El Al “Fly Card” credit card holders before the flight to Rome..
(photo credit: SIVAN FARAG)
ROME - Have you ever had kosher caviar on a flight? How about while in economy? And did I mention the ticket was free?
That was the experience 180 holders of the six-month-old El Al “Fly Card” credit card had last week on a “bonus” trip to Rome that filled up within four minutes of opening up.
The flight to Italy - for which passengers had to pay just the taxes - was a unique surprise made available to the 70,000 people who have signed up for a Fly Card, El Al’s credit card offering that turns points in to flights.
And it was clear from check-in to landing that this was not just any other departure. At Ben-Gurion Airport, travelers got a separate counter, complete with bowls of wrapped “Fly Card” decorated chocolate - and a reminder to sign a photography/videography release form if they hadn’t already.
Right before boarding, the lucky passengers were greeted with an elaborate dessert bar that invoked the envy of those poor travelers at the surrounding gates. Several tables topped with mini glasses of chocolate mousse, cheesecake, fruit salad and other delicacies - plus a selection of fruit juices - were laid out and waiting. It wouldn’t be a flight full of Israelis without at least one argument over when eating was allowed to begin, but it was quickly resolved.
The festivities only continued as a photographer took a photo of every traveling pair that was turned into magnet souvenirs before boarding. At the entrance to the plane each passenger was personally greeted by El Al CEO David Maimon, and Yael Goldman, the model and actress who serves as the face of the El Al Fly Card.
On board the three-hour flight guests were entertained by magician and mind reader Lior Manor, who at one point had the vast majority of the passengers playing along with one card trick. A film crew and photographers circulated throughout the short ride, making it seem at times like the whole event was designed to produce a video clip.
But the real highlight of the time in the air was the food - a festive breakfast for all the passengers designed by El Al head chef Segev Moshe - who also circulated among the guests throughout the flight. The meal was served on real plates and in cute little jars, and included fresh strawberries, yogurt, granola and honey; a salad of asparagus, tomatoes and baby mozzarella; smoked salmon with cream cheese and caviar; labneh with olive oil and za’atar; spinach burekas with tahini and harissa; plus a mini tiramisu.
Passengers could return on any El Al flight they chose - albeit without the elaborate spread and entertainment.
While this exact experience may not be replicated, Lior Tanner, manager of the El Al’s Matmid frequent flyer club, said the airline is planning special surprises every few months for holders of the card.
“We’re looking to think strategically long term, looking to build a loyal customer base,” Tanner told The Jerusalem Post on board. He said the next offering is not yet set, but his team is brainstorming options.
“Like we promised when launching the card,” he said, “we’re offering our customers surprises and special experiences. This is the first move in a series of activities aimed at maximizing the added value for card holders and fulfilling the promise Fly Card is based on – making your shopping more worthwhile."
The writer was a guest of El Al.