While the wait for the immigration was quite long in Warsaw due to the limited number of counters and the large number of arriving passengers from another long-haul flight, the check was cursory and after being asked a few questions about my motive for visiting, I was let into the country. Warsaw Airport is relatively small but still larger than regional airports. Finding my way around the airport was simple enough with the clarity of signs inside and the modern look with bright interior makes it all the better.
Entrance to LOT Polish Business Lounge in Warsaw
The LOT business class lounge also provides entry to Star Alliance Gold members and when I presented my boarding pass, I was let through with the agents at the reception desk mentioning that boarding was not to be called in the lounge. At this point I started to take photos in the lounge only to be told that photos were not allowed. Thus I did not take as much photos of the lounge but when I do, I try to make it as inconspicuous as possible. Thus, it was not exactly the friendliest of welcome into the lounge.
Main lounge space on entry
Right by the entrance of the lounge, there is a main seating space with circular tables. This area is quite open and airy but provides not much privacy or space to relax in between flights. That is probably why I went on to the next space which features comfortable sofas and loungers with a small green wall as a backdrop. I like how lounges all starts to incorporate these green walls following the Qantas First Class lounge.
Green wall in the lounge
Washrooms and shower rooms are available, and located at the end of the lounge. I did not ask for a shower room but the washroom is not very large and there are also limited shower rooms inside the lounge. There is also a small games area with 2 winged armchairs, which totally did not fit. I figured beanbag loungers would fit here better. Maybe families with kids could place themselves in this corner of the lounge.
Games area at the end of the lounge
The most attractive space in the whole lounge to me would be the central space betwen two magazine racks where there are 3 'swing' lounge chairs that no one seems to be occupying. The placement of this relaxation corner in the middle of the lounge with foot traffic probably does not make it very quiet.
'Swing' loungers with magazine racks
With the lounge being a long rectangular layout, there are 2 buffet areas where guests can head for food. As far as I can tell, the food and beverages offered in these 2 spots are similar.
It was around lunch time when I arrived, but having had breakfast or brunch on the flight, I was not that hungry since the warm food options did not look that appetizing to me. There was some meatballs, pasta dish, vegetables, soup and the usual mix of sandwiches and salads.
Hot food for lunch includes meatballs and vegetables
There are also some desserts and packed cut vegetables in a cup placed in a cold storage counter space. However not much guests was getting these food out since they are either not that easily accessible.
Desserts and salads
The best food options were probably their fresh fruit options of apples and bananas along with a large selection of snacks ranging from nougat candies to 'Prince Polo' chocolate wafers that are probably the best food in the lounge.
Snacks, nuts and fruits
While munching on my light snack, I logged online to message my family using the lounge wifi. They were usable and posed no problems for messaging, checking e-mails and surfing websites. Ambience in the lounge was quiet with about half of the seats being occupied and it never got to be very crowded throughout the one hour or so I was there. There are some staff working in the lounge but do not expect them to take orders or provide much service but they did provide assistance and at least cleared the table once in a while to keep the whole space tidy.
My light lunch in the lounge
As boarding was not called inside the lounge, I made my way out towards the gate since I wanted to spot my airplane. Turns out the location of the gate meant I only got a partial view. Though boarding has yet to be conducted even when I arrived, and it seems to be quite a full flight as well for such a small plane.
Waiting area for the Swiss flight
This transit experience as part of my LOT Polish flight was actually better than the LOT Business Class flight itself. While the lounge did not offer much food, it was adequate for most passengers and it was a relatively nice space to relax and get some snacks or surf the internet while waiting for the connecting flight. And that probably makes LOT Polish Airlines viable as a way to see more of central or eastern Europe. Now if only LOT could improve their business class product more.
View of the Swiss ARJ at Warsaw
Boarding was not yet conducted when I arrived at the gate area, and I had to wait a couple of minutes before they started boarding Business Class passengers and those needing assistance. There was also a bit of a mix-up or confusion as passengers were held on the path to the aerobridge after the boarding pass was scanned at the initial stages. My guess is that the crew was probably not ready yet and they were in a hurry to board since it was getting late.
Since it was an intra-European flight, Business Class is basically the same seat as Economy only with the middle seat or seat next to you being blocked off. In a 2-3 abreast seat configuration, the premium cabin ended up with 4 people. Though before pullback, one guy wanted to self upgrade to business class and was promptly sent back by the crew on this flight.
Intra-Europe Business Class seating
With boarding complete, the stewardess gave out water bottles and packed wet towels. Then newspapers were offered to passengers.
Bottled water and wet paper towels
The late boarding was exacerbated with quite a long taxi as there was a short queue for the runway. I think the late pullback also meant our take-off was delayed. On my seat, the legroom for the flight is slightly more spacious than my domestic flights on LAN Chile. But the seats are the standard slimline seats that I am not a big fan of as they are the least comfortable.
Legroom on Swiss Avro RJ
On the seatback pockets, there is the Swiss inflight magazine and a safety instruction manual. I do like the inflight magazines published by Lufthansa and this first flight on Swiss also shows the family relationship as Swiss is part of Lufthansa along with Austrian.
Swiss inflight magazine
Bulkhead seats with a view of the closet
Upon reaching cruising altitude, the sole flight attendant closed the curtains and prepared for the meal service.
Take-off views from Warsaw
Business class passengers still do get a complimentary meal and there are buy-on-board options for other passengers. While there was no menu, I received a tray with ham and cheese along with a raspberry mousse topped with chopped pistachios. Bread was also offered from the basket, and I had a glass of apple juice to drink as well.
Apple juice after take-off
Meal tray or ham and cheese
While it was a cold dish, I thought the ham was quite nice and the cheese was edible too. North American airlines should consider something like this rather than just chips for a 2-hour flight. I actually enjoyed this small tray of food probably more so for the quality of the food.
The friendly stewardess kept the glasses filled and the service onboard Swiss was amazing! The stewardess was very sincere in providing the service as she came round the cabin several times to check on the passengers and also offered tea or coffee at the end after collecting the meal tray. And I would not reject a good cup of coffee. Swiss in my opinion serves a very good cup of coffee onboard, similar to Singapore Airlines.
Cup of coffee
Maybe I was lucky for this flight, but the stewardess probably saw my tons of photo taking during the flight and started a conversation. She even gave me a can of beer as a souvenir for the flight, while promoting Switzerland and Swiss Airlines. The other 3 passengers were very quiet and did not ask for much throughout the flight and maybe that also allowed her to place more attention on me as the sole leisure traveller in the Business Class cabin.
At the end of the meal, the flight attendant also offered Mövenpick strawberry ice cream to business class passengers.
Mövenpick ice cream
As the pilot started announcement for the descent, the stewardess came out again with a basket of chocolates, another Swiss specialty and trademark service.
Swiss chocolate bars
During the descent, the pilot made an announcement regarding the delay and apologized to passengers. He also mentioned to passengers on what they need to do if they missed their connecting flight.
Flying across the clouds
Turns out we will arrive late and several passengers connecting to Luxembourg might miss their connecting flight. One of them is an executive travelling with a junior colleague that is seated in Economy class. He asked for assistance from the stewardess who brought the colleague over to be seated in the front so she could disembark quickly. I found that the crew onboard were very involved in ensuring the passengers get to their final destination and that concern was a mark of great service. That left me impressed.
Sunshine on the engines
Since I have no plane to catch, I just enjoyed the scenery on the descent and it was a beautiful view as we made our way towards Zurich as the sky cleared. Our route took us across Bavaria in southern Germany and across the Rhine river into Switzerland.
Flying across the Rhine river
Landing into Zurich was like arriving into another mid-sized airport. The air traffic feels quiet here with Swiss jets dominating the view out of the window.
Landing into Zurich International Airport
To make matters worse for the connecting passengers, we parked on a remote gate where all the small regional jets seems to be at. There is another Swiss Avro RJ there with an Intersky Dash-8, along with a row of other regional jets. Seems like Zurich Airport might be a small-jet spotter heaven.
Swiss Avro RJ-100 at Zurich
InterSky Bombardier Dash 8
There was a separate bus for business class passengers and that quickly brought us into an empty terminal. Since this is Switzerland we are speaking of, the cleanliness was evident in the terminal. It was probably one of the cleanest terminal I have been to and the emptiness made it even more surreal. As you can expect, the advertisements here showcases banks, watches and ski resorts, all famous Swiss specialties.
Watch advertisement in the airport
On what might be a boring regional jet flight to many Swiss businessmen, I actually had one of my most memorable flight. Maybe it was the first time experience of flying onboard Swiss or my first time onboard a small jet with 4 engines. But there was just so many enjoyable points to the flight after the boarding from the attentive service to the nice quality meals, to the great coffee and chocolate and finally the communication by the crew all combined for a great flight. Swiss Airlines has definitely become one of the airlines I want to fly in the future after this experience.
Disembarking from the flight
Swiss Avro RJ-100 (BAe 146) at Zurich
LOT Schengen Polonez
Warsaw - WAW
Zurich - ZRH
A great flight from Swiss even though the flight was slightly delayed. The novelty of flying this particular aircraft and the excellent service from the crew including their attentiveness to passengers with connections does make the whole organization look very professional. The food served onboard during the flight was not bad either!
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