El Al Airlines has introduced a premium economy section that will offer roomier, more comfortable seating than regular economy. The premium economy seats will have a special footrest and offer an extra four inches of legroom and 33 percent greater seat recline compared to regular economy seats. The premium economy section will include 34 to 40 seats in the first five to eight rows of economy class, depending on the aircraft, and will be separated from economy by a curtain. Seats will have electrical outlets and individual entertainment systems and passengers will receive an amenity kit and business class pillow and blanket.
Passengers booked in Y, S and M will be upgraded to Economy Class Plus at time of booking. Top Platinum, Platinum and Gold Matmid members will also receive complimentary upgrades to these seats when making reservations. Top Platinum members will also be able to upgrade one traveling companion at no charge. Matmid Club members can redeem 300 points per segment on long-haul flights and 160 points per segment on European flights to upgrade to Economy Class Plus. The cost to upgrade per flight segment is $80 for short-haul and $150 for long-haul flights. Economy Class Plus will be offered on all 747-400 aircraft as of July 1, 2012.
Bottom line: Receiving complimentary upgrades to economy plus seats is a valuable elite benefit, especially for low-level elite members who regularly miss out on upgrades to business class seats. Four extra inches may not seem like much, but when the person sitting in front of you reclines their seat, elite members will be glad to have that extra space. It’s also good to see that non-elites can redeem a few hundred miles per segment to have access to Economy Class Plus.