Truth be told I hadn’t heard a whole lot about Polish Airlines LOT (pun unintended). I’ve had some friends who have had incredible experiences onboard and others who have had quite the opposite.
But I was prepared to do almost anything if it saved me a 6 am wake up call to fly direct from Amsterdam to Prague; and with a saving of over €100 if I overnighted in Warsaw… well, I was sold.
I flew from Amsterdam to Prague in two segments: Amsterdam to Warsaw Chopin; Warsaw Chopin to Prague.
Both flights were around just under two hours in length and on Polish Airlines LOT’s Embraer fleet (190 and 195 in order).
As the first flight – Amsterdam to Warsaw – was after sunset and the aircraft are virtually identical (the 195 is slightly longer, has a larger passenger load, and can fly a shorter distance but the cabin experience was idential) I will only be writing up the Warsaw to Prague flight.
Airline: Polish Airlines LOT
Route: Warsaw Chopin Airport (WAW) to Prague Vaclav Havel Airport (PRG)
Date: January 20
Aircraft: Embraer 195
Duration: 01:25 hours.
Seat: 14A (Economy – Emergency exit)
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Polish Airlines LOT: Warsaw, Poland to Prague, Czech Republic
While in Amsterdam I had elected not to pick my bag up in Warsaw and instead check it in
I did experience immigration though as the hotel I stayed at – the Rennaisance Warsaw Airport – was outside the transit area.
Immigration was confusing. Upon lining up to where B/C gate passengers were meant to go through security, abruptly, as they got through half the line, we were told to make our way to the other security area – A – which is on the other side of the airport.
I’m assuming it was because the staff were closing up for lunch but it left a very confused – very long – line of people playing ‘follow the leader’ across the airport to the new security area.
After a cheeky stop for lunch at Johnny Rockets (don’t judge. It was delicious!) to avoid the queues, I found immigration to be fast but very thorough. Slip-on shoes are your friends in European airports my friends and – like my last three flights – I had to take my Timberlands off.
The airport is easy to navigate with plenty of shops and cafes, and even a Polish Airlines LOT playground complete with airplane-shaped jungle gym for the kids!
I easily found my gate and settled in for some quality plane spotting and to use the fast and free WiFi in the terminal.
Warsaw Chopin Airport is a ‘silent’ airport. This means that there are limited messages and only ‘final calls’ for flights are announced via the PA system.
Our flight was boarded by bus which involved using stairs to get down to the tarmac and walking onto the bus.
After sitting on the tarmac in the bus for about 20 minutes with no updates on why and with the doors of the bus open (please note: it was January and about 0 degrees outside) the driver finally got in the bus and took us to the plane.
Apart from this long wait, boarding went smoothly.
As I boarded the cabin manager told me it wasn’t going to be a full flight that night. In fact, the cabin was running at around 50% capacity, much like my flight from Amsterdam to Warsaw (60% capacity).
Those post-Christmas long winter nights were surely doing no favours to the airline.
Seats on Polish Airlines LOT come in a 2-2 configuration throughout the cabin.
Business class on both of my flights consisted of 2 rows aside. A cabin crew member has since informed me that this isn’t standard but can be adjusted to suit the
Even though I was back in Economy, with the flights running at such a low capacity, I had a row to myself on both flights.
On this particular flight – Warsaw to Prague – I was seated in an emergency exit row and have tons of legroom. Even in a standard economy seat, I still found leg room to be fairly generous.
On the ticket, I chose it said ‘drinks & snacks’. I had learned my lesson the previous night when – flying on a dinner flight – I had expected to get a small meal like with Qantas back home in Australia. Nope!
Drinks and snacks is a choice of water (still or sparkling) or juice and a chocolate bar. On this particular
Considering the flights are under two hours its perfectly acceptable, and there are other reasonably priced snacks on board; I’m just a little spoilt by Australian airlines I think.
Unlike the slightly longer flight the night before, due to the flight length being just under 90-minutes the onboard menu was no available for purchase.
This was disappointing as I hadn’t eaten at the airport in the hope I would be able to purchase another one of their delicious sandwiches I had first tried the night prior.
If you can get food onboard do consider it. For 25 Polish zloty (under AU$10) I got a large sandwich, Pepsi, and a packet of gummy bears on the Amsterdam to Warsaw flight.
The only area that Polish Airlines LOT Embraer fleet really doesn’t do well is entertainment. Quite simply because they don’t have any. Not even dropdown screens. There’s also no powerpoints or USB ports. So charge up in the terminal before departing!
There is an inflight magazine which was quite good and published in Polish and English side-by-side. It was a good read, particularly their feature on the airline’s history as they head into their 90th year! They also offer Duty Free onboard.
Polish Airlines LOT Staff
Polish Airlines LOTs staff were wonderful. No complaints at all. They didn’t mind that I filmed (discreetly) and even went out of their way to teach me Polish when I showed interest (I can now say ‘Dziękuję’ – thank you!)
Service was a little slow to begin but the staff were happy to take my order and bring back a drink for me. They were also attentive.
The crew did four laps of the main cabin at regular intervals after service to ensure all rubbish was cleared.
In Amsterdam, where I checked my bag on, the airport staff were great. I was prepared to stand in line for 20 minutes waiting for check-in to open but a lady came across from the Austrian/Swiss/Lufthansa counter and checked me in; even asking if I’d like to pick my luggage up in Warsaw during my layover or in Prague.
I had a whole lot of fun flying with Polish Airlines LOT. Look, it wasn’t anything special but it was one of the more comfortable European flights I have taken. Best of all, Polish Airlines LOT’s ticket prices were really competitively priced compared to their competition which flew direct!
Onboard staff were attentive, efficient, and really friendly. Their Embraer’s were clean and comfortable for such a short-hop across Europe. Even the food, when I did purchase it on my first flight, was fresh and tasty. Complimentary drinks and chocolate bar is a nice touch though in differentiating it from the abundance of low-cost or cost-cutting airlines operating across Europe.
The only area that they let me down was in the lack of in-flight entertainment, but for a two-hour or less flight on such a small
Most of all, Warsaw Chopin Airport is set up to be a transfer hub. It’s really easy to get around, there are plenty of places for people to relax and recharge, and several playgrounds for kids scattered throughout their terminals. If you can find a great deal that will save you a significant amount of money, I’d highly recommend you consider flying Polish Airlines LOT.
I’m really looking forward to flying on one of their longer haul routes (Dreamliner perhaps?!) to experience what Polish Airlines LOT can offer on continental flights!
Let me know in the comments below: