliner, which offers a product far superior to the airline's dated 747, 767 and 777 fleet.
TPG's Emily McNutt reviewed business class on the inaugural flight, and enjoyed the experience overall. Unfortunately there wasn't any Wi-Fi onboard, however, which can make it challenging to be productive on the nearly 9.5-hour flight from the East Coast to Tel Aviv (TLV).
That changed today, as confirmed by El Al's social media accounts:
El Al's Wi-Fi-equipped 787s will connect to the KA-SAT satellite on flights to/from Europe, and then it'll jump over to the new super-fast Viasat-2 on flights across the Atlantic, once that satellite comes online later this summer or in early fall. Passengers shouldn't notice much of a difference, though — both satellites should offer a similar experience, with high-speed browsing available throughout the flight.
A Viasat representative sent over pricing details from today's "inaugural" to Paris, which apparently currently has 128 devices connected to the internet and is holding up just fine. Basic browsing, including support for instant messaging, email and more is available free of charge on tablets and smartphones, just as it is with Viasat's service on JetBlue.
A mobile device plan with web browsing and short video streaming is available for $10 on the Tel Aviv-Paris route, while unrestricted laptop usage will run you $20 on the same route. Pricing details have not yet been released for the airline's flights to the US.
El Al currently operates its 787-9s on flights from Tel Aviv to New York (JFK) and Newark (EWR) in the US, in addition to Hong Kong (HKG) and Paris (CDG). Come October 28, the carrier will also fly Dreamliners to Los Angeles (LAX), with Miami (MIA) service launching the next day.